A heart with a man walking on a path and title of movie

Several years ago, Columbus resident David Bynum had a chance to meet his birth mother, but he ultimately lost his nerve. It wasn’t until his late 50s that the retired correctional officer finally gave in to his curiosity and set out to learn who he really was.   

The results can be seen in the homey documentary he wrote, narrated and directed, From a Place of Love—My Adoption Journey. Though Bynum had waited too long to meet either of his birth parents, his search did lead to the discovery of family members he’d never known he had. He also learned something about the societal forces that likely drove his mother to give him up for adoption.

Linda Evans was a White woman who’d fallen in love with Chuck Comer, a Black athlete who played college football (though not at Ohio State, as Bynum had long thought). When Linda became pregnant, the prevailing prejudice against interracial romance apparently led her to give up her young son. 

Fortunately for Bynum, he ended up being adopted by another mixed-race couple who gave him a loving home. That may help to explain why it wasn’t until his adopted mother died that he began to search in earnest for his flesh-and-blood family. 

The developments that led up to Bynum’s quest are laid out in an extended prologue that runs before the film’s opening credits. After that, the documentary recaps the results of his search in a series of interviews with friends, officials and new and old family members.

Two things become apparent: First, Bynum is a religious man who frequently prays for guidance, especially before undertaking something as momentous as investigating his own past. And second, he’s a thoughtful and cautious man who considers the consequences of whatever he’s doing—or about to do. For example, before beginning his genetic investigations, he met with other former adopted children to see how they dealt with issues he was about to face.  

Bynum’s thoughtful, cautious approach, along with what was undoubtedly a limited budget, can’t help having an effect on the documentary he’s made. Not only is it the opposite of flashy cinema, but it sometimes leaves viewers wishing for more information, perhaps because it’s too polite to delve into certain subjects. 

The doc is also intensely personal, to the extent that watching it is like attending another family’s reunion or leafing through its photo albums. Still, the warmth that Bynum and others direct toward each other makes the experience a comforting one.

The director has said he hopes the film will inspire others like him who are contemplating a search into their pasts, and it may do just that.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

From a Place of Love—My Adoption Journey is available beginning April 9 on iTunes/Apple TV, Google Play/YouTube Movies and VUDU; and beginning July 1 on Tubi, Xumo and Redbox. It is also available for download on the film’s website,

More reviews by Richard Ades can be found on his website,