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.