From the moment adoptive parents bring their child home, they should start talking with their child about their adoption. They will need to help their child reach a level of comfort with how their family was formed. To many, this task can be overwhelming.
Adoption at the Movies is a blog run by Licensed Social Worker, Addison Cooper. His blog was started to help parents use movies as a springboard for talking with their kids about adoption. Films are reviewed, and discussion guides are provided. It is the hope of the site that families will be able to engage in open and honest conversations about their adoption stories.
So how can this blog help? There is an updated, alphabetical list of movies that either directly address adoption or foster care, or have relevance to adoption-related issues. When you choose a movie, the link takes you to the following information — a synopsis of the film, how it relates to adoption or foster care, strengths, weaknesses, and challenges of the film, and discussion questions for after you’ve watched the film.
Ultimately, it is up to families to decide what film is appropriate to be viewed in their home. Parents can select a few, preview them, and then watch them with their kids if they are appropriate. The website’s guide to Disney movies is a great place to start for finding a family-friendly movie. Adoption themes often pop up in Disney movies, even if it is not explicitly mentioned.
When looking at the reviews, pay attention to the strengths and weaknesses of each film. Cooper takes the adoption themes and categorizes them as to whether they present an accurate representation of adoption or foster care. The plots of some films may revolve around adoption, but their portrayal is not always realistic.
In addition to his blog, Cooper also published a book earlier this year — Adoption at the Movies: A Year of Adoption-Friendly Movie Nights to Get Your Family Talking. In it, he recommends one family-friendly movie to view each week for a year. As on the website, each film is reviewed with a list of strengths and weaknesses written for each, as well as discussion questions. This would be a fantastic resource for adoptive and foster families.
Movies can transport us to a different place and help us see things in new ways. They can be a useful, and sometimes easier, vehicle for gaining insight into important life issues. With Cooper’s direction, adoptive families can select films to help them start discussions about issues their family may be facing.