December 16, 2018

You Should be Grateful

You Should be Grateful is a documentary sharing the experiences of adoption by adoptees

In February 2018, we held a getaway for adult adoptees, over two nights at Barrenjoey Hideaway in the Adelaide Hills. The aim of this getaway was to connect adopted adults in a relaxed setting, for them to share their experiences of what life has been like as an adopted person. Coinciding with this, we filmed interviews and created a documentary by which we hope to raise awareness of the complexities and issues surrounding adoption.

Five adoptees reveal their most personal experiences of adoption and how it has affected their lives.

See how their seemingly unrelated life experiences resonate with others who’ve faced such extreme trauma so early in their lives but are somehow expected to be grateful. The common traits among adoptees, despite their seemingly different circumstances and the unspoken issues which sometimes surface decades later.

This new emotion-charged documentary dispels many myths which have kept adoptees silent for decades and helps unite them as a community working for better lives.

A not-to-be-missed documentary for anyone touched by adoption.

You Should be Grateful. A new documentary filmed entirely in Adelaide.

This project was made possible with funding assistance by the Australian Government of Social Services Small Grants Program, received through Relationships Australia, South Australia, Forced Adoption Support Services.


Producer/Director, Heather Waters

Director of previously created short film The Lost Souls, this was the first of an intended series of Docos being embarked upon. I thoroughly enjoyed he whole process from participating in the weekend away to individual interviews. I had the privilege of working with the most amazing team and having such meaningful conversations with adoptees and Manager at PASS Nikki Hartmann. It was absolutely a lifetime experience that will remain with me forever.

DOP Ruth Morris & Production Assist, Austinn Aruzzollo

Ruth had made a few documentaries prior to undertaking this project. Using a Canon 5D, Ruth captured the essence of the adoptees very well during the interviews. We had several planes overhead whilst filming Nikki and planes, trains and automobiles while filming Melinda. Wrangling space and background issues was a bit of a challenge at times but we managed to get there in the end. Whilst at the retreat, Ruth was filming non stop with both the Canon and GoPro Austinn was called in to assist on filming Louise's and Daryl's interviews. He was a massive help with carrying equipment and standing in while we lined up and prepped the shots

Richie & Alex Khoo, Aerial Photography

Both Richie and Alex arrived at the retreat on Saturday with their DJI Mav. They caught some beautiful shots overhead of the retreat and nearby bushland. They even managed a sneaky inside 🙂

Production Assist/Catering, Kiara Waters

Kiara's task was to work out menus, shop for, prepare and deliver the food for our retreat. She pulled this off without a hitch producing some wonderful meals, enjoyed by all ~ including the amazing BBQ which was cooked by Daryl.

Editor, Chris Hilder

Many hours were spent piecing together the vast amounts of vision from all the cameras and sound from various devices. There was overlay from B roll and stock vision, soundtracks and special effects all of which took many hours to create a finished product. Chris's expertise in media for many years, was an invaluable asset.


Melinda Rackham

"I am both adopted and a mother who lost her only child to adoption when I was 15. I met my birth mother and after many years am establishing a relationship with my half siblings.I'm an artist and author and have been a curator and cultural producer."

Louise Lawson

"As a direct result of the adoption process, I had my neck broken in 3 places, leaving a life long legacy of pain. Due to 'illegitimate' babies not valued, therefore (there was) no care in delivery. Further, no info was given to adoptive parents."

Daryl Fuller

"I was born in 1968 and adopted (shortly after). My brother was born in 1970 and my sister was adopted in 1971. I was told of my adoption at (the age of) 12 and the subject was taboo from then on. Never raised again. I found my bio-family (on) both (sides) at 25 years old. (I have) 6 half sisters. After initial contact, some years went by before re-establishing contact again."

Anthony Patterson

"I was adopted at about 9 months. As my adoptive mother could not have children at that time, but did after I was adopted. I am very very different to my adoptive family, physically, psychologically etc etc. I traced and met my birth mother over 27 years ago but she has rejected me. I traced and met my birth fater over 27 years ago but have lost contact. I don't know where he is."

Penny Ryall

"I have always known that I am adopted and was brought up loved and cherished by all my family. My birth mother provided a fair bit of information about herself and my birth father. I started looking for my birth mother 8 years ago but stopped when I couldn't find anyone with her name. I have recently started looking again. I have never seen anyone biologically related to me and have a yearning for this."

Nikki Hartmann

Having known Nikki for a number of years through RASA and Post Adoption Support Services. Having worked with her before, it was wonderful to have the opportunity once again to have the adoption conversation. As with Melinda's interview, so too was the interview with Nikki fraught with the overhead planes which caused filming to suspend at times. Nonetheless, all went well. From the beginning, Nikki was an invaluable asset, parting with advice and wisdom to guide me through the process. It truly is a team effort and every reward goes to all involved.


YSBG DVD is now on sale! Limited numbers are available. The DVD is in PAL format. Although most universal devices support this format, please check the device specifications. The Region for the DVD is open so it should be fine to play on most devices. To purchase your copy 
Click on the DVD button to purchase   DVD

See Distribution details at the bottom of the page for distribution via Gumroad

What others are saying

Wow … I just watched ur video .. it’s outstanding and so well done! Especially in light of the recent SBS insight which was so pitiful compared to what it could have been. ~ Lynelle Long”



In February 2019, YSBG won the Bronze Award for Best Documentary Short at the Independent Shorts Awards Film Festival Los Angeles. A testament to the work and effort of all involved!




