Adoption in the Movies

Many of our entertainment choices are escapist; we look for superheroes or geniuses that do things we cannot do and in scenarios that don’t match up with our ordinary lives. In the rest of our TV and movie choices, we love to see ourselves reflected in the screen or story. It feels good to see a person who looks and acts like us triumph over difficult circumstances.

Adopted children are looking for the same reassurance.

There have been plenty of movies addressing the different aspects of adoption over the years. We could list 100 of these movies and still find more. We’ve chosen 5 movies that may resonate with the adopted child and his or her family, and leave them feeling positive about their place in the world.

1. Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables

There are multiple adaptations of this book made for film and television, so there are options for varying attention spans. Anne Shirley is an orphan in Canada mistakenly sent to a farm when siblings Matthew and Marilla request a boy. Anne charms the brother and sister and goes on to make a life in their care and in the town of Avonlea. Anne’s journey is a happy one, but starts out difficult like many children adopted at an older age.

2. Angels in the Outfield

Angels in the Outfield

Angels in the Outfield is a fun and touching movie that will speak to adopted children and even adopted preteens. Roger is a foster child whose birth father promises to take him in if the Angels, the worst team in pro baseball, win the World Series. With the help of angels that only Roger can see, the team begins to do better and have a chance at winning. Roger bonds with the manager of the team, George, and they fill very necessary gaps in each other’s lives. Angels in the Outfield is a great movie for children with alive but absentee birth parents or those who have been through the pains of the foster system.

3. Martian Child

Adoption Movies - Martian Child

Martian Child tells the story of a widower, David, and his continuation of the adoption process started before his wife’s death. His new son, Dennis, believes that he is a Martian. David must contend with this belief and gain access into Dennis’s world. Both characters are inherent outsiders and they recognize their common sense of loss. Martian Child is a wonderful story for any adopted child, especially those who have created their own origin story to cope with the absence of their birth family.

4. Despicable Me

Adoption movies - despicable me

Despicable Me is a favorite of children these days and we want to champion it for its portrayal of children without parents. This movie is great way to show kids how much their presence impacts the lives of their adoptive parents. Gru is a super-bad guy until he meets orphans Margo, Edith and Agnes. They upend his life and his evil plans as they warm his heart and home. Despicable Me is a funny kids movie on the surface, but truly has a lot to say about the love of a child and the affect of that love on their new parents and home.

5. Meet the Robinson’s

Adoption movies - meet the robinsons

Meet the Robinsons is another animated film focused on the lives of children living in a group home. Lewis and his roommate Goob don’t get along because Lewis is working on inventions at night, keeping Goob awake. Lewis’s inventions also deter potential parents from adopting him. Lewis’s inventions are primarily time travel devices to help him meet his birth mother. After a number of time travels with a strange kid to the future and back, Lewis finally meets his future family. He meets his son, future wife and, in the end, future Goob who has been trying to sabotage his success because Goob never got adopted.

Without betraying the ending, Meet the Robinsons is a happy tale of a child letting go of the unrealistic expectations of birth parents and coming to accept the love of a new family. These movies provide some great conversation starters if your children have been struggling with their own beginnings. Even if these conversations are already happening, it’s great for kids to see their lives reflected- even in animated form!

Do the journeys of Anne, Roger, Dennis, Margo, Edith, Agnes and Lewis sound similar to your adopted children’s stories? Check out some adoption testimonials from families who used our adoption agency for their Kansas or Missouri adoption.