Friday, June 12, 2009

Orphan: The Movie

As many of you may have heard, coming to a theater near you in July will be horror film entitled “Orphan.”

It seems that got such a huge number of complaints form adoptive parents about a line in the trailer, Warner Brothers is removing it.

The offensive words? "It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own."

The complaints stated that it would be harmful to adopted children who might hear it.

- Wouldn’t you think every adopted child wonders that anyhow?
- Don’t you think some even hear it from schoolmates?
- Do you think the ones really offended are the adoptive parents who also wonder the same thing?
- Do you think it’s a valid food for thought that any prospective adopter should well consider long and hard?
- What about the “bad blood implications?
- Will you see the movie?


Anonymous said...

A lot of adoptive parents are angry about one line in this film: “It must be hard to love an adopted child like your own.”

How pathetic that these people chose to be angry about this movie line but are perfectly content that their adopted child’s birth certificate was permanently sealed from his/her with their permission! Yes, adoptees have to live their lives carrying around “amended” birth certificates and are NEVER allowed to see their original birth certificates containing their true names and the names of his/her true biological parents. These adopted parents get their names placed on the amended certificates as the birth parents! What lies!!!! These adoptive parents have no concern about this because it suits them. It’s not their ethnicity, their heritage sealed from them. No, their newly purchased child will be forced to accept these lies are their truths. It's disgraceful and pathetic what people choose to protest.

I’m an adoptee. A lot of my friends are adoptees. We want “Orphan” t-shirts to wear proudly because getting angry over one-liners and not giving a hoot about our civil rights is laughable.

O Solo Mama said...

Did it ever occur to you that they love their kids and don't want them to think they are not loved?

No, I wouldn't go see it and I wouldn't subject my kid to that statement. Why? Because kids don't always have the maturity to understand the intent of messages in certain contexts. I don't know anything but adoption as a way to make a family so the statement sounds like a bad joke to me. But as a policy, I believe people should be able to see what they want to see and I don't go around demanding that movies or books be withdrawn.

Further to this point, I don't see what this has to do with open records. Many a-parents support open records. All of us who adopted internationally have no forged birth certificate. We have a certificate of estimated or known date of birth that mentions our children's "parents" plainly on it, sometimes by name.

Anonymous's screed is your typical over-generalization. But now it feels a lot better, having dished out its rightousness yet again.

Anonymous said...

Dear Osolomama:

Many a-parents support open records? Do you REALIZE that every adoptive parent has the opportunity to NOT amend their adopted child's birth certificate? So, after the fact they NOW support open records? BS. Loads of BS.

AdoptAuthor said...

Anon - Are you aware that most had no idea they could not amend? That's almost like saying to us that we could have not signed the surrender! Rights you do not know you have are hardly rights at all.

I for one am grateful for any adoptive parents who wakes up and wants to help make a change in the system - even if it after the fact. Better late than never! A great deal of reform has been done by adoptive parents.

*** PLEASE keep comments civil and respectful so this blog can remain a safe place for us all.

O: As I said, kids are gonna hear these things movie or not. I think it might be used an opportunity to discuss that very issue that is likely on their mind. I think the objections show a fear of the truth and a fear to open into honest dialogue about the realities of adoption.

And the very sad truth for those who adopt because of infertility and never have any biological children - the truth is that they do not know how they might feel about a child "of their own." Many open adoptive parents have shared with me a lifelong wondering about what a child they might have conceived would be like. And the more unlike the family the adopted child is - in appearance, temperament, interests or personality - the more adopters wonder.

And adoptees wonder what their lives would have been like had they remained in their original families...and who those people are, and what they look like, etc., etc.

And mothers who lost our children really want to know if you are capable of loving OUR children as much as you would one of your own....or as much as we would have.

Anonymous said...

Hi AdoptAuthor:

So, I'm curious...

If adoptive parents were not advised by their attorneys or social services of the option to NOT amend their child's birth certificate than why aren't these people screaming FOUL about it? If they did that as loud as they are screaming foul about a stupid movie, maybe they might actually help their children get their original birth records.

I want to see Yahoo groups and posts from adoptive parents on the injustices that were inflicted on their children. I haven't seen any, have you? Please list them for me, because I really want to know who is out there from that camp that is helping us get our civil rights back.

For some of us (adoptees), it's hard to be civil with NO civil rights afforded to us.

Thank you for allowing me to use my freedom of speech on your blog and for not cersoring me; I really appreciate that.

O Solo Mama said...

If you're going on Yahoo lists for the comfort and care of adoptive parents, you're not going to find the advocacy I'm talking about. What I'm saying is that there are adoptive parents who support open records and adoption reform. They blog, and are active on lists and boards that discuss such ideas. In fact, I first heard about Orphan from a reunion list run by a-parents seeking. I know very little about domestic adoption, so my comments are coming from the international context here, but that does not take away from the point.

