Review: ‘Mercy Mercy’ is a sad portrait of international adoption SPECIAL

Sarah Gopaul
Apr 27, 2013

‘Mercy Mercy: A Portrait of True Adoption’ is a documentary about inter-country adoption that provides a raw look at all participants in the adoption process.
When the average person thinks about adoption, they think about all the orphans in the world. But a surprising number of adoptions involve living biological parents and international adoptive parents. In Mercy Mercy: A Portrait of True Adoption, filmmakers follow as loving Ethiopian parents give their children to a couple from Denmark.When Sinkenesh and Hussen were diagnosed with HIV and told they’d live for a maximum of five years, they made the difficult decision to give their two youngest children up for adoption. Excited couple Henriette and Gert travel from Denmark to Ethiopia to collect the children and bring them home. While the African couple wishes to secure a better life for their kids, they also hope for some financial compensation. Meanwhile, the Danish couple is realizing their dream of becoming parents, though it’s not everything they expected.This is a tragic story that is difficult to watch without becoming emotionally involved in the narrative. There are so many broken promises that combine to cause so much pain over the four years chronicled in the film. The Danish couple and adoption agency promise to stay connected and provide the birth parents updates, but they are forced to jump through ridiculous hoops to gain even the least amount of information. The pop-up adoption agency appears ready to say anything to convince Sinkenesh and Hussen to sign over their children.