Unlocking the Heart of Adoption includes an excellent portrayal of both historical and contemporary adoption issues and clearly demonstrates the complexities in adoptive and birth family relationships.  Your inclusion of personal stories of both same race and transracial adoptions makes the film extremely useful in all kinds of settings.  I get more meaning from it each time I see it.  Unlocking the Heart of Adoption is an excellent teaching tool and will be extremely useful for social work classes and continuing education programs, as well as for use in adoption agency pre-placement and post-placement trainings for families. Thank you for creating such a wonderful piece of work.”
Ruth G. McRoy, PhD
Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Prof., In Services to Children & Families
Associate Dean for Research
School of Social Work
The University of Texas at Austin

Unlocking the Heart of Adoption is so valuable because it offers insights from actual persons involved in the adoption process – we plan to use in our undergraduate Care of the Childbearing Family course, in the graduate Women’s Health course and in the graduate Family Nursing course.”
Dr. Jan Noles, Dean
Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing

“I have to tell you that I was incredibly moved. Unlocking the Heart of Adoption discusses many deep and important issues about adoption, and the workbook is helpful as well. It was the best choice I could have possibly made, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with my child welfare class. I was nearly driven to tears at one point — and that is unusual, as I have been in the field of social work for over 25 years. The film encompassed a gamut of extremely significant issues, including ethnicity and the possibly tragic effects of not dealing with the issues brought up by adoption.”
Kai Duponte, Professor, School of Social Work
University of Hawaii at Manoa

“Sheila Ganz’s Unlocking the Heart of Adoption is a superb teaching tool for courses on adoption.  This elegantly constructed documentary film introduces U.S. adoption’s recent history and basic themes and provides a dramatic and moving perspective on the powerful emotions adoption can arouse.  Tracing several adoption stories among triad members and across the life-span, through interviews that honor all points of view, the film leads viewers into a richly dimensional understanding of the conflicts, joys, and sorrows of adoption.  My students were very glad to have seen Ganz’s film; it launched a fine discussion to which we will return again and again.”
Margaret Homans, Professor of English and of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Yale University

“Thank you for screening Unlocking the Heart of Adoption for our social work master students.  After you left, the students remained.  They were so intrigued by your film that they discussed their thoughts and opinions with each other.   You raised issues that they had theretofore never contemplated or discussed.   Some, thinking about future practice, thought about the people you interviewed and began exploring how they might deal with these persons if they had been their social worker.  For others, they related to it on a personal level, thinking about the adoption experiences and narratives in their own families. Your film was a valuable learning tool for our students.  It raised issues that many may know nothing of, nor wish to address openly.  I hope that others will also have the opportunity to see it and hear you speak.”
Amy LaPan, PhD, MSW, Academic Coordinator
School of Social Welfare
University of California, Berkeley

Unlocking the Heart of Adoption is an incredible journey of the meaning of adoption from the viewpoint of all parties; the adopted child, the biological mother and father, the adoptive parents.  It is heart-wrenching in its truth about cellular memory of both babies, mothers and fathers.  Professionals working with families and children, regardless of whether their discipline is education, counseling, or medical would benefit from seeing this video.  Both nurses and early childhood professionals in my course have commented on the paradigm shift that occurred for them after exposure to this remarkable film.  It truly comes from the Heart.”
Joann O’Leary, PhD, MPH, MS
Adjunct Faculty, School of Nursing and Family Education
University of Minnesota

“Sheila Ganz’s excellent film gives us a window into the emotions of adoption without drawing conclusions. Starting with her personal journey, she takes us along a path where we meet others who are processing their feelings and ideas in front of us about what adoption means to them.  I recently introduced Unlocking the Heart of Adoption to 234 health class students at a local high school. They were drawn into the stories where they witnessed the raw emotions of real people. The comments from the students were all positive and confirmed my suspicion that this film is not just for members of the adoption triad, but for a wider audience.”
Cynthia M. Savage, Executive Director
Adoption Horizons

“This film profoundly softens the heart and releases indescribeable streams of emotions.  The film was well documented and the message of ‘unlocking the heart’ was well sent.”
Letisha Allen, BS
Coordinator Special Needs Adoption
D. A. Blodgett Services for Children and Families

“Adoption remains one of the most romanticized institutions in our society. Sheila Ganz, in her hour long documentary film, Unlocking the Heart of Adoption, dispels the romance and replaces it with a realistic treatment of the feelings of everyone involved.  Her historical perspective helps to set the stage for an understanding of the present situation both here and abroad.  As adoption professionals for over half a century, we can say without reservation that this is a documentary that will enhance the understanding of adoption by those who view it.”
Annette Baran, MSW, LCSW and Reuben Pannor, MSW, LCSW
Co-authors of The Adoption Triangle and Lethal Secrets

