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This made-for-television movie, based on a true story, follows the tale of several women involved in an emotionally complex adoption. Geraldine "Gerry" Cummins describes her early married life in Boston with her husband Bob and their children, explaining that she was then assaulted one night while walking home from a late movie and stumbled home to tell Bob that she had been raped by "a colored." When Gerry realizes that she is pregnant, Bob assures her that he will love the rapist's child as his own, but Gerry reluctantly decides to place the little girl up for adoption, feeling that she will be happier around "people who look like her," and tell the rest of her family that the infant died. She christens the baby "Barbara Ann" before handing her over to divorcée foster mother Corrine Burrell, and Gerry constantly thinks of her secret daughter as she and Bob gradually become involved in the integration movement. Corrine describes living in the so-called "ghetto" and raising her children, both biological and foster, with love and a sense of comfort, and she establishes a close bond with young Barbara Ann, who is deemed "unadoptable." When the girl is seven years old, however, a social worker arrives to whisk her away to a childless white couple in Wisconsin, the Jurgensons, and Barbara Ann and Corrine are both devastated by the separation.

Annalise Jurgenson explains why she chose to adopt a child in need rather than bring a new baby into the tumultuous world, but husband Paul soon begins to worry that Barbara is "damaged," and when Annalise pushes him to move across town to a more racially mixed neighborhood, Paul abandons the family to the harshness of "the real world." Though Annalise tells her that being biracial means that she can "play with anyone," Barbara finds herself ostracized from both white and black children, and the two share a chilly, distant relationship for several more years until Barbara Ann becomes pregnant by her boyfriend, Don Williams, and moves out of the house. Annalise sadly admits that she misunderstood her adopted daughter's inner turmoil, and Barbara Ann describes her first encounters with racism and fondly recalls her courtship with Don, which began when she wandered into a local black church to listen to the choir and caught the eye of the handsome singer-slash-high school football star.

Several years later, Don and Barbara Ann are happily married with two sons and a third baby on the way, and Barbara begins to reconsider her past when her doctor casually advises her to obtain her childhood medical records. She reunites with Corinne for the first time since her departure at seven, and Corinne explains how much she wanted to adopt her herself. She gently warns Barbara Ann against investigating her biological history, pointing out that she may open a painful "can of worms" – and Barbara Ann soon learns the unpleasant truth about her conception. Elsewhere, Gerry moves back home with her twin brother Gerald after Bob's death from a heart attack, and Barbara Ann, now a mother of five, continues searching for her birth mother. Don tries to remind her that she has a loving extended family in his relatives, but Barbara continues her quest and eventually finds the Cummins' marriage certificate and tracks down Gerry's number and address, nervously leaving a message with a confused Gerald.

Gerry is shocked when she hears the mysterious caller's first name, and she privately tells Bob that their daughter is "back." She finally tells Gerald her long-held secret, and though he frets that "the whole world's going to know" the truth of her rape, Gerry explains that she no longer cares about judgement from others and calls her daughter back, happily confirming her identity. Barbara Ann then visits Annalise, explaining that she has found her birth mother, and the two begin to mend their rift as Annalise expresses a desire to meet her five grandchildren. Gerry brings Gerald and her children to the airport to meet Barbara Ann, and when the two finally talk privately, Gerry explains that she "forgave" her rapist the moment she met her infant daughter. Barbara Ann, however, laments that there's "no part of her she wants to be," as she feels alienated from both halves of her background, and when she demands to know if Gerry would have kept her if her biological father had been white, Gerry tearfully admits that she "probably" would have. She apologizes to her daughter, explaining that she felt incapable of giving her the "pride and courage" she deserved because of their racial barrier, and the two seem to finally understand one another. Later, Barbara Ann attends an enormous family reunion accompanied by all three of her mothers, finally feeling at home with her many loving relatives. Commercials deleted.


  • DATE: February 14, 1999 9:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:30:04
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: B:83825
  • GENRE: Drama
  • SUBJECT HEADING: African-American Collection - Drama; Drama; Adoption; Race discrimination; Mothers and daughters
  • SERIES RUN: CBS - TV, 1999


  • Frank Konigsberg … Executive Producer
  • David Yarnell … Producer
  • Christine Sacani … Producer
  • Ronni Kern … Co-Producer, Writer
  • Anita W. Addison … Director
  • Debbie Wiseman … Music by
  • University of Toronto Gospel Choir … Choir
  • Anne Bancroft … Cast, Geraldine "Gerry" Cummins
  • Lynn Whitfield … Cast, Corrine Burrell
  • Alice Krige … Cast, Annalise Jurgenson
  • Cara Buono … Cast, Young Gerry Cummins
  • Gloria Reuben … Cast, Barbara Ann Williams
  • Jesse L. Martin … Cast, Don Williams
  • Kevin O'Rourke … Cast, Bob Cummins
  • Peter MacNeil (see also: Peter MacNeill) … Cast, Gerald Nephew
  • Albert Schultz … Cast, Paul Jurgenson
  • Jayne Eastwood … Cast, Mrs. Marsden
  • Keenan MacWilliam … Cast, Young Barbara
  • Phil Akin … Cast, OB-GYN Doctor
  • Brooke Belvedere … Cast, 3-Year-Old Carol
  • Kiel Campbell … Cast, 10-Year-Old Robert
  • Michael Capellupo … Cast, Ted Cummins
  • T.J. Collings … Cast, 3-Year-Old Robert
  • Richard Fitzpatrick … Cast, Doctor
  • Olivia Kassardjian … Cast, 5-Year-Old Barbara
  • Moyhan King … Cast, Carol Cummins
  • Mpho Koaho … Cast, Roger
  • Nancy McAlear … Cast, Beach Mother
  • Michael Mitchell … Cast, Stevie
  • Merwyn Mondesir … Cast, Lloyd
  • John O'Callaghan … Cast, Priest
  • Deborah Pollitt … Cast, Louise
  • Jessica Smith … Cast, 13-Year-Old Barbara
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