1. The Blind Side
The problem with this movie starring Sandra Bullock, is that it shows the idea of the "white savior," which is so common in Hollywood films. The movie shows the adoptive parent adopting the teenager, but regardless of who the adoptive parent is, overcoming the obstacles of a troublesome childhood is an ongoing process for the adopted person.
The 2019 movie features Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, and Octavia Spencer and it all about an interracial adoptive family. The adoptive parents have been referred to as "smug" about choosing to adopt a Black child.
In reality, the results of their attitudes about their son's behavior would surface someday.
Juno is a good film but it does a huge disservice to young moms who choose to put their babies up for adoption because in reality, they do care — a lot. But still, Juno shows the happy ending and leaves viewers with the notion that every young girl who gives up her baby doesn't care but that isn’t true.
4. Despicable Me
This is the first film in the franchise and it is plain painful. Sure, a would-be criminal would have a harder time finalizing an adoption as child services and adoption agencies make sure that children are adopted by safe and secure people.
Plus, you can’t just return children you've adopted, especially if you've gone through an agency.
5. The movie, 'Annie' (2014)
The events leading to Annie's adoption would simply not work today. No one hands a kid to someone who shows no interest in her at all, let alone when they aren’t there to actually parent her more often.
There are systems that minimize sketchy placements like that.
6. Problem Child
This movie we watched as kids was okay, but as adults, we feel bad for Junior and anyone who thinks this was an accurate depiction of adopted kids. There are children in adoptive families with behavioral issues, and their lives before adoption could have contributed to that but this is not the case for every child.
If a child behaves like that, they need therapy more than discipline.
7. The animated movie 'Storks'
The film may appear like a heartwarming movie, but depicting orphans is actually sad. They see them as perpetually ostracized, and that the only thing that saves them is being reunited with their real families.
For numerous children, that's not the case because not everyone is luck to be reunited and a most times, it's not even the best-case scenario.
8. Little Fires Everywhere
It is well-made and acted but the problem is that one of the storylines is about the custody battle between a biological mother and an adoptive one. Both mothers love the baby and can enrich the child's life, but a choice had to be forced.
In reality, it’s not that way as open adoptions are not uncommon.
9. Instant Family
The film featured Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne and it’s about a couple who wants to adopt via foster care. They decided to foster-adopt a child, and after finding out she has siblings, they took them too.
The whole process leads them into becoming a transracial family and the movie touches on the complexities and also offers a lot of facts about foster care. But then the children’s birth mother wasn’t included.
10. Kung Fu Panda
The franchise handles the adoption unbelievably well as Po is adopted as a panda and his dad is a goose but Po had to deal with the emotional issues of being left behind by his actual parents. Then, his real dad shows up and it’s suddenly OK for Po to have two dads.
11. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip
The film dealt with adoption quite poignantly as it tackles some of the issues that adopted children face. Here, Dave listens to the chipmunks and makes their adoption official in court.
It’s a nice thing, and it's also a reality for many loving adoptive families.
12. Earth to Echo
The main character is a brave young boy residing in a foster system and was later adopted. It shows that not all foster kids are troubled or emotionally and socially stunted and that is a good lesson.
This is a goofy film where Elf tackles the emotional turmoil that an adopted person may feel with regards to their birth parents. It also tackles how those birth parents may feel when they are reunited with their biological child.
Adoption can cause a wide by spectrum of emotions and feelings, and Elf puts that all on display without attempting to sugarcoat it, despite it being such a feel-good film.
14. Secondhand Lions
The film showcases a child who is not legally adopted, but is taken in and raised by his uncles. These type of thing is not unusual, but then this is what happens when a child is orphaned or abandoned, and it should be normalized in movies.
The film is pretty amazing and it’s about a 5-year-old who got lost on a train. He is later adopted, but still yearns to reconnect with his birth family.
He still has some vague memories and is able to find his real family. The film also illustrated that the search for birth parents does not have to be bad one for the adoptive parents.
16. This Is Us
The TV show which nailed adoption realities as it captures how beautiful and messy it can be, while valuing the feelings and experiences of everybody involved. It is told from the viewpoint of the adoptees, which makes it unique and authentic.
17. Anne of Green Gables
The classic erases the birth parents and doesn’t touch on why or where. It doesn’t showcase any natural curiosity that many adopted kids have about their real parents and that is so unrealistic.
Adoption is a sensitive subject to discuss. Adoption, as much as it is highly regarded and respected in American culture and beyond, is especially challenging.
Adoptive families, like non-adoptive families, are all unique and different. We are from various ethnic backgrounds, as well as socio-economic groups.
Adoptees are also unique and distinct. And while some are disturbed, they are not intrinsically or always bad as they are being portrayed.