Documentary FINDING THE WAY HOME Debuts December 18, Exclusively on HBO
Film Highlights Six Intimate Stories Of Institutionalized Children Finding Their Way To Loving Homes
“Imagine A World Where Every Child Is Raised In A Loving Family, With The Resources They Need To Thrive.” — J.K. Rowling, Founder and Life President of Lumos
Approximately eight-million children are currently growing up in orphanages and institutions around the world. Inspired by the work of J.K. Rowling’s Lumos Foundation, whose mission is to end the institutionalization of children worldwide by 2050, FINDING THE WAY HOME, debuts on HBO on WEDNESDAY, DEC. 18 (9:00–10:05 p.m. ET/PT). Directed by Emmy® winning and Oscar® nominated Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill and narrated by Oscar® winner Eddie Redmayne, the film shines a light on six extraordinary stories of hope and resilience. Given intimate access to families across the globe, the filmmakers feature children who have found their way to loving homes after experiencing the traumas of child trafficking and institutionalized life.
The documentary will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and partners’ streaming platforms.
Heartbreaking and enlightening, FINDING THE WAY HOME travels city streets and dirt roads, brings us into overcrowded children’s institutions and shares the joy of loving foster homes and reunited households. Sharing insights along the complex path these children have taken into different corners of an often corrupt world — from families who have been separated in Haiti, to the social workers who have helped reunite them in Nepal, to the dedicated foster parents who have taken in children with stigmatizing disabilities in Moldova and Bulgaria — the film takes a deeper look at the harsh realities of the eight-million children currently hidden away in orphanages and institutions.
As detailed in the film, the shocking truth is that more than 80% of the children in orphanages today are not truly orphans, but rather, have been separated from their families as a result of poverty, disabilities, disaster, war, drug addiction, trafficking or discrimination. The film offers a distressing portrait of the circumstances that bring children to institutions while instilling hope for a world where every child has a family and a home.
FINDING THE WAY HOME follows six families in Moldova, Haiti, Bulgaria, Nepal, Brazil and India who have overcome the hardships accompanying institutionalization. With varying stories of despair, united by the transformative power of hope and love provided by family, we meet:
Maria, born with cerebral palsy in Moldova, the poorest country in Europe with one of the highest rates of institutionalization. Maria’s parents lacked resources to help care for her and left her in an orphanage. Foster mother Maria took her in at 8 years old and together they live in a loving home filled with song, baked cookies and real happiness.
Diego, sent to live in a Haitian orphanage at the age of six by his own impoverished mother who believed this was the only way he could receive an education. After Lumos learned of the conditions at his orphanage and saw how sick he was, the organization was able to find his mother and bring him back home.
Isus, born with severe and complicated disabilities, was abandoned as a baby in Bulgaria, where the prevailing cultural belief was that children with disabilities required permanent institutionalization. Saved by the profound devotion of his foster mother Dima, Isus now lives with her in a safe and nurturing environment.
Bishnu, taken from his home in Nepal under the false pretense of educational opportunities, was subsequently trafficked and enslaved for four years. He was rescued by the NGO, Next Generation Nepal, whose selfless workers walked hundreds of miles to identify and return him to his family.
Cristina’s granddaughters, Karolina, Karina and Kettelyn, who were placed into an orphanage in Brazil when their drug-addicted mother was unable to care for them. After overcoming her own demons, Cristina worked to break the drug/orphanage cycle in her family and is raising the girls herself.
Livya, one of the hundreds of thousands of children, mostly girls, abandoned in India each year. While living in a children’s home, Livya dreamed of finding a mother. Upon meeting her, foster mother Maria was captivated by Livya’s infectious smile and knew they were meant to be a family.
Each story is unique but linked by the common theme that family is a hopeful, transformative and restorative environment for children around the world.
Directed and produced by Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill (“Baghdad ER”, “Redemption.” China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province”). Produced by Larissa Bills; Edited by Gladys Mae Murphy; music, Jonathan Zalben; narrated by Eddie Redmayne. Executive produced by Sheila Nevins and Jacqueline Glover.