Mirah, in theory the idea of talking about these ideas is a good one. But having your young child overhear a statement like this is not what is known as a "teachable moment." I can still remember my tearful 8-year-old emerging from a cooking class and looking up at me with these words: "They said my parents didn't like me and that's why they gave me up." The fury I experienced at that moment was not conducive to a discussion. Not at all. What precious little bio-brats uttered this insanity. . .was more what was going on in my mind. I had to calm down and calm Simone and I don't even know what I said after that! Just my 2 cents from the trenches!

AdoptAuthor said...


You have proven my point perfectly! Any kid who is "different" in any way - fat, slow, adopted, interracial, going to be subjected to taunting and WILL hear very cruel things.

I think "Can you love an adopted child as much as a child of your own" is not especially cruel at all - it is a very logical question. Every child other than an "on;y" wonders of their parents love all of the siblings equally - who's the "favorite." These are normal - and actually quite healthy - curiosities. healthy when they are dealt with properly and calmly.

You need to get beyond YOUR fury because it's not about YOU! You need to be there for your child and as an adoptive parent, it is your obligation to be prepared for these ugly moments and to protect and prepare your child for them. It is sad that people today are allowed to adopt simply by paying fees and do not obtain sifficient preparation.

O Solo Mama said...

It's a journey, Mirah. We learn to deal with these comments as they come up. As time goes along, we get more skilled. Yes, I was furious that a child would suggest that my daughter's original parents wouldn't love her, and that comments could come out of such ignorance. Not sure how this makes it all about me, but have it your way if you wish. I just couldn't stand for my daughter to think that.

Again: these are not teachable moments. Overhearing these statements without preparation does not lend itself to a teachable moment. The movie trailer is not a teachable moment. I would think that many adopted kids hearing that might experience fear, shame, dread or embarassment. This does not mean that the *topic* shouldn't be brought up. But the context is all wrong.

AdoptAuthor said...


You said: "The fury I experienced at that moment was not conducive to a discussion." That, to me, seemed as if your emotions were forshadowing what needd to be done to help your child. You were focused on YOUR fury, YOUR felt insulted or slighted by the comment.

Were you able to ask your chuild how she ro she flet about it? Was he/she old enough to express his own emotional reaction, if any?

My daughter's adoptive mother assured me that my daughter was horrified by the word adoption and not able to discuss it. The fact is that it was he, her adoptive mother, that felt that way. My daughter was perfectly comfortable meting me and taking with me, and knowing about her first year in foster care etc.

As parents - we often project our own feelings, fears etc. on our children. I have heard of young children being taunted about adoption who simply and confidently turn around and say that they were 'chosen" and are thus more loved and wanted than their tormenters! (That's of course not to say that the same issue would not be revisited on a deeper level in adolescence when there is recognition that being chosen also means having been given away.) But discussions, of course, must be age appropriate and without showing your own horror or fear or sadness.

Secondly, you prove my point once again regarding lack of preparation. Adoption is a process that should begin PRIOR to applying for a child, Perspective adopter should be required to attend classes in which they would be subjected to similar comments to prepare themselves and answer very honestly if they wanted that and could accept those challenges as part of their life or not.

As I am sure you know, not everyone is going to view adoption as a saving grace and will praise you for it. You need to have tough skin and endure everyone's insults. If you can't stand the heat, you need not enter the fray. That may sound very cruel, but with the numbers of would-be adopters so outnumbering the children who really might benefit from family - and not adopting those children anyhow...but merely filling the coffers of baby brokers, so be it. If some are not up to the task, that's fine. Fewer mothers will have their children stolen, kidnapped or coerced from them to meet a demand.

O Solo Mama said...

Your idea about preparation is a bit out of reach, I think. Personally, I spent an awful lot of time soaking up everything I could on the subject before adopting but that is not to say I was prepared for every situation. (BTW, I never shored my kid up with the "chosen" line because it's false.)

I did already tell you what my child's emotional reaction was. She emerged from cooking class crying over the comment. We walked home together and I assured her that her parents loved her and that many people who do not have direct experience with adoption often blurt out ignorant things. Because an adoptive parent is furious at what is said is not an indication that it's *all about them* or that they are unable to deal with the issue. But if you think that such incidents happen without the temperature going up, think again. Gradually, over a period of time, you get better and better at defusing and talking. The fact that you assume ineptitude on the part of a-parents is really more revealing of you.

AdoptAuthor said...


You seem very upset. I'm sorry.

I am assuming little. I am a researcher and have researched and met and spoken with adoptive parents for 30 years, many intimately.

Sadly, the vast majority are ill-prepared. These are small consequences. The far greater consequences of ill- or lack of preparedness is false expectations that lead to children being dumped or harmed seriously, emotional, physically and sexually by those who have adopted. They have been caged, burned, starved, beaten and killed by those who adopted and were not prepared for the problems associated with ACS, especially high in children adopted internationally who often suffer a combination of physiological and neurological problems and problems attaching after being institutionalized.

