Hayden & Her Family

HAYDEN & HER FAMILY follows the nuanced and intimate adoption journey of an American family who is raising seven biological children plus five special needs Asian orphans. This film is timely as we live in a culture of increasing racial diversity and unconventional family building. Through the lens of the parents we explore themes of alternative parenting, challenges of special needs adoption and ambitious altruism. HAYDEN & HER FAMILY gives voice to the often underrepresented adoptive parents with an unflinching look and insights to special needs children.

  • May M. Tchao
  • May M. Tchao
    Same as above
  • May M. Tchao
    Same as above
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    Human interest, Family, Adoption, Special needs children, Diversity, Disability
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 10 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    February 29, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    125,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • not applicable due to Covid lockdown
Distribution Information
  • not applicable due to Covid lockdown
Director Biography - May M. Tchao

May May Tchao, Producer, director, writer
May May transfers her skill from TV commercial production to documentary filmmaking after more than 35 years in the Chicago’s advertising business. She is a Kartemquin Alum and takes her projects from concept to finish often wearing many hats to manage production details. Her roles include shooting as second-camera person, editing string-out, transcribing and even designing her marketing materials. A firm believer in “learning by doing,” she honed in her craft by collaborating and consulting with filmmakers at Kartemquin Films for production, post-production and outreach. Her directorial debut SPILLED WATER has won awards and was shown in national and international film festivals. It was broadcasted at PBS stations WTTW/Chicago and KQED/ San Francisco and is now distributed by Alexander Street Press.

HAYDEN & HER FAMILY is her second film. This film has been selected by PBS for the American ReFramed series for national broadcast this November.

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Director Statement

Family is one of the most basic and profound human experiences we all share. One out of 25 U.S. families with children have an adopted child through foster care, open or international adoptions. More than 250,000 children are adopted internationally in the past 15 years. Adoption is changing the way families are created as well as how society perceives them.

What does it mean to be a family? I hope audiences will connect to this ordinary family in their extraordinary adoption journey and find hope and humanity at this difficult time.

Pat Gillule from Smithboro, NY said after a screening, “I am a mom to 5 kids, three of whom were internationally adopted at ages 4 months, 5 years and 13 years. Two of mine also have special needs. Your documentary is by far the most realistic and truthful that I've seen. I hope that this film is available publicly in the future. It was truly wonderful!”