Gaunt’s feature doc “A Place Called Home” follows his family in U.S.’ second-largest group adoption

When the body 14-year-old Kyle Seney was found in the White River in Southern Indiana in 1997, the Indiana State Police launched an investigation that revealed years of abuse and neglect at the hands of Seney’s mother and stepfather.

Kyle’s nine brothers and sisters were placed in foster homes until 1999 when they were adopted by an Indianapolis couple.

Jean and Tom Gaunt initiated what would become the second-largest group adoption in U.S. history.

Jean and Tom’s birth son Thomas C. Gaunt, an Art Institute grad, began videotaping the adoption process to provide a “video scrapbook” for his newly expanding family.

“I started filming around Christmas, using the advantage of the holidays to introduce the camera,” said Gaunt, who was teaching video at Chicago Access Network Television.

But as events from the Gaunts’ past reemerged to threaten the adoption, Thomas began to see his footage first as a tool to support his parents’ case, and then as the source for his first feature documentary, “A Place Called Home: An Adoption Story.”