You would never guess LSU Law student David Scotton’s story upon meeting him. The documentary "I Lived on Parker Avenue" examines preconceived notions concerning adoption and Scotton's personal experience .
With the help of the New Orleans-based company Joie De Vivre Media, Scotton reconnects with his birth mother after 19 years, and the film is the raw look at the effects of adoption on all parties involved.
The film has been endorsed by Senator Bill Cassidy as well as several adoption agencies including Lifetime Adoption Center, BraveLove and the Uplift Adoption Network, according to Scotton.
Scotton was adopted by Jimmy and Susan Scotton of New Orleans in 1993 as a newborn after his birth mother, Indiana native Melissa Coles, didn’t go through with her previously-planned abortion.
As a junior at Jesuit High School, Scotton spoke in an oratory contest put on by Louisiana Right to Life recounting his adoption. One month after his performance, Coles reached out to Scotton. He debated for nearly a week before deciding he would respond.
After sending her a letter, Scotton and his parents waited anxiously for her response. Finally, Scotton received a Facebook friend request from Coles in what he describes as a “powerful moment.”
Scotton’s mind swirled as he grappled with the potential repercussions of the decision he now faced. "It’s something you always think of, but you always push it out of your mind," Scotton says.
Coles wanted to meet immediately, but Scotton needed time, and ultimately decided to reconnect with her to thank her in person for choosing to put him up for adoption, he said.
Joie de Vivre Media Executive Director Benjamin Clapper heard Scotton's story through the oratory contest, and inquired if Scotton would be interested in making a short film documenting the reunion. While some might balk at having this significant moment on display, Scotton agreed.
“This really was a once in a lifetime opportunity to give back to the cause that gave me life,” Scotton said.
Clapper and Scotton wanted the film to alleviate some of the stigma surrounding adoption, director Philip Braun III said.
“[We wanted] to reclaim the beauty of adoption,” Braun said.
The film ensures the story is being told from all sides, he said. Clapper, Scotton and Braun wanted the film to represent the ups and downs adoption often entails.
“[The film]’s not all perfect. It’s not all a magical fairy tale,” Scotton said.
While adoption was a gift for the Scottons, it’s evident throughout the film the toll it took on Coles and Scotton’s birth father, Brian Nicholas. It explores the minds of Scotton and both sets of parents, allowing for an honest portrait of the repercussions of adoption for all parties involved.
“[People] ask what was it like to meet your mom, or what was it like to meet your dad. And that’s not what it is,” Scotton said. “Who I met was my birth mother and my birth father — my parents are Jim and Susan Scotton in New Orleans.”
Five years after Scotton and his birth parent’s original meeting, “I Lived on Parker Avenue” will debut online on March 8, 2018.
Watch the trailer for "I Lived on Parker Avenue" below.