Mercy Mercy Mercy Mercy


Every Ethiopian, Eritrean, American and European who has any interest in race, identity, loss, storytelling, psychology, childhood, religion, nationhood, documentary making,  or intercontinental adoption should see Mercy Mercy.   That means you? The director Katrine W. Kjær states  “ I am NOT against adoption.” And she isn’t against adoption. Kjær continues  “I wish for this film to become a portrait of the world’s inequality and absurdity. Furthermore I wish to challenge the western perception of how we aid the third world to better lives.”

So it isn’t a hatchet job? Not at all says  Kjær   “I have observed people who acted with the noblest of intentions, but all subsequently became wrapped up in an industry fueled by trauma. My intention was never to expose these people, but rather to understand their struggle.”   More truthfully Kjær’s intention not to expose them is what was needed for  them to  expose themselves. It is observational documentary and yet participatory.  An informative description of the background to the film is here. The photo above is Masho the child and  the director KATRINE W. KJÆR. Thee full 90 minute documentary  The film was published on Feb 25, 2013. The film is below. Tell me what you think cause  I would love to know. It is the most revealing documentary on inter continental adoption that I have ever seen.

8 thoughts on “Mercy Mercy Mercy Mercy

  1. This documentary left me with tears and a heavy heart. Just a couple of months ago I got a call from an Irish family (I live in Dublin) who adopted a 7 year old boy and his 3 year old sister from Ethiopia. They needed someone who can speak Amharic with their inconsolable new son. I was hit by the complicated nature of adoption. I just wanted to tear apart the one that brought all the pain on that little boy, but who should I blame? I resolved on being a good uncle to him and his sister, at least I can share their pain. Lemin keep being their voice.

  2. The pain in Mashe’s eyes says it all. When will we get it right. The new parents where not well informed of parenthood, and the cultural. If you decide to take in a child from another culture, you must do your homework on many things, food, clothes, hair. These are minor things but can affect any child. There biological parents should have been talked to by a child psychologist on how to help them before the adoption, someone who will work with them with the new family. Kids are not for profit, they are children of God, and were made in his image. The pain from both parents, and most importantly the children is insurmontable. We must do better, we cannot think that because of the color of our skin, the money in our bank account guarantees that we can be a better parent for children. To step in to be parents, you must have empathy for there plight as children, as someone that’s different than you, that thinks and may believe different. For the biological parents the film shows the love they have for them, but so many people thinks that the west has all the answers and there’s a pot of gold to be had. Unfortunately most of it comes with a price.

    • I couldn’t agree more I was so sad I cannot stop to think about how as this girl is May God be with her and reunite her with her parents

  3. This adoption should never have happened because the two children have parents. Even if the parents thought they were dying, the kids could have been adopted by members of the extended family. The parents were thinking of adoption in the Ethiopian sense where parents keep in touch with their children, and the children who will eventually return to them. They saw adoption as kinship making between the two families, and expected the Danish couple to help the rest of the family as well. I was very angry at the parents for not making it clear to the Danish couple what their expectations are for their children. One of the problems is that poor Ethiopians see Whites as saviors who can transform their lives if they played their card right. This view is a consequence of all the missionaries and aid programs that are rampant in the country. In the past, and even now, it used to be that missionary run boarding schools were the ones who “adopted” children by taking the kids away from parents and bringing them up. Missionary boarding schools are almost always deliberately far away from the town, and in remote areas so as to better t isolate the kids from their families. They also deliberatley severely restrict how ofter parents can see their kids. However, at least the kids STAYED in their country, spoke their language with the local staff, and were able to keep in touch with their parents. They are not cutoff completely and permenantly from their families.They also grew up with other Ethiopian kids who became like brothers and sisters to them. For the most part, these missionary raised kids did grow up to be educated productive citizens who did help their biological parents and siblings. It is in this context that Ethiopian parents are giving up their children for international adoption. They don’t seem to get it that they are giving up their parental rights because the concept of loosing parental rights does not exist, blood is blood.

    To me, how the Danish parents treated the adopted children is not the crux of the problem. In fact the Danish parents are acting normally. What is abnormal is to expect strangers to love older adopted children as their own.

    What should happen now is that the Danish government pay for the little girl Masho to return to Ethiopia and to her parents, pay for her education in a a high end quality boarding school, and help the parents out of their poverty. After her life in Denmark, she can not be returned to abject poverty, but she can be transitioned to a better life in Ethiopia with her parents close by.

    What a heart breaking story. Thank you Lemn for shedding light into some of the details.

    Your Ethiopian sister.

  4. So very sad and frustrating. I was at the screening tonight and I made a crass comment about ‘what psychologist could say that’. I couldn’t believe either the Danish parents or especially the psychologist could so completely fail to put themselves even a centimetre into Mason’s shoes – and try to grasp where she had come from and what she was going through — we are all (at least I am) guilty of lapses of imagination or empathy… But c’mon. Lemn, you put me right. as soon as one is powerless (and who more powerless than a dispossessed child, taken from their family and language and their country) people can tell you what you are and treat you how they like, in so harmful a way, even if they are trying to be kind… In fact the ‘kindness’ is even more confusing as poor Masho could not even hate straightforwardly…
    The film was deeply troubling and thought provoking. I did wonder how the act of filming altered the narrative both in Ethiopia and in Denmark and also the impact it will have on Masho and Roba as they grow up. I think it was a tour-de-force for the director though and you could feel her compassion and judgement.

  5. As an adopted person I think any doco, or movie exposing adoptions dark side is good. I was adopted by a couple who abused me and used me as child slave labor, here in Australia in the 1960’s. It is very hard trying to tell people that not all adoptions go well. There are adoptive parents who expect to much from the child/children they adopt. It is bad enough that your DNA and trauma creates walls, but to come from another culture from your adoptive parents makes it even harder. I grew up with an adopted brother who’s father came from another country, never once did our adoptive parents care to understand how he felt. Or were interested to learn and convey to him knowledge of his heritage. There are many myths of adoption and the governments and adoption agencies that advocate for adoption do more harm than good. There are far to many kids being, bargained, bought and sold with promises of a wonderful life, when the opposite really happens instead. Domestic adoptions are just as painful, growing up totally different to your adoptive parents creates a pain so silent it’s deafening.

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