Not the majority, but a result of lack of preparation on the part of those eager to redistribute children to fill a demand.

At least few do use the "chosen child" story anymore. But are those adopting equipped and prepared to deal with their child's grief over their loss? Feelings of rejection and abandonment...topped of with feelings of indebtedness and gratitude. Heavy burdens to grow up.

AdoptAuthor said...

Ya know what? I was barely an adult when i was subjected to very hurtful comments like: "How could ANYONE give away their own child?" or my favorites: "Any dog can give birth."

Bottom line: Adoption sucks!

----------------------------------- Joan M Wheeler born as ---------- Doris M Sippel said...

I heard those comments, too: "How could ANYONE give away their own child?" and "Any dog can give birth." In fact, the very sister who found me shouted the second comment to me a few years into our reunion because she thought I should not be an adoption reform activist.

Osolomomma said:
“All of us who adopted internationally have no forged birth certificate. We have a certificate of estimated or known date of birth that mentions our children's "parents" plainly on it, sometimes by name.”

I'd like that explained, please. I have a hard time believing that because, according to The Hague Conference for the US intercountry adoption, adopting parents must apply for a “new” birth certificate for the child they wish to adopt. What's on the “new” birth certificate if it isn't a falsified birth certificate? Why would the US Dept of State and The Hague specifically state “new” birth certificate if the child would have her own birth certificate? I can locate the exact website and quote if you wish.

While I'm no expert in intercountry adoptions, it seems evident to me that a “new” birth certificate in intercountry adoptions would indicate the child's new name, and adopting parents, mixed in with some birth facts, as you indicated. There is an adoption certificate issued, but, according the website, that is used only to indicate that pre-adoptive parents are in the process of adopting. The next step, according the to the US Dept of State website for intercountry Hague adoptions, is to apply for a “new” birth certificate.

So, please explain to those of us who are domestic adoptees, and domestic parents of adoption loss. Certainly you don't use an adoption certificate as proof of ID for your adoptee. No, I think not. The reason I think there is a falsified birth certificate involved in intercountry adoptions is because adoptive parents must be on the child's ID as the parents, because the US government will not allow two forms of ID with two different sets of parents: adoptees are allowed only one set of parents. It's the law. That's one of the reasons we domestic adoptees can not get our orriginal birth certifcates. If I'm wrong, tell me.

Are you telling me that your intercountry adoptee (s) have more than one legal birth certificate? Isn't the “original” one not legal anymore? Are intercountry adoptees bound by sealed records in their country of origin?

Back to the Movie: Orphan:

I am a half-orphan. I wouldn't see this movie. Not only because the love-line is in poor taste, but because it paints adoptees as villains, as bad blood, Again. I am so tired of being judged for the “sins” of my parents. My mother died. My father's “sin” is that “he gave me away”. Just ask my hateful adoptive relatives who snickered behind my back. Oh, many of my deceased mother's relatives also feel hate for my father.

AdoptAuthor said...

Thanks Joan! Good points!

BARF ALERT before clicking this link:


AdoptAuthor said...


I just came across a blog post that discusses the fact that the most annoying comment is: "Aren't you lucky to have been adopted."

Hollee has some insightful thoughts on gratitude.

AdoptAuthor said...


I just came across a blog post that discusses the fact that the most annoying comment is: "Aren't you lucky to have been adopted."

The post is by Korean born Hollee McGinnis, policy director at the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and the founder of Also-Known-As, Inc., an adult intercountry adoptee organization and has some insightful thoughts on gratitude, with an ending right out of the "love cures all" genre of romantic novels...

Kippa said...

""It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own."
It doesn't bother me personally, because I know otherwise.
However, like Osolo, this kind of mindless remark troubles me on behalf of the kids.

O Solo Mama said...

Doris said:

"While I'm no expert in intercountry adoptions, it seems evident to me that a “new” birth certificate in intercountry adoptions would indicate the child's new name, and adopting parents, mixed in with some birth facts, as you indicated. . ."

Never heard of such a thing. My child's a landed immigrant in Canada. That's her ID. If I were faced with the prospect of re-applying for a new birth certtificate, I'd refuse. So perhaps my statement should of read, "Those of us in my country. . ." I'm really sorry people have to go thru that in the US.

Anonymous said...

The call for Orphan movie t-shirts has been answered:

Anonymous said...

As one who is adopted and has 3 adopted children of my own.. I find the words are offensive and insensitive... With closed records and other irratations we have to deal with I find this insult over the top by people who should know better.

Anonymous said...

Big deal, it is just a movie and seems like there are some people who complain about everything. I didn't get bad vibes from the comment by a lunatic. Get over yourselves

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