Dear Creators of Children’s Movies,
I sat in a movie theater this past weekend and watched another of your animated movies with my family. We love taking our three boys to these cute movies on occasion. We surprised them with this one. The Batman Lego Movie. We have two big super hero fans in our bunch so they were thrilled with our surprise. But the movie itself had a little surprise for us, as well. Honestly, I’m not sure why it still surprises me these days. The adoption/orphan/parental abandonment theme is a heavy one among animated films for children. Now, maybe if I was more knowledgeable on my history of super heroes I would have done some research first. But, I had no idea that Batman had adoption ties. I guess that’s what I get for growing up in a house full of sisters and Barbie dolls. I had no clue about Batman’s family history until it was dropped on us all in the movie. And once it was, I couldn’t help but feel the weight of it throughout the rest of the film. I knew it was going to be one of those times that would require me to have some follow up conversations later with my children and so I began imagining what I might say and what they might say. Truthfully, had I known this, we probably would have skipped the movie this weekend. But the reality is, without even trying very hard, I can list a slew of other films that carry these themes: Frozen, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Finding Dory, The Boxtrolls, Kung Fu Panda, Storks, and Despicable Me with it’s terrible box of shame in the orphanage scene. Even The Lorax makes an off putting wise crack about adoption. Sadly, this list could go on and on.
You see, my husband and I have 3 boys whom we adopted as newborns. They know almost every detail of their story that they can process at their current ages of 8, 7 and 4, and they began hearing about their brave birth mothers and about the miracle of adoption from the moment they could lock eyes with us. So, we talk about adoption a lot in our home. We celebrate it. It made us parents. It made these 3 boys brothers. It has made us family! It has been an incredible gift to us all. But, along with this gift, comes loss and heartache for our children. I’ve learned a lot about the life-long process of adoption and so I know that an adoptee will feel the joys but they will also feel the sacrifice and loss. So often your movies are such a disappointment because of what you classify as a “real” family. Because Movie Creators, my family is as REAL as it is going to get!! Often it feels as though adoption is portrayed in your movies as a second best option, if even that. But I’m sort of done complaining about the portrayal, because I truly do understand that people who haven’t adopted may not be able to fully understand the beauty in it. Actually, I’m ready for you to just give up the obsession. Why do your stories have to evolve from this somewhat sensitive matter that affects so many families today? We already have to screen our movies for enough junk. Why do I have to also screen them for adoption/orphan/parental abandonment themes? Lay off, please. Find another obsession. One that doesn’t reopen wounds that we feel are finally beginning to heal after years of dedication and love.
Momma to 3 Miracles