March 31, 2019 YSBG was a festival selection and went on to receive a Special Mention in the category of Best Documentary Short, for the Global Shorts Documentary competition, Los Angeles, California



In December 2020, the doco was entered into the Indo American International Festival of World Cinema in India and is an official selection of the festival. It went on to become a Semi-Finalist in the category of Short Film, then collecting a Winner status



October 2020 YSBG was selected in the category of Best Documentary as a Winner. This festival was the Mont. Blanc International Film Festival in Paris, France




In August 2020, YSBG was an Official Selection in the category of Short Film, to be part of the Creator In Crisis Film Festival in Singapore




In December 2020, YSBG was an Official Selection in the Agropoli International Film Festival in Italy for the category of Documentary


May 2021, YSBG is a Finalist in the Weekly Online Film Festival in India for the category of Documentary. The doco has since forwarded to Award Winner


In May 21, the 24 Hours Film Challenge in Telangana India, invited me to submit YSBG to their festival. The doco has since collected Winner for Best Concept, Best Sound Mixing, Best Editing and both Seasonal Winner and Gold Annual Winner for Best Director



After waiting 9 veeeery loooong years, we finally have landed an award on home soil!!
YSBG has been nominated as a finalist in the Wonderland International Film Festival in Sydney, Australia on June 1st, further going on to receive an Outstanding Achievement award



Here we have collected several wonderful awards from Festival de Indie which was held on 16th July 2021 in Chennai, India.  YSBG was awarded Best Concept, Best Documentary, Best Documentary Director, Best Editing, Best Producer and a Special Jury Award



This is also another first with YSBG winning an Outstanding Achievement Award in Rome, Italy 18.12.21




Again, another first with YSBG winning an Outstanding Achievement Award in London, UK on 26th July 2021



The trifecta of firsts is in the Tokyo Film Festival in Tokyo, Japan, winning Documentary Film award on the 14th of July 2021



YSBG winning the Certificate of Achievement for Best Documentary category in Bangalore, India 31.1.21



YSBG Collected an Outstanding Achievement award in the Star Hollywood Awards, Best Documentary category on 29.12.21


You Should be Grateful – Release date March 2019


FINALLY!! SO happy and excited to announce that….

Release date for the Premiere of You Should be Grateful will be Thursday, 7th March 2019 at the Piccadilly Cinema in North Adelaide. 

“One of the most emotional journeys I have been on.
I urge you to come along to gain a deeper and unique understanding of life, as experienced by adoptees”

If you’re dealing with adopted people in any way, this is a must see.

So if you’re an adoptee, or related to or know someone who is adopted, this film will give you greater insight and understanding.

Your support is invaluable because it will enable important future work to continue.

This film has not been classified however I would advise that it to be rated PG. Mild tones.


Premiere at Wallis Cinema, North Adelaide, 7th March 2019, with myself, Melinda Rackham, Daryl Fuller and Anthony Patterson

Here’s what others have said about the doco …
“Adoption is so complex and the pain can last a lifetime”
“Documentary highlighted adoptee issues well”
“Original and realistic”

“Black Diamond Duo” performed at the premiere of You Should be Grateful, featuring song “Dear Daughter”. The duo is headed by vocalist and song writer, Jo Newman with Joel LaVars on keyboard. 



Formulaboxx has collected YSBG for film distribution via Amazon Prime. It is available to stream on the links below:

USA by clicking below link

UK by clicking below link

For Australian residents, YSBG can be streamed via Gumroad here

Forced Adoption Support Services ~ Partially funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services

3 thoughts to “You Should be Grateful”

  1. Well as an adopted child at one year of age and now in my mid seventies I wept when i saw the name of your production. I have never really talked about it much there were so many things i could not understand . My adopted parents could not have children but they did not know that at the time only that they believed if they adopted one they would get pregnant. It never happened and they talked about it to friends in front of me it was horrid .One question in my mind today the catholic charities and the nuns who placed me why would they do this. The folks were living in a one room chicken building that was was cleaned up thats it . The father never held a steady job and we moved over and over again.Mom was depressed all her life some of it i am sure for her inability to produce a child . He blamed her you see without any proof of course. At barely sixteen i was sent one my own with not even a change of clothes . My education came many years later from my own motivation. The whole experience affected me in ways that linger on to this day. . Thank you for this film i have not watched it all but i will when i can watch and not be so emotional about it. One foot note i have come to believe they would have handed me over to about anyone who was catholic and went to church grr. After all it said on my birth certificate that i was the illegitimate daughter yep thats right you hear it right. of such and such, a person.

  2. Adopted in 1957 at the age of six months — always knew i was adopted — I was told “You’re lucky to have a roof over your head”.

  3. Oh, all the years I’ve spent trying to explain I just feel it’s all for nothing…well, maybe not
    OK, I will deal with CLOSED RECORDS ADOPTEES since that is what I am but all forms of adoption are painful. OK. You are ripped from your roots. What is a rootless tree? DEAD TREE. You are forced to have a fake name, fake birth certificate, fake ancestry – what is another tree with no roots? FAKE TREE. You think that doesn’t matter? You think I am making excuses. Let me tell you something, I didn’t look into this until I was 40. Until then I was working my hump off to please my adoptive parents, always told they were the heroes, I was a piece of trash saved from the trash can. I worked in the WRONG DIRECTIONS because I didn’t know where I came from. This is NOT a conversation in the media, this is NOT a conversation in society. You are not solving anything snapping at us adoptees and telling us to be grateful. You are making us ANGRIER AND ANGRIER. RESULT? There is an over representation of adoptees in the criminal system, addicts, suicides, homicides. Most of us, especially those of adopted in the 60s and 70s when we were guinea pigs, did not get the right treatment because everybody told us first we were chosen and special, and then told us to be GRATEFUL, now say OH EVERYTHING IS YOUR FALT YOU ARE BITTER, YOU ARE THE DEVIL. Well what happened to chosen and special? “adopted child syndrome” is used as a defense in court. We are MAD. This is the next civil rights issue.

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