Calm Amongst the Chaos

Mama of 5 seeking calm in the chaos

“Instant Family is the perfect combination of hilarity, reality and it’s so heartfelt. It’s as all the forces came together in perfect harmony for this movie.”

Last night I was given the opportunity to attend an advanced screening of Instant Family that included a Q&A and meet and greet with Sean Anders afterwards, thanks to my new position as a contributor for East Valley Mom Blog. Boy was I thrilled! I had seen previews for the movie and couldn’t wait to see it.

I am always nervous to be too excited about movies. Let’s be honest, if you are an avid reader you are often disappointed by the movie version of a wonderful book. With this movie I was a little nervous to see how the past 2 years of our lives was going to play out. Will they really hit the nail on the head with the complicated roller coaster that is foster care and adoption?

But oh my good Lord. Yes! Yes they did.


I love when it is so clear that the writers of a movie know what they are writing about. When they do their research and/or have true knowledge of their subject. Being a great writer is awesome, but being a knowledgeable great writer is where brilliance is created.

This movie is brilliant.

I was crying within 10 minutes of the movie starting and laughing the next and this continued for 2 hours.

There was a moment I thought my ugly cry was gonna take over and I was fearful for my husband next to me and all the people near me, but thankfully the next moment I was laughing so hard I almost snorted. I was not alone in my emotional reckoning, the sniffles and laughter was all around me.

Without offering any spoilers I just wanted to say there may be scenes a little uncomfortable to watch. Maybe especially for parents. There is a scene where parents Pete and Ellie realizes they may have bit of more than they can chew and they were discussing the errors of their way. I won’t say anymore, but I wanted to say IT’S OK to have hard conversations with your safe person. I know Andrew and I at one point were like remember when life was so easy with just 3 kids and we laugh like crazy people. There was true and honest conversations that mirrored some of our thoughts. Saying them out loud is scary, but not saying them doesn’t make them go away. Parenting is HARD. Parenting instantly without 9 months of preparation is maybe a little insanely hard. And it’s OK to say it is hard.

I have seen movies before where people decide to foster and boom they get a kid. This movie shows the actual reality of taking classes, getting your house ready for safety inspections, they even had a scene in their PS-MAPS class doing an activity we did as well. My husband and I squeezed hands as we remembered that activity and seeing it from outside in brought tears to my eyes (again).

I loved the class they were in turned into a support group and I would have loved something like that. I loved that they represented all of us. There were religious couples, straight couples struggling with infertility, single people, gay couples, all walks of life who walk in the class/group as strangers with preconceived ideas of who everyone is and by the end they are all friends, actually more like family because they all have one vital thing in common. A love for a child not born of their blood.

Being only 3 months from our adoption day I am not surprised how much this movie touched me. I knew it was going to be hitting really close to home and it did. I just didn’t expect it to be so beautifully and hilariously truthful. From seeing biological mom as a real person to the could court hearings. So truthful. So complicated and I’m amazed at how they were able to portray such a delicate story with so much humor and grace.

And the casting. I just can’t. I mean Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne were brilliant together. I wanted to go on a double date with them. And Tig Notaro and Octavia Spencer are absolute comic gold. I loved their yin and yang. And the kids! Oh the kids! That Isabela Moner is incredible and I know we will be seeing a lot more of her as well as the adorable Gustavo Quiroz and Julianna Gamiz.

Guys I can’t say enough about this movie. It touched my heart and my funny bone. I hope everyone sees it. I hope people change their opinions of kids in care and most importantly more and more families open their homes to kids who need it.

Thanks Sean Anders for sharing your story and bringing this complicated, disastrous story of true love to Hollywood and in turn to all of us everywhere.




Director/screen writer Sean Anders turning the camera on us East Valley Mom Bloggers


So awesome meeting Sean Anders and telling him how much we loved this movie (note to self – stop wearing Birkenstocks everywhere you go)

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