Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Flesh and Blood

Last night, my husband and I watched an award winning documentary on Netflix called My Flesh and Blood. This documentary was about Susan Tom, an amazing woman who adopted 11 special needs children. All of the children have different conditions, requiring very individualized care from surgeries, therapies and bleach baths to their complex emotional needs. It’s hard not to be inspired as you watch Susan open up her heart and home to these children, while making personal sacrifices along the way.

One child’s story was particularly hard to watch. He has cystic fibrosis and ADHD. There were obvious moments where he was struggling with a lot of anger, something you may relate to with your own child. To see how his mental illness impacted all the other children was tragic yet familiar.

Then there were moments that made me laugh out loud, watching the silliness and courage to embrace humor in the face of such challenges. And other moments that made me cry.

But the radiant spirit these kids have after all they’ve been through was beautiful and inspirational, reminding me of mankind’s incredible ability to be resilient and overcome what seems impossible.

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A little more about Susan Tom:

In 2003, Susan Tom was nominated “The Most Inspirational Person of the Year”
(She lost to Archbishop Joseph O’Malley)

In the same year, she won “The Most Inspirational Woman of the Year”

With the help of two friends she estabilished the “Susan Tom Family Foundation” to educated the public about various disease that affect children.

In 2005, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition built Susan and her family a new house.


Video Source:
Uploaded on YouTube by  on Mar 18, 2008

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Interview with Susan Tom, 5 years after the Home Makeover:

Video Source:
KXTV News 10, Apr 9, 2010
by Nick Monacelli


  1. Thanks for recommending that movie! I watched it last night and like you I had moments of laughter and moments of tears. Bravo to this lady who has so much love to give to these kids who would otherwise have no one in their life to care.

  2. Kelly- I’m so glad you got to check it out, pretty amazing huh!

  3. Yes! I saw this documentary many years ago and to this day I remember the boy whose parents were always letting him down and then he died in the hospital. I think really he died of a broken heart. Gosh, he so reminded me of my son and my heart just broke for him. Still does. I don't think I'll ever forget him.

  4. Meg- I can really relate to what you said. This boy's story was heart breaking to watch, I felt a lot of anger towards the birth mother. On the flip side, seeing who she was, and how she was towards him, I was grateful that he was adopted by Susan, I know the life he had was so much better.

    I was also so sad to see the celebration party at the end for the boy with cancer. Watching this scene, all I could think of was... why was this boy adopted, look at all his family, none of them could raise this child who was their own blood? I just couldn't understand this.

  5. I am a 43 yrs old student with a special needs child of my own. We watched this today at school. It was the most heart warming, heart breaking, angering and inspirational documentary I think I have ever seen. there was not one dry eye in the class at the end.

  6. Anonymous- I agree with your description of this documentary. They should show it to all classes to teach compassion.