We Need More Hollywood Movies Promoting Adoption
By Tess Farrand, Contributing Writer
Movieguide®’s research and data reveal time after time that American audiences want redeeming faith and family values in the industry. But, there is one area that needs some attention: adoption.
According to The Adoption Network, 428,000 children in the U.S. are in foster care and wait an average of two to five years before getting adopted, if ever. 135,000 children are adopted into families each year. With such staggering numbers, why isn’t Hollywood taking notice?
Not only do movies tend to neglect adopted children, orphans and foster children, but the industry tends to portray them in negative lights. Horror movies like ORPHAN, THE ORPHANAGE, THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE unjustly demonizes orphan children and reinforces negative feelings towards adoption instead of a joyful celebration of adoption.
Movies like SECONDHAND LIONS, STUART LITTLE, TARZAN, and LILO AND STITCH all showcase adoption. But, these movies came out in the late 90’s early 00’s. Even THE BLIND SIDE is approaching ten years since its release…. Now is time to revamp the landscape of the family-friendly genre with more movies that display an all-encompassing view on adoption. We need more adoption movies like the DESPICABLE ME trilogy.
The power behind the movies listed above is their ability to display conflict and resolution with positive sentiments that adoption is worth all the effort. Take for instance TARZAN. After his parents die, Kala, adopts baby Tarzan as her own. Kerchak, the head of the tribe of gorillas does not approve of Kala mothering a human. Despite Kerchak’s animosity, Tarzan grows in strength and knowledge of the gorilla community and because of this, saves the clan from poachers at the end of the movie. Tarzan’s noble act changes Kerchak’s tune as he realizes that accepting Tarzan improves the community rather than stifle it.
One of the scarce options available about adoption is the current hit NBC TV series THIS IS US. While the show does display the struggles of adoption in the many life stages of the Pearson family, and most of the tension and conflict is resolved positively, content of THIS IS US is not entirely appropriate for younger audiences and is more geared towards older teenagers and adults (see our review of seasons one and two here). Similarly, the TV show THE FOSTERS airs on Disney’s Freeform channel, and features adopted twins, the show is also known for pushing politically correct LGBT content since the main characters are a lesbian couple. So, the need for broad audience stories that normalize and celebrate adoption is clearly needed.
Just how many people have adopted in their immediate family? The number is staggering. According to The Adoption Network, 100 million American’s have adoption in their immediate family. This is almost a third of the population of the entire country.
As Christians, it’s crucial to remember that adoption is important because even spiritually, we were once orphans adopted by God Himself. In fact, New Testament explicitly states that we’re “adopted” children of God (Eph. 1:5, Gal. 4:4-5). The good news of the Gospel is that we are redeemed in Christ and He has ADOPTED US into His family of faith!
The book of James plainly states that religion that is pure is this: “to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” A simple way the entertainment industry can be there for children who have no parents is to make movies that simply say, “We see you. We hear your pain. We love you.” Movies that give children the opportunity to laugh, and see that they’re not alone in their situation, and most importantly, movies that inspire parents around the world to embrace these children and adopt them into their home.
Movies have the power to do this. So, come on Hollywood, let’s make more of them.