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Chicago Area Filmmaker Explores 'The Equation Of Adoption' From The Cradle In Evanston

By Edie Kasten 

CHICAGO (CBS)-- Adoption is a bittersweet life event. It's an ending for one family and a beginning for another.

A filmmaker from the Chicago area explores the "Equation of Adoption" in a new film focusing on The Cradle, an adoption center in Evanston.

He has a very special connection to adoption and reason for creating this project.

"Making this film was a way for me to broaden the discussion about what it is to be adopted," Dan Lanigan said. "Families are made up of lots of different ways so why not discuss it."

Lanigan and his wife adopted their daughter and son from The Cradle, which is celebrating its 99th year of helping families.

The film "Stories From the Red Couch" is his way of saying "thank you."

"The red couch that is in the lobby at the cradle is a place to sit down a family that has just adopted a new child," Lanigan said. "They sit on the couch and everyone who works at The Cradle comes down to meet the family, they take pictures and it's kind of this first big warm embrace the world is giving you as a new family."

The film focuses on 10 families and how The Cradle changed their lives.

"They educate you through the process. You understand not just what it is to be an adoptive parent, what it is to be a parent," He said.

Lanigan said making this film was not always easy.

"Honestly during these interviews it was hard for me to hold back tears sometimes because I saw myself in them. They were baring their souls," He said.

The film also shows the struggle of parents who have to give up their children.

"This is not an easy decision and that side of the equation typically gets forgotten," Lanigan said. "They're giving up their child willingly for the sake of their child and not their own purposes."

"These families trusted us to tell their personal stories, I'm proud that I could do that not only for the cradle, but for my kids," He said.

You can see "Stories From the Red Couch" online this Saturday, February 26. You can register for free online. 

The film's release coincides with a fundraiser to celebrate The Cradle's 99th anniversary.

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