Lots of people have questions about adoption: parents, adopted kids, their friends, their extended families, people considering adoption, and strangers. Addison Cooper has a suggestion for delving into those questions. Have a movie night! In Adoption at the Movies: A Year of Adoption-Friendly Movie Nights to Get Your Family Talking, Cooper reviews 63 movies that can spark a conversation about adoption.
Cooper wants families to "move from Secrecy into Confidentiality and from Silence into Conversation" when talking about adoption. Discretion and proper timing are called for, especially when talking to children about adoption, but secrecy and silence aren't healthy. Some of the movies Cooper discusses will suggest just the right starting point to work toward productive conversations.
The movies he has selected represent a broad range, from kid-friendly cartoons, teen-friendly sci-fi, to dramas and documentaries for adults. Many of them are not about adoption at all, but cover themes and family dynamics to which adoptive families can relate. Cooper includes handy indexes to help the reader quickly find movies according to age group and topic discussed. I like Cooper's selections. So many of the movies are clearly adoption stories, but I hadn't really thought about them as such, since they involve humans adopted by animals (Jungle Book, Tarzan), or vice versa (Paddington), or aliens (Superman, Lilo and Stitch). Other movies he reviews have more to do with acceptance and family belonging. Nevertheless, the lessons are there, and using this lens of adoption will certainly change the way you look at relationships in the movies.
Each review summarizes the plot (most with spoilers, just so you know), connects the movie to adoption, and mentions some strengths and challenges. The most useful portion is a set of questions you might use to draw out some conversation about adoption, and, in some cases, a suggested family activity. Updated reviews will be added to the Adoption at the Movies web site, http://www.adoptionlcsw.com. Adoption at the Movies is a handy resource and a neat guide to get us thinking about adoption in the movies and in our own lives.
Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!