Instant Family Movie Review


In November, the movie, Instant Family, was released in theaters, and viewers got a look at what it’s like to become foster parents. Starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne, the two parents decided to foster a sibling group of three children, and the movie shows a glimpse of the process of becoming foster parents, receiving a placement, and all of the joy and trials that come with fostering.

After our Residential Staff went to go see the movie, we asked some of our case managers about how the movie compared to real life fostering and adoption.

I believe the movie Instant Family did a great job at portraying the truly difficult parts of fostering, as well as the rewards. I often teach foster parents to never expect the foster children in your home to be “grateful” to be there. The family in this movie learned this as well. Children in foster care need unconditional love and support, because they will most certainly test those conditions at times. The movie also lets you see things from the children’s perspectives, which can be very helpful in keeping us adults in check - to remember why we do this work as case managers and foster parents in the first place. The family in this movie works through cultural differences, heartaches and absolute frustration.  But it is also evident how worthwhile it is to stick it out and see the lives of children (and their foster parents) forever changed. I think any potential foster parent would benefit from watching Instant Family.  –Melissa, Case Manager

Overall, I give this film 4 out of 5 stars. I loved it. It was a great representation of fostering children from the foster parent perspective and the roller coaster of emotions that come with the court process, building a relationship with the children, and the reunification process. The only thing I wish was addressed was better services offered for the children when transitioning and dealing with a new potential adoptive home. However, I also understand services may not be offered in all settings, as this film was based on a true story. The film depicts a couple seeking to adopt a child through foster care, and they end up with 3 children and the struggles and challenges that come with it, including language barriers, cultural differences, and understanding the love needed. Ultimately the movie continues to remind viewers that structure and love are very important through this process, along with support and commitment.  –Veronique, Case Manager

If you’ve ever considered fostering, please contact Chambliss Center for Children at 423-693-2580 or email The agency will be offering PATH (Parents as Tender Healers) training, the required training to foster in the State of Tennessee, each quarter.