(Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was to take inspiration from some random pages of the dictionary, so I landed in the M’s and tried out a Japanese tanka, which is like an extended haiku.)
Misfortune had made
A mahogany maiden
But one maternal mercy
Made flagging hope manifest.
Hallmark and Lifetime seem to be the most prolific producers of made-for-TV films, and I suppose I’ve always been under the impression that they focused more on quantity rather than quality. Surely, a worthy TV film will come from HBO, not Lifetime. Yet that supposition was proved wrong by I’m Somebody’s Child: The Regina Louise Story, a film I wish would get some Emmy or Golden Globe love come awards season.
Set in the 1970s and based on a true memoir, Regina Louise’s story could have ended in obscure tragedy but for the intervention of one woman. A thirteen-year-old black girl (played by Angela Fairley) abandoned by her preoccupied parents, she finds solace at a children’s shelter, where counselor Jeanne Kerr (Ginnifer Goodwin of Zootopia) offers her the love and support she’s always craved but never known. Yet the system separates them by force, partly to preserve Regina’s black identity from a white adoptive mother, and the antisocial girl must depend on what she learned from Miss Kerr to escape a downward spiral.
I’ll go so far as to name I’m Somebody’s Child as one of my new favorite TV movies. It’s a film that will break your heart and warm it in equal measure. I can only imagine how many foster kids are out there dreaming for the kind of bond that Regina forms with Miss Kerr, and, as well-meaning powers that be spoil it, the plot’s turn into One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest territory only highlights how broken the system is, unable to recognize what an individual child really needs and deserves, namely love regardless of color.
Luckily, Regina Louise’s story is not the tragedy it could have been, ultimately redeemed to teary-eyed sweetness. It’s a beautifully acted true story, a testament to the power of adoption and the difference one person can make in the life of their unlikely someone.
Best line: (Miss Kerr) “I’m not the right race, but I am the right mother for her.”
Rank: List Runner-Up
© 2019 S.G. Liput
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