When David Scotton turned 19, he decided to meet his birth parents for the first time since his adoption as a newborn. He did it because he wanted to thank them, face-to-face, for giving him a wonderful life. He wanted to say “thank you” to them for not choosing abortion, but for making a difficult choice to follow through with his pregnancy and, shortly after delivery, hand him to a couple who wanted a child so badly.
In the short, 30-minute film I Lived on Parker Avenue released last month, David documents the emotional and physical journey he undertakes when deciding to meet his biological mother Melissa Coles, and biological father Brian Nicholas. With the wholehearted support of his adoptive parents Jimmy and Susan Scotton, David learns of the challenging circumstances around his conception and the reason he was adopted.
Melissa was 18 when she discovered she was pregnant.
“It felt like a million bricks on top of me, like I couldn’t breathe,” she says of the moment she found out.
“I didn’t tell anyone about it.”
She booked an appointment at the abortion clinic and was lying on the bed, the abortionist about to begin the procedure when she sat up abruptly and said, “I can’t do this!” and walked out. Part of the reason for her change of mind were the words of a protester outside the clinic that day who said, “Your baby has 10 little fingers and 10 little toes!” as she was whisked through the doors by staff.
“I feel so guilty,” Melissa says, crying, as David hugs her and affirms her, tells her that he is so thankful for her strength that day, that he doesn’t think she is a bad person.
The complexity of emotions surrounding adoption are given space in the film’s short 30 minutes, giving viewers the chance to understand and appreciate what a selfless and beautiful choice adoption truly is.
“I was so torn,” Melissa says of the moments after David was born.
“Part of me was saying, just keep him, it’s not too late. The other part was saying, just let go… I knew that I was doing the right thing for him, not for me. It was kind of bittersweet because I wanted him.”
Jimmy and Susan raised David as their only child, after Susan’s first and second sons (to her first husband) died at 12 hours old and two and a half years old, due to health conditions. Their love for David is tangible, and their acceptance of his need to meet his birth parents is truly touching.
“I don’t think I could love him any different if we were his birth parents. It’s just like we are,” Jimmy says. Earlier, Susan hugs David and says she is so excited for him to be meeting his birth mother.
David takes nothing for granted. He is thrilled to find he has a sister, Courtney, to find he shares looks and mannerisms with his dad, to know that his mum never stopped thinking of him.
“Why me?” he asks.
“Why was I the one that was saved? It just makes me feel lucky, like I have a mission in life.”
I Lived on Parker Avenue was directed by Philip Braun III and produced by Benjamin Clapper for Joie De Vivre Media.