Chris Wilson, the director of the documentary film “You Have His Eyes,” recently read my adoption story on Facebook and contacted me. We instantly connected and shared our love and gratitude for adoption with each other. Both of us were adopted as young babies. I asked him if he would be willing to let me write a piece on his story and very intriguing documentary. Here is our interview:
1. How has adoption touched your life?
Let me count the ways. . . It opened me up to being grateful. I was loved so much by my birth mother that she chose to provide me the best life possible–after choosing to give me life in the first place! An adoptee is well aware of the other options that are presented to a pregnant female. I see her as selfless. I see God’s hand all over my placement, as if to say I was given to the family he had chosen for me from the beginning, one that showed and provided me unconditional love, its hard to even imagine me not seeing my mother as my mother and my father as my father. I am just incredibly grateful and blessed. I recall when I was in elementary school. We did a school project, “Make your Family Tree.” My teacher called my mom and said “I know Christopher’s situation, so he doesn’t have to do this assignment if it makes you and your family uncomfortable.” My mom said, “It’s okay. Let him do it. I had no idea this conversation took place, so when I got home all excited, me and my mom sat down and did my family tree. I didn’t even realize that the people in my family tree, were not my blood family. I just saw them as my family. Their history was my own. Seeing a family tree made up of all Caucasian people, and then me. . . I still saw them as my own. I in them and they in me. I see now how my adoption opened up my spiritual connection. Being adopted has allowed me to feel deeply connected to everyone because we are all one family under a loving Father in Heaven.
2. What inspired you to make this documentary?
Truthfully, that is a two-fold question. My motivation for everything is God. Jesus. Right before this project came to fruition, I was saved. God freed me up to pursue my dreams and find myself. So after I accepted him into my life, I decided to begin to chase my dreams, and one of them was to be a filmmaker. I just wanted to make a film. A good one. We were searching for stories, going back and forth with an investor on the best possible story to turn into a film. Everyone we encountered kept saying, “You know, there might be something with your own story, and the issue of adoption in general.” So then, we thought what would be the angle. What are you most interested in telling or finding out about yourself? “Well, I would love to know about my father,” I thought. So we said, “Let’s make a film that documents the search for him.”
So we began with retracing our steps and turning the cameras on my family, myself, and my birth mother, whom I had just recently met and started a relationship with. As soon as we turned the cameras on my family, all these stories started to boil to the surface. We realized right away we had a film about adoption. A film about a search, yes. But in truth we had a film about family, which pleased me greatly because everyone can relate to a story about family.
3. What was the hardest part of making this film?
Besides actually making the film? The search. Dead end after dead end. We started with the internet: yielded nothing fruitful, only a national record, which is crazy. My biological father was, at one point, the number one runner for an entire country, Jamaica, yet there was not one single video or picture of him anywhere: just his records. So we hired a private investigator and hit a dead-end. Every single person who had ties with my birth father, that we encountered, said, “You will never find out what happened to him, and he is definitely dead. Stop wasting all your money, time and move on.” We even went to a psychic! We had totally run out of options. So we just kept the faith, head down, and moved forward. But honestly, I can’t stress to you enough how hard it is to make a film in general–any film.
4. What is the best thing you have learned from this experience?
God is amazing. He is true. He never breaks a promise. I learned a million things, but how can I say that one is better than that?
5. Do you see yourself making any other films related to adoption?
At first, I did not. I thought, “I am no expert on this topic; I am just me, and my adoption does not define me.” But as we moved forward and I began to reach out to the people in the adoption community, I realized that just being me, a product of adoption, uniquely qualified me to do other projects on adoption. It’s just the ability to relate, I guess. I have a lot of projects being presented to me, but we are interested in bringing about a docu-series with adoption elements. In the very early stages on that front.
6. Movie making can be pretty time consuming. What other interests or hobbies do you have?
I love basketball: playing more than watching. I love to travel. But you are right. Filming is very time-consuming. So when I get a free moment, I am often at my old high school training athletes or partaking in some sort of sports-oriented work in around the campus. Its rewarding and keeps me in shape.
7. Where can people go to learn more about you, your documentary, and other projects?
We have a series of projects coming down the pipe. I have a short film that we will be putting out in a few months’ time through my production company, CTW productions. I am very excited about that. I get to show a different side of me. I also started a social endeavor that promotes a positive lifestyle, titled 7one. We want to provide the people with a mantra, slogan, a calling card so to speak, to the pursuit of their dreams and God-given desires. 7one means live life seven days a week, one day at a time. My 7one venture allows me to be active in the community, produce videos, engage with notable and interesting individuals, and most importantly, live my 7one life and see how others perpetuate theirs! You can check us out at i7one.com. We just got an infusion of some capital and could always seek more, but you will start seeing 7one popping up all over the place in near future.
I cannot thank Chris enough for the opportunity to talk to him and learn more about him and his film. I can definitely say, after seeing it myself, it is a must-see for everyone. It is an intense, honest, gripping story truly about family.