This director made a joke about adoption. What followed became the basis of a new film.

Sean Anders never expected that an off-hand joke would change his life.

The writer and director (who's responsible for comedies like "Hot Tub Time Machine" and "She's Out Of My League") and his wife, Beth, had been discussing the possibility of having kids when he joked that he might be too old to be a dad.

"Why don't we just adopt a five year old? It'll be like I got started five years ago," Sean recalls saying. "I was totally kidding, but she took it seriously enough to get us moving down the road."


The couple began doing research and quickly realized something important — while there were many kids looking for their forever families, older children had a much harder time being adopted out of the foster system. Suddenly, Anders' joke about adopting a five-year-old started to become more real.

"Once we decided to move forward, it was scary and overwhelming, but we were very open to whatever came our way," Beth says.

Adopting kids is a huge decision. So they decided that their best option was not to decide, or at least, not right off the bat.

The couple connected with The Seneca Family of Agencies in California to begin the process, but they both agreed that they wouldn't jump into anything hastily.

"We decided that we would just go to the orientation, and we wouldn't decide," Sean says. "When we found out that we had [to take] classes, we just thought, 'Well, let's just take the classes and see what happens.'"

What ended up happening was that the Anderses, who had only been considering adopting one child, adopted three.

In 2012, they became the parents of an 18-month-old, a three-year-old, and a six year-old — a trio of siblings who'd been removed from their mother due to her dependence on drugs.  

The next few months were some of the hardest of The Anderses' lives. They'd been confident that they'd be able to handle the challenge of creating a family overnight, but quickly realized that they might be in a little over their heads.

"We would lie in bed at night and just try to figure out some way that we could get them out of our house," Seam wrote in a piece for Time. "They were completely ruining all of our fun. When you get three at once you don’t have time to get your sea legs. It was kind of like babysitting someone else’s kids, but forever."

However, with a bit (okay, a lot) of adjustment, the family is now a complete unit. Sean and Beth wouldn't trade their kids for the world.

They're also correcting some major misconceptions about adoption while they're at it.

One of those misconceptions is that adoptive parents fall in love with their kids right away, and vice-versa.

"I think most people, they need to build up that trust and that love between them," explains Sean.

But that trust and love does build up through hundreds of tiny gestures every day, and eventually the feeling of belonging overwhelms everything else. For Sean, there was a specific moment when he realized that his family was no longer two adults and their three adoptive kids but one complete unit. It came after months of messes, and arguments and sleepless nights.

"There was this one day that I woke up, I think it was a Sunday, and it was in the morning, and it was very quiet in the house. My wife was still asleep, and the kids were still asleep, miraculously. I had this strange feeling in my gut that I couldn't quite identify. Then I realized that, I thought, oh man, I miss them right now. I'm excited for them to come running in to my room and wake us up. I knew in that moment that I had fallen in love with my kids."

If this story sounds a lot like trailers you've seen for the film "Instant Family," it's because the movie is based on The Anderses' experience. Sean's hope is that it gives people an honest look at what adopting kids can really feel like.

Often adoption stories focus on the difficulty of the process, but that's not all there is to it.

While they were growing into their new family, the Anderses definitely felt some heartbreak, but there was a lot of laughter, too.  That's ultimately why Sean decided to make "Instant Family."

His hope is that audiences leave the film with a clearer, more compassionate understanding of foster youth, and that they recognize how rewarding adoption can be for everyone involved.

"I just want [audiences] to walk away having a better idea of who these kids are," he says.  "And that, when they hear the word foster care, it doesn't automatically conjure feelings of fear, and pity and anxiety; but instead, conjures lots of compassion and love, and even enthusiasm, because...these kids, they're just kids. And they need us. And we need them."

“Hopefully you realize that they’re just family," he says of the characters on screen. "That could even be you. That could be your kids and your family.”

To learn more about The Anderses' journey and "Instant Family," check out the video below.

Movie based on real life love

After deciding to adopt, this couple became parents to three kids overnight — and decided to make a comedy about it.

Posted by Upworthy on Tuesday, November 13, 2018
More
True
Paramount Instant Family
Facebook / Mikhail Galin

Putting your pet in cargo during a flight isn't always safe. In 2016, the Department of Transportation reported a total of 26 pet deaths and 22 injuries on flights. Because conditions in cargo can be uncomfortable for animals, the Humane Society recommends taking your pet aboard when you fly, or just leaving it at home.

It's not surprising that one Russian man didn't want to put his overweight cat in cargo during an eight-hour flight from Moscow to Vladivostok. What is surprising is the great lengths he took to fly with his four-legged friend.

Russian airline Aeroflot allows pets to fly inside the plane's cabin, as long as the cat weighs under 17.6 pounds and stays in its carrier during the flight. When Mikhail Galin went to check in, he was told he couldn't fly with his four-year old cat, Viktor. Viktor weighed in at 22 pounds and would have to be relegated to cargo.

But Viktor was sick from their earlier flight from Riga, Latvia to Moscow. And besides, Viktor had been allowed to fly inside the cabin during that flight. The airline staff didn't even bother to make Viktor sit on the scales. Galin was unable to persuade staff to bring his fur baby on board.

"To all attempts to explain that the cat won't survive there on an 8-hour flight with the baggage and would haunt her in her nightmares for the rest of her life, she (the Aeroflot staff member) replied that there are rules," Galin wrote in a Facebook post translated from Russian.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Photo by Kelvin Octa from Pexels

Newborn babies don't seem to do much beyond eating and pooping and, of course, hiccupping. A lot. Parenting advice on how to cure a baby's hiccups runs the whole gamut. It's recommended parents try everything from nursing to stop feeding the baby so much, from giving the baby gripe water to letting the hiccups play their course. But when your baby hiccups too much, you shouldn't freak out. There's a good reason why.

A new study published in Clinical Neurophysiology found that hiccups play an important role in a baby's development. Researchers from the University College London found 217 babies for their study, but only looked at 13 newborns with persistent hiccups. Ten of those babies hiccupped when they were awake, and three hiccupped during their "wriggly" sleep. We have no idea how the scientists got any work done with all that cuteness lying around.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon / YouTube

Actress Kristen Bell and "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon showed off their vocal and comedic chops on Tuesday night when the performed a medley of 17 Disney songs, spanning nine decades, in just five minutes.

The duo started with 1940's "When You Wish Upon a Star" and ended with 2013's "Let it Go" from "Frozen."

Bell will reprise her role as Anna in Disney's upcoming "Frozen 2."

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Ask almost any woman about a time a man said or did something sexually inappropriate to them, and she'll have a story or four to tell. According to a survey NPR published last year, 81% of women report having experienced sexual harassment, with verbal harassment being the most common. (By contrast, 43% of men report being sexually harassed. Naturally harassment toward anyone of any sex or gender is not okay, but women have been putting up with this ish unchecked for centuries.)

One form of verbal sexual harassment is the all too common sexist or sexual "joke." Ha ha ha, I'm going to say something explicit or demeaning about you and then we can all laugh about how hilarious it is. And I'll probably get away with it because you'll be too embarrassed to say anything, and if you do you'll be accused of being overly sensitive. Ha! Won't that be a hoot?

Keep Reading Show less
popular