Adoption STAR Staff Respond to Film Clips

As promised, here are some Adoption STAR staff reactions to the film clips we mentioned earlier this month both on Facebook and our agency blog. See our Facebook post on 4/1/14 for more information (or to learn how to view the clips for yourself). There were two clips – one from the move “The Avengers” and one from the TV show “Jessie.”

The Avengers

thor and loki“I think this is something we all have encountered or heard at some point. It is hard to control what other people say, however as people that either work in the adoption field or are personally touched by adoption I think it is important that we use positive adoption language and help others understand how important it is as well.” – Shannon Boeheim, Adoption Social Worker and Family Advocate

“My initial reaction was that this was very negative about adoption. Thor’s comment about his brother being adopted was in direct response to the comments about Loki’s bad behavior, and I interpreted the adoption comment to be intended to explain Loki’s behavior. I don’t think a person can be or should be described with one word. Our identities are so much more than one word. I thought the adoption thread in this movie clip somewhat undermines our ongoing efforts to educate friends, family and the community in the use of positive adoption language.” – Lori Craig, Executive Administrator

“I did not see the movie, The Avengers, but like everyone else, I heard the controversial line, “he’s adopted” countless times and read articles written by angry adoptive parents about the line and how they believed it was inappropriately used. To me, I felt the character who uttered the phrase about his brother, who yes, was adopted, just meant to show that he was separate from his brother. The challenge with the storyline is that the evil doer was the adoptee. So the brother wanted to make it clear that he was not evil thus sharing he’s adopted could make that even clearer even if we don’t agree. Others have said that the adoption story line that was weaved in actually had some good messages but it was that specific line that so many found offensive. “He’s adopted” could have been uttered for a non-adoptee, it could have been another line, such as “he’s gay,” “he’s retarded,” etc. When is it the movie makers’ responsibility and when is it ours to take moments like these and to discuss and teach…” – Michele Fried, Founder and CEO

“As an adoptee, I am grateful to have not felt insulted by the comment/joke made in the scene. I do not feel the intent was to minimize adoptees, nor shed a negative light on adoption. It was a clever way to the two main characters separating themselves in the context of the plot. Throughout the first and second Thor movies, the audience is able to see a complex relationship between brothers (the “hero” and the “villain”), and the root behind the adopted brother’s “evil ways” does not correlate to being adopted. I feel as though this scene created an unnecessary outburst of comments when the movie was released. It is almost as if the public forgets that jokes are made on a large variety of topics, all of which could be taken personally by a number of people. Those of us in the adoption field, or who are personally touched by adoption, may have a gut reaction to think the movie needed to exclude the word adoption in the scene. I chose to look at it as a light-hearted joke, and in no way an harmful jab at adoption or adoptees. It is the role of parents, teachers, adoption professionals, etc. to teach the positive ways to talk about adoption. Hollywood’s job is to entertain.” – Zachary Fried, Client Relationship Manager

“While this is a difficult line and doesn’t sit well with many of us, I think it is a helpful talking point and teaching tool for those around us. While this line was difficult, I do think that other parts of the movie do a good job of showing some adoption issues.” – Rachael Metz, Adoption Social Worker and Family Advocate


“I thought it was unfortunate that International adoption was misrepresented in the show. The show did do a good job of showing the emotions and feelings that could occur should an adopted child find out their parents maybe started out “wanting” something different in their adoption journey. With only seeing a snapshot of what happened, we don’t know if his parents spoke more about this with him, but my hope is that there was more conversation around the idea that although they may have had an expectation starting out, they certainly ended up with the right child for their family.” – Shannon Boeheim, Adoption Social Worker and Family Advocate

“The parents could have initiated a conversation with Ravi about them perhaps initially wanting a baby, rather than having it blurted out to him unexpectedly. Better communication could have reinforced to Ravi that it was him that they wanted. There had to have been time to change the room from a nursery to a little boy’s room, even if done by other family members and friends ahead of presenting the room to Ravi.” – Lori Craig, Executive Administrator

“While sharing his adoption story from his point of view, it becomes apparent that his parents were expecting a baby rather than him. I feel that though the show is plagued with silliness and some pretty unrealistic situations, the characters struggles are very real such as the mother’s desire to never tell her son the real story, though she knew one day she needed to… the child’s distress worried that he was not really wanted, the fantasy scene about his arrival, etc. The show Jessie actually has some very good adoption story lines… from searching for a birth mother and desiring more information on a birth family, to dealing with transracial adoption and other differences. Many adoptive parents have told me their children (adopted and non adopted) have gravitated to the show.” – Michele Fried, Founder and CEO

“The scene shown did a great job of adding humor to the storyline, with the parents initially thinking they were going to adopt an infant. Without knowing the story beyond what was shown in the clip, it was hard to know whether the parents did a good job talking with their son about their adoption journey and how he came to their family. It appeared the parents are hesitant to talk about adoption, as they do not know the best way to go about this. Perhaps Adoption STAR Home Study Educational Classes would be of some help.” – Zachary Fried, Client Relationship Manager

“I thought that the boy from Jessie verbalized fears that children may have whether they are adopted or not. Some kids wonder, “am I the kid my parents really wanted?” Different children wonder about different things. Some children may wonder if they are as smart as their parents wanted them to be; some children wonder if they are as artistic as their parents wanted them to be. It was nice that this boy was comfortable enough to express his insecurities to his parents. I think that it is neat that there is a show that kids like that has adoption as part of the story without being the whole story.” – Wendy Lane

“To me this clip showed the importance of talking with adopted children about their story and history. Sometimes it can be difficult as an adoptive parent when maybe you are not sure when or how to share. Often you think you are protecting your child or fearful of their response. That is where professional or other adoptive parents can be a valuable resource in helping you figure out how and when to talk with your children.” – Rachael Metz, Adoption Social Worker and Family Advocate

“I have seen this happen when I worked in foster care…families start out wanting an infant and then met an older child and changed their minds. The families just knew that they were meant to be a family.” – Sue Shaw, Birthparent Department Supervisor