Kendrick Brothers’ ‘Lifemark’ spotlights beauty of adoption

Baptist Press

NASHVILLE (BP) – When David Scotton’s birth mother contacted him 18 years after placing him for adoption, the first thing he wanted to do was thank her for giving him life.

She made it as far as the operating table in an Indiana abortion clinic in 1993 before deciding to carry him to term.

The story is told in the latest Kendrick Brothers film “Lifemark,” based on Scotton’s true story he first depicted in the short documentary “I Lived on Parker Avenue.”

“But Lifemark doesn’t focus in on the dark side of abortion, it focuses in on the positive side of adoption,” Stephen Kendrick told Baptist Press. “And you see how adoption can actually be a beautiful picture of the love of God when we show the love and provision of the Lord to those who are most vulnerable among us.”

Releasing in theaters months after the US Supreme Court overturned rulings that had effectively legalized abortion nationwide, Lifemark was not made in anticipation of the June, Alex Kendrick said.

“We did not know that the year we had completed it and were planning to release it that Roe v. Wade was being overturned. We had no idea,” Alex said. “We hope that it paints a picture of adoption and choosing life as honorable and beautiful choices. We look forward to seeing what the Lord does with this film.”

The Kendrick Brothers have long focused on themes of life, repentance and second chances in their filmmaking, based on the grace and hope of the Gospel.

“This movie though, we have an opportunity to shine the message that children are made in the image of God, and God knows them in the womb,” Stephen said. “And we should not only show compassion for a teenage girl and an unwanted pregnancy who’s afraid to have a baby, but also for that baby who has its own fingerprints and blood type and DNA and brain and beating heart, it has its own identity as given to it by God. But it has no voice.”

Alex describes the movie as 90 to 95 percent accurate, and “startlingly close” to I Lived On Park Avenue.

“When you see the interaction between the biological mother meeting David and interacting with him, it’s almost word-for-word exactly what actually happened. And that was important for us because we wanted to tell the story as close as we could to what actually happened, because it’s hard to argue with a true story,” Alex told Baptist Press. “We let the truth speak for itself.

“We hope when people see this, it will inspire them, it will give them hope for their own journey. Especially those that find themselves with situations like this, maybe an unplanned pregnancy or should I consider adoption and pray through that. We hope this movie inspires them.”

Stephen and his wife Jill are themselves parents to six children, including a daughter they adopted from China. Stephen appreciates the literal adoption and God’s adoptive grace in their daughter’s life.

“When my wife and I adopted a baby girl from China, we saw her go from being in an unwanted burden in a Communist country to being a beloved blessing in a Christian home in America,” Stephen said. “We saw her identity change. We saw that now she has the education that she needs, the medical support that she needs. She now has come to Christ and even shared the Gospel with other people. And so it’s just beautiful when believers really just trust the Lord by faith. And so I think James 1:27 communicates to the whole church that we need to be supporting the widows and the orphans in our communities.”

Made in association with Kirk Cameron Entertainment, Lifemark is the first Kendrick Brothers film the brothers did not direct, instead mentoring director and cowriter Kevin Peeples. Along with Kirk Cameron, both brothers serve as executive producers along with their brother Shannon Kendrick. Cameron portrays Scotton’s adoptive father Jimmy, with Alex portraying Shawn, the husband of Scotton’s birth mother.

The moviemakers partner with Lifeline Children’s Services, Focus on the Family, Care Net, National Day of Prayer, Answers in Genesis and others in the production. A companion Bible study and video are available through Lifeway Christian Resources, with educational resources and a novel based on the movie available at popular retailers.

Sexual purity is not an explicit theme of the movie, the Kendricks said, but its importance is implied along with the power of God’s redemptive grace.

“The pain of a young couple that has to go through an unplanned pregnancy when they’re not ready for it, they were using wisdom to not get sexually involved, then this pain would never have happened for them,” Stephen said. “We do believe in pointing people toward biblical principles, because when we follow the Lord’s biblical principles it is a life more fulfilled.”

The Kendricks promote the movie as a family product that, although rated PG-13, has no profanity nor sexual content.

“We tell people if you’re OK with your child seeing a scene where they’re discussing not having an abortion,” Stephen said, “then you can take them to see the film.”

Lifemark releases Sept. 9 for a one-week run in about 1,500 theaters spanning 48 states. Tickets and more information are available here.

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