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Olympic Gymnast Reconnects with Long-Lost Sister: ‘In Awe of How God Works’

Photo from Jen Bricker’s Instagram

Olympic Gymnast Reconnects with Long-Lost Sister: ‘In Awe of How God Works’

By Movieguide® Contributor

Olympic gymnast Dominique Moceanu reconnected with her long-lost sister, Jen Bricker, who was given up for adoption in 1987. Their story is recorded in the documentary, SHE LOOKS LIKE ME.

“So many memories & emotions! I am in absolute awe of how God works all things together for His good and how HIS plans & ways are truly the best! I am blessed & humbled by this life I was given, forever grateful!” Bricker posted following the release of the documentary.

The sisters opened up about the emotional process of making SHE LOOKS LIKE ME.

“I became extremely vulnerable in this filming process and I couldn’t hide it,” Moceanu told PEOPLE about the documentary, which released on Mar. 11.

“Their painful past dates back to Chicago, Illinios in 1987, when Moceanu’s parents left Bricker — who was born without legs due to a uterine band cutting off the blood supply to her lower limbs in utero — as a newborn at the hospital. Bricker was then adopted by an Illinois family and grew up watching Moceanu’s incredible rise as an Olympic gymnast,” PEOPLE reported.

Bricker, who met Moceanu in 2012, had no idea that her idol was her older sister. A gymnast, acrobat and aerialist, Bricker toured with Britney Spears on her world tour and the World Acrobatic Society placed her name in the Gallery of Legends Hall of Fame.

Moceanu competed in the 1996 Olympic games where she looked to God to strengthen her. “I relied on my faith, and that gave me the courage to believe that everything was going to be okay. I knew that God would never let me down,” she said previously.

As hard as creating the documentary was for the two sisters, it was also difficult for their mother, Camelia.

“When it came to the pain my mother has gone through — and she still goes through it because she still has shame, fear and guilt because of being judged — it’s very difficult,” Moceanu said. “And it’s difficult to be the person all the time that has to filter those conversations or calls or trying to make someone not feel ashamed or keep someone from being upset with me for unveiling things like that.”

Unlike their family, the sisters don’t want to cover up their past or let things lie.

“In my family, you’d just need to bury it and never talk about again, and I said, ‘Well, that’s kind of what got us here in the first place,'” Moceanu told PEOPLE.

Camelia has a “tough time dealing with this in a public manner,” said Moceanu, but “for me, it’s been oftentimes therapeutic and healing.”

Though Moceanu wants to talk about it, she doesn’t wish to bring her mother any more pain.

“And yet I’m dealing on the other side with not wanting to harm my mother any more than…She’s been through a lot, and she’s set in her ways at this age, and I never want to hurt her,” she said. “That was never the intent. But I’m dealing with that aftermath behind the scenes all the time, and that is very difficult for me to be in that position constantly.”

Both sisters had a hard time viewing SHE LOOKS LIKE ME’s scenes.

“I was extremely emotional watching them,” said Moceanu. “There are several times when I would really wear my heart on my sleeve and I just couldn’t keep it in. And of course, it’s dealing with the times that I felt that there was hurt to my family and hurt to me, and things that are just very difficult to talk about because I rarely bring them up anymore unless I need to.”

Bricker said, “I wasn’t expecting any deep emotional reaction, and I don’t really think any of us are really overly emotional in that way, but I was a lot more touched emotionally in certain areas and I was surprised by that. It’s so funny, I know the story, I know my life.”

The documentary’s director, Toquil Jones, wants people to be inspired by their story.

He told PEOPLE it “feels important as they’ve faced emotional, physical, mental challenges of an extreme nature, but have decided to pursue the truth, no matter what the cost. For me, their story is one of hope, and I believe it will really affect and motivate young viewers in particular — who are facing similar challenges.”

Though Bricker and Moceanu live apart and have their own families, they make time to see one another.

“So many things have changed, we now have kids that are only a year apart, and live much closer,” said Bricker, mom to 7-month-old Malachi.

Moceanu, mom to 22-month-old Victoria, added that she shares her kid’s hand-me-downs with Bricker.

“I never thought we would both have children that are a year apart,” said Moceanu. “It’s just kind of a wild time to be not only doing this film but also Jen and I are experiencing parenthood again.”

“I think there’s so many layers to our story, and it continues to evolve and grow,” she continued. “But we’re in a place now where Jen moved back to the East Coast. She’s so much closer and we want to be able to share birthdays with our kids together as much as we can given our distance, and it’s much closer than it was. So we can hopefully see each other more often now as well.”

On March 13, Moceanu shared a reel of the doc’s world premiere. She said, “WORLD PREMIERE of #SheLooksLikeMe at @SXSW! Gratitude flows to every soul who contributed to weaving our narrative, and immense thanks to all who showered us with their unwavering support. STAY TUNED 📺”

Movieguide® reported on another emotional documentary, BOWEN’S HEART:

Christian artist Matt Hammitt recently reflected on the power of God’s faithfulness and the new documentary, BOWEN’S HEART, about his son’s severe heart condition.

“This feature-length documentary film follows Bowen Hammitt through his third major open-heart surgery as his parents struggle with the hope that the surgery could make his life better and the knowledge that it could make things much worse,” the description of the movie reads.

Bowen was eight at the time of the third open-heart surgery; now, he is 11. Most children with his condition—Hypoplastic left heart syndrome—don’t make it past the infant stage. Despite the vulnerability of their story, Matt said that he wants their family’s testimony to give God glory.

“My wife and I really want to take the story God’s given us, and to steward it well and share it with others,” he told The Christian Post in a recent interview.

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.