5 Movies I Love with Adoption Themes

Hollywood has been doing a pretty decent job at portraying adoption in recent years.

Derek Williams March 11, 2018
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Years and years ago, “adoption” was a byword in the Hollywood community. It has been a running joke in order to make fun of the odd kid in the family, “Oh, he must be adopted.”  Lately, however, Hollywood has been doing a much better job at normalizing adoption and presenting us with a much more positive view. Below are five movies that gave me different perspectives on different adoption-related issues.

#1: Lion

Starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman, Lion is the story of an Indian boy who gets lost in Calcutta, thousands of miles away from home. He gets placed in an orphanage, then adopted by an Australian couple, and when he grows into adulthood, he becomes obsessed with the search for his birth family back in India. This movie gave me a fresh perspective of the struggles international adoptees have in re-tracing their past.

#2: Bella

Bella, starring Tammy Blanchard, is a beautiful, poignant story of two people with checkered pasts who spend one day together that will change both of their lives.  Bella gave me a new perspective on unplanned pregnancies and how our mistakes do not have to define us.  Bella shows us how something good can come from something bad.

#3: October Baby

October Baby, starring John Schneider, is the story of one young lady’s journey to find her birth mother. It is based on the true-life story of Gianna Jessen. This movie breaks the mythology of the down-and-out birth mom.

#4: Blind Side

Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock, is loosely based on the story of NFL Football player Michael Oher and the white family that took him in as a teen. This movie does not hold back and shows the good, the bad and the ugly side of transracial adoption. It also hits upon topics that most people are too uncomfortable to talk about in public.

#5: Bringing Joshua Home

A documentary following one family’s journey to bring home an adopted child from Russia.  This was one of the last adoptions from Russia before it closed its doors to international adoptions to the US. The movie is a realistic view of one family’s patience and paperwork and travel and paperwork and language barriers and paperwork and struggle in trying to adopt internationally.

Hooray for Hollywood for producing more pro-adoption films!  Filmmakers have come a long way from making the adopted kid the serial killer or the nerd or the outcast. Adoptees are all around us! They are productive, inspiring members of society. I’m glad Hollywood has finally caught up to that reality.

I urge you to see one or more of these movies. And not only that, but to view them with family and friends.

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Derek Williams

Derek Williams is an adoption social worker and has been in the field of child welfare and behavioral health since 2006, where he has assisted families in their adoption journeys. He and his wife started their own adoption journey in 1993 and have 8 children, 6 of whom are adopted. His adopted children are all different ethnicities, including East Indian, Jamaican, and Native American. He loves traveling with his family and is an avid NY Mets fan! Foster care and adoption is a passion and calling for Derek and he is pleased to share his experiences with others who are like-minded.


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