Thursday, April 23, 2009

Adoption Goes to the Movies

Last night, the conference had a session about adoption themes in movies. The presenter, a social worker and adoptive mom, showed clips from both kids movies and adult movies. There were quite a few I hadn’t heard of amongst the adult movies, and can’t wait to catch them. Three that the speaker named as the best adoption movies EVER are: Lovely & Amazing, Second Best, and Secrets & Lies.

The clip from Lovely & Amazing showed the white adoptive mom giving a bath to her African-American daughter, explaining why she (the mom) is having cosmetic surgery to be the best she can be, and the daughter says, I want to tear my skin off.” Seems like an interesting movie to explore transracial adoption. Second Best is about a single adoptive dad whose son is traumatized by having seen his birth mother commit suicide. The speaker described the value of the movie for adoptive parents as “showing an adoptive parent who never gives up on his child.” Secrets & Lies tells the story of a black woman who traces her birth mother and discovers she is white.

The children’s movies she clipped were familiar to all of us, I bet: Stuart Little (trans-species adoption, where the presenter says it shows a family willing to change to fit Stuart’s uniqueness, rather than making him change to fit the family), Dumbo (to show the mouse who took Dumbo to see his caged mom as a “resourceful social worker!”), Tarzan (lovely scene between Tarzan and adoptive mom (gorilla), where she shows him a photo of himself with his birth parents and says “I just want you to be happy;” and when he decides to go find them, Tarzan says, “No matter where I go, You will always be my mother.”), Lilo & Stitch (another unconventional social worker).

Blossoms in the Dust was another title shown, and I was surprised that the audience hadn't heard of it, and didn't know who Edna Gladney was. Maybe it's because I live in Gladney country (Gladney Adoption Agency is based in Fort Worth, but I didn't use them for my adoptions), but I thought everyone in adoption knew of her. The clip shown was of a relinquishing birth father, and he's a complete creep. The presenter noted that there were very few positive images of birth fathers in film, and I sure can't think of any.

She didn't have Hercules included her list of adoption-themed films, so I had to share my take on that one!

There's a lengthier list of movies that I'll try to post when I have more time. Now, most of the movies, included the ones I've posted about here, are not really movies ABOUT adoption -- but there are adoption themes and situations in the midst of movies that tell us something about human relationships. And that's as it should be, right?

Tonight, there will be a showing of a movie ABOUT adoption -- Adopted, The Movie. Though I've seen it already, this time Barb Lee, the filmmaker will be there for discussion afterwards. Should be good!

No comments: