Orphan: Cause for Panic?

orphanThe adoption community is abuzz over the new horror movie “Orphan,” which (in its trailer) raises the question of whether adoptive parents can love their children as much as biological parents do. Here’s an article about it.

Personally, I have a hard time getting worked up about this one. While I’m not into horror flicks, I understand the appeal for some: the opportunity to face one’s deepest fears in order to get a thrill in a “safe” environment. Frankly, anyone who has ever dealt with a child with attachment issues is not going to see this movie: They’ve already lived the nightmare. For them, “Orphan” would not be the least bit entertaining.

Reading over the comments following the CBS article, it seemed to me that most comments fell in one of two categories, both of which needed a bit of balance. The “get over it, it’s just a movie” camp, on one hand, missed or ignored altogether the fact that there really are people out there for whom adoption has turned out to be something less than the rosy scenario they’d thought it would be. Many of these people do, in fact, wonder if they will ever LIKE — much less love — the little monsters who are draining them of every last bit of energy and goodwill. I hear from these parents more often than I’d like to admit.

And yet, the “OMG, my children are going to be scarred for life” variety, I thought, also needed a bit of balance. As for the idea that it might dissuade a potential couple from adopting, I’d say this: foster care and adoption is not for the weak of heart. If a simple movie — or movie trailer — is enough to turn a couple off to the process, it’s probably better that way.

And yet, if you’ve thought about foster care or foster-adoption, and wonder whether “Orphan” is a case of art imitating life, I can only say that my children and their two older siblings (adopted separately) are very different children from those who went into the system. Love really is the most powerful force in the universe. Yes, the path can grow dark at times, and the children will raise questions about the circumstances of their adoption throughout their lives as they reach various developmental milestones. But in the vast majority of cases, the adoptive family bond holds as tight as any biological bond. 
I think Warner Brothers is making a prudent choice to redo the trailer — if for no other reason than it presents another opportunity to get more mileage out of the original gaffe. Me, I think the fact that 129,000 children go to sleep at night without a loving, permanent family is a lot more upsetting . . . and something worth doing everything possible to change.
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About hsaxton

Heidi Hess Saxton is an adoptive parent of two children, and converted to Catholicism in 1994. She is adoptive parent columnist at CatholicMom.com and CatholicExchange.com. She also writes for the Parenting Channel at AnnArbor.com. In her spare time, she is finishing up her Master's thesis at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.

2 thoughts on “Orphan: Cause for Panic?

  1. I liked this post. I have been reading a lot of foster and foster to adopt and social worker blogs. I hope to adopt 2 kids from foster care at some point. The blogs are helpful, but I usually leave feeling a bit like a soldier preparing for war. Dedicated to my cause and what I have to do, but scared to death of being able to handle it. I am trying to build myself and my faithfor this. Knowing this is the path God has for me, I must have been given the strength to do it.
    I’m not sure what it was about this post exactly, but it gave me hope that it will all be ok.
    Thank you
    Melissa in Durham, NC

    Like

  2. Dear Melissa: Thanks so much for taking time to write! I like to say that adoptive parents (especially foster-adopts of older kids) go through labor and delivery, just as bio moms do — we just do it in reverse order. The mess, the chaos, the pain — it’s all there, and it’s all part of the bonding process.

    In the words of John Paul the Great: “Be not afraid! Open your hearts!”

    Feel free to stop back anytime — and please consider joining EMN by adding our button to your blog!

    Blessings, Heidi Saxton

    Like

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