Influence and Knowledge of Biological Family

Blood Doesn’t Matter…

Granted Michael falls into the hands of a wealthy family, he also falls into one eager to learn about his past which is equally, if not more important. What a child, or in the case of The Blind Side a teenager, can recall from their past is critical. Child Welfare Information Gateway notes that “adopted persons often lack birth family genetic and medical history” but luckily Michael Oher knows exactly where he grew up and is fortunate that his biological mother still lives there at the time of Mrs. Tuohy’s search. It is unfortunate, however, that although Michael knows where his biological mom lives until she is evicted, she cannot remember the last time she even saw her son. Mrs. Oher mentions Michael’s father  when she recalls how he left just one week after Michael was born, and fails to provide Mrs. Tuohy with a birth certificate. This infers that she most likely does not have Michael’s medical history filed away, nor any important documents of his accessible either.Child Welfare Information Gateway also claims, “Adoptions may have some degree of openness, meaning that there is some communication between the birth and adoptive families-possible include the adopted person” however Michael was less interested in seeing his mother than Mrs. Tuohy was. She takes the time to go to the hood where Michael grew up to meet his mother face to face and gain as much knowledge about her new son and his biological family as possible. This scene portrays the differences between two types of families. One who is financially stable and functioning well, and one who is getting their kids taken away from the state and is barely able to afford rent and groceries. The Blind Side does a great job in portraying how the more well-off family helps the one in need.

It is very common for people to think about the adopted child having contact with birth parents, but disregard if the connection between birth siblings still exists. Once Michael was welcomed into the Tuohy’s home, he formed a strong connection with S.J. and Collins that grew as time progressed. It turns out that, “once a child is adopted, his or her birth siblings have only very limited legal rights in relation to seeking contact with the adopted child; birth siblings would need to first obtain permission of the court and apply for a Contact Order under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989” (Cossar, 68). This is just the beginning of the process. It is a lengthy process that gets overwhelming for adopted children to go through. Due to this, unless the adopted child and his or her birth siblings somehow make an informal agreement to meet, they become very disconnected. This was portrayed very well in The Blind Side and Michael is luckily able to form a deep relationship with his adoptive siblings. Just by chance Michael sees his birth brother in passing in town, after having no contact with him for as long as he can remember. They say hello and nod their heads but that is all the surprise reunion consists of. This is an accurate resemblance of  how disconnected birth siblings can become after adoption. What is even more important to recognize is the strong bonds those adopted children can form with their new siblings. This relationship is demonstrated in another powerful scene in The Blind Side when Michael Oher and S.J. get into a tragic car accident. The accident is so bad  that S.J. could have lost his life if it wasn’t for the love of his brother Michael.After talking to the police and the medics, Mrs. Tuohy was told that S.J. is in much better condition than expected. It turns out that  the air bag typically does much worse damage than it did and potentially could kill someone his age and size. Shockingly, it wasn’t luck that Mrs. Tuohy should be thankful for, but for Michael considering he stopped the air bag with his bare arm. This action demonstrates the love he has for S.J. and how he would never want anything to happen to him even though he isn’t a biological sibling.

The Tuohy family welcomes Michael Oher to their Thanksgiving meal.

An important concept is that “adoptive parents need both to integrate the child into their family, whilst recognizing that their child experiences differ because he or she is adopted” which Mrs. Tuohy does very well (Cossar, 68). This is evident during the Thanksgiving family dinner the Tuohy’s have. Mr. Tuohy, S.J. and Collins are all entertained by the football game on the television when Mrs. Tuohy announces it is time to eat. Everyone grabs their plate and fills it up and goes back to watching the game on the couch. Mrs. Tuohy includes Michael in this holiday meal, but realizes he does not experience Thanksgiving in the same way, or may have never celebrated it in the first place with his biological family. So, she makes Michael feel as comfortable as possible, shuts the football game off, and commands the family to sit at the dining room table and say grace before stuffing their mouths. They enjoy the celebration together, and Michael feels like he is part of the family and as if he honestly and sincerely belongs there with them.