This movie was the most wonderful and accurate portrayal you will ever find of a parent with a disability caught in the legal and social services system.
I Am Sam is a story about a single guy who is suddenly faced with raising his newborn daughter after the mother leaves them both just outside the hospital when the baby was born. With help from his friends and his neighbor, Sam and his daughter Lucy manage to stay under the radar of social services for several years. After some unfortunate events; mistakenly arrested for participating in prostitution and Lucy not doing well in school, they were put under the microscope of the local child protection agency. A social worker decided that Sam who is considered to have the mentality of a seven year old, can no longer properly care for his daughter Lucy. The social worker takes custody of Lucy on her eighth birthday and places her in foster care.
Sam decides to fight for Lucy. He realized that he could not do it alone so he and his friends find high-priced, tightly wound attorney Rita Harrison. Rita decides to take the case free of charge just to prove to her colleagues and herself that she can.
As they prepare for the custody hearing, Rita begins to realize that she and Sam have much in common. She sees her own family slipping away and she wants to help Sam and Lucy. This is when she starts to understand that being a competent parent has nothing to do with intellect or money. Rita learns that Sam has unyielding integrity along with a kind of intelligence we don't know how to measure with IQ tests
In the end, Lucy stayed in her foster home, which was close to Sam, and they were able to continue to see each other.
This story is so true to life. Sam's situation is faced by many individuals and parents with disabilities in this country alone. We so often underestimate the abilities of one who is mentally disabled.