“I believe that every prospective adoptive parent should see Unlocking the Heart of Adoption.  Adoption is not just about having a baby and someone to love. People need to be aware of the full range of issues they will face in raising an adopted child.  So they can recognize and deal with the inherent feelings of rejection and abandonment that occur, when a child is raised by someone other than their biological parents.  This documentary tells the adoption story from all three perspectives of the adoption triad in an honest portrayal of these and other issues.”
Paul M. Fleiss, MD, FAAP
Pediatrician, biological and adoptive parent

Unlocking the Heart of Adoption is an important documentary that captures the multiplicity of voices in the adoption triad.  It has a passionate and vast potential audience both nationally and abroad.  It is definitely the kind of film that can change lives.”
Wendy LevyDirector 
Film Arts Festival of Independent Cinema

“I have used Unlocking the Heart of Adoption in a number of ways, including in training our staff who work in adoption and post adoption, professionals from other adoption agencies, professionals who work with adoptive families such as therapists and teachers, and training adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents.  We have shown it to adult adoptees and to birthparents.  The reactions are always the same, ‘Everybody should be able to see this video.'”
Laura H. Atkinson, LCSW, Director of Permanency Planning & Support Services, Children’s Aid Society, Homewood, AL
Assistant Professor, Retired, University of Alabama at Birmingham

“We would like to take this opportunity to compliment you on your outstanding documentary Unlocking the Heart of Adoption.  As a licensed Foster Family and Adoption Agency your documentary has already had a powerful impact on our work as professionals and in understanding the many diverse experiences and emotions involved in adoption.”
Litsa Mitchell, LMFT, Director of Foster Care and Adoptions
Beth Gallegos, LCSW, Adoptions Specialist
The Sycamores Foster Family Agency, South Pasadena, CA

“One of the outstanding and unique things about your video is that it includes interviews with such a wide variety of people who talk honestly about their experiences as adoptive parents, as adoptees, and birthparents – about both their positive and negative experiences.  We would highly recommend that other adoption agencies and adoption support groups use this video for preparing prospective adoptive parents, for training staff who are going to be working in the area of adoption, and for post-adoption groups.”
Kathleen M. Spotts, LCSW, Director
Adoption Network of Catholic Charities CYO, San Francisco, CA

“Adoption has always been much more complicated on the inside than it appears from the outside. Thank you for providing, through your film, a glimpse at the internal world of adoption. I fervently hope the broadcast version of your film will be widely distributed.”
Sheryl Freeman, LMFT, adoptive parent and president
Adoption with Wisdom and Honesty, McPherson, KS

“Sheila Ganz is a pioneer.  Her documentary brings her audience into a world most people know so little about and it is able to resonate with anyone who watches it.”
Adrian Wall, president, Half Asian Person’s Association
Harvard University

“This film provides an indispensable teaching tool in enabling students to raise and discuss issues.  Sheila Ganz addresses controversial, emotional and complex issues with seriousness, poignancy and insight.”
Stephen Small, PhD, Assistant Professor
University of California at Berkeley, African American Studies

“Sheila, you have brought the personalities and viewpoints before us, and we have been enlightened.  Thank you.”
Brenda Chinn, Director, Concert Lecture Series
City College of San Francisco

“You have changed my entire view of adoption, being a birthmother, and all the issues and implications for life of a tough decision.  Thank you for sharing and showing your pain, so we may be able to see and walk in another’s shoes.”
Nursing student
University of Minnesota

“We believe that Unlocking the Heart of Adoption is a well-balanced, valuable tool in educating the public about adoption and those who are affected by it.   We believe that while some excellent adoption documentaries have been made, this is the only film that articulates and conveys the meaning of adoption and its impact on all members of the adoption triad.  This very important and unique film will make a difference in people’s lives.”
Marley Elizabeth Greiner, adoptee and Executive Chair
Bastard Nation

Unlocking the Heart of Adoption brings to public view the true voice of the families of adoption.  This intimate look into the lives of family members serves the public interest in a manner that no other filmmaker has accomplished.  It is indeed a genuine biopsy of the heart: A core sample of the issues that live within the adoption community.”
Jean Uhrich, BSW, adoptee and Chair
California Ad Hoc Committee for Legislative Reform

“This film masterfully depicts the effects, both positive and negative of adoption on all those most intimately involved.  Thus, without reserve I highly recommend this film.”
L. Anne Babb, Ph.D., adoptive and biological mother, president
American Adoption Congress

2023 (c) Sheila Ganz