Juno is a 2007 comedy film about a girl, Juno, who discovers she is nine weeks pregnant. She calls her best friend and schedules an abortion. In the clinic she changes her mind and returns home intent on carrying the pregnancy to term and to place the baby for adoption. The story takes us through the pregnancy onto the birth and beyond.
The film has earned overwhelmingly positive reviews, making many critics' top ten lists for 2007, as well as being nominted for 4 Oscars, including Best Picture. A hit with audiences, Juno made back its budget of US$7.5 million in only 20 days when released in the US.
In the film, Juno chooses a couple to adopt her baby from an advert in the paper. She knows nothing about them. In New Zealand all potential adopting couples have been through a series of preparation sessions run by Child, Youth and Family, have passed police and medicals checks, and have been double checked through a series of interviews and references. In addition anyone wanting to place a child for adoption is presented with Profiles (documents that contain alot of background information) about the potential couples.
In the film, Juno meets the potential couple for the first time at their home with their lawyer present. In New Zealand the initial meeting would usually take place at a 'neutral' location such as the offices of Child, Youth and Family. The girl's social worker would be present to assist her and offer support. Lawyers are only involved right at the end of the process after the baby is born.
In the film, Juno chooses a closed adoption. In New Zealand, open adoption (where information is exchanged and people keep in touch) is encouraged.
Juno is a fabulous movie, it is laugh out loud funny, with a few hilarious cringes and tear jerky moments thrown in too. So many dynamics exist in this movie that will be felt by people who have been personally touched by adoption. I choose adoption for my son when I got pregnant at 18. I identified with Juno's sureness of her decision, how there was never any going back from it being the right choice for me and my baby at that point of my life.
It was quite a different process than I went through, the portfolios I was given of birth families to choose from were incredibly detailed to the point I felt I knew the people I was reading about. It was easy to get a feel for which families were right and which ones weren't regarding the kind of people I wanted as my son's family.
The day Juno gave birth was sad to watch as I can not imagine not having the opportunity to know my son after he was born, to fully grieve giving him up. Time in hospital with him, with his new family visiting gave me the chance to see how the gift of his birth brought his new parents so much happiness. It was healing for me too; to know with my whole heart I had made the right decision.
Juno was such a brave, spunky character, you just know she will be just fine, and the love story that evolved was cute as!
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