My Bad…

The question came from Aubry, in my lap as usual. She put her lips to my ear, so not to disturb the other movie patrons, “Would you ever do that, Mama? Give me back?”

Oh jeez… I felt my heart plummet through the floor and I hugged her really tight, whispering back in her ear, “Never!”

I was squirming in my seat prior to the question. As was Mark.

Why?

We were watching Despicable Me.  The main character, super-criminal Gru, had just returned the three girls he “adopted.”

The movie began slowly (boring) and then the shock set in, because we were unprepared. Gru “adopted” (USED) three girls as pawns in his grand scheme to steal the moon. Universal Studios lost me with the antiquated orphanage and slimy orphanage director (reminiscent of Dolores Umbridge, the Ministry of Magic’s appointment in Harry Potter). What got me ticked though was the premise that children are commodities to be bought and sold, or given back, as in this story, if they don’t “work out.”  

Yes, Gru was gradually overcome with affection and decided to parent the girls.  And I will admit there was a tender moment at the end of the movie.

But still, weeks later, the film’s adoption story line bothers me. A great deal.

My bad? (As Holden would say.) My bad, because I subjected my kids to a movie with a negative adoption message. I forgot to read the reviews and heard through word of mouth from parents, who are not sensitive to adoption and its issues, that the movie was great. The movie wasn’t for me and my family, not even close.

Can’t writers and production houses have some sensitivity to adoption? Can they stop peddling misinformation?

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10 Comments

Filed under Adoptive Mom's Perspective, Claiming, Multicultural Families, Parenting, The International Mom

10 responses to “My Bad…

  1. Pingback: Grown In My Heart » It’s Just a Book About Some Owls….Or Is It?

  2. JB

    How do I say this……I won’t give away the “spoiler” to the movie ‘Orphan,’ but….we’ll just say that it’s *not* exactly how it appears to be. If you do want to see the spoiler:

    http://www.knoxroad.com/2009/07/09/knowing-the-orphan-spoiler-is-more-fun-than-seeing-the-actual-movie/

    I did not see it, I just read the spoiler. I do think that people should know what the spoiler is, before saying “don’t see the movie it claims adoption is bad!!!!”

    I’m certainly not “defending” that movie or Despicable Me, I’m just saying….Don’t just have a knee-jerk reaction because the movie appears to be one thing, in the previews. (Whew, was that vague enough to not give it away….)

    I agree with the overall point that adoption should be portrayed in a more realistic light in the media, movies, etc.

  3. I felt the SAME way. For me, it was reminiscent of Meet the Robinsons. The same hot wave came over my face as I began to squirm. I wish, I wish that they would give some clue that adoption was in the story line of these movies. I always feel so blindsided. I guess I’m a slow learner. I have realized I must now google all story lines before we go to see them.

  4. rps2012

    I doubt you’ve probably seen it but “The Orphan” made me feel similarly. I have not adopted children but I am an adoptee so media miscommunication regarding adoptive parents/adopted children really bugs me too.

    • theinternationalmom

      I didn’t see Orphan. I encouraged people not to see it, to contact the studio to push for a change in how the movie was marketed. Thank you for commenting.

  5. I hate the sick feeling when I realize I’ve made a poor decision for my kids. I haven’t seen the movie, so I’m thankful for the warning. We have a family joke that “every movie is about adoption” — children separated from parents, orphans, adoption, it is a prevalent theme in “family entertainment.”

    • theinternationalmom

      So true, Lisa.

      • JB

        Regarding “every movie is about adoption” (and/or loss, separation, etc), this is often the case in both literature and movies. Think of how many stories have either absent or abusive parents. Ex: Wicked stepmother (Cinderella), one or both parents have passed away (Sleeping Beauty), one or more parents are at war/away (How To Train Your Dragon), parents send child away (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), etc….

        My understanding is that the “absent/abusive parent situation” is a quick and “cheap” way, so to say, to get you on the hero/heroine child’s “side.” You automatically root for him or her because they are coming from such hardships. It’s hard to root for an “underdog” who has an easy life, no?

        When this method is not used, it’s seen as an exception (ex: Emperor’s New Groove).

        Perhaps writers/filmmakers should use another method to get you on the hero’s “side” – but I would say, don’t count on it, they’ve been using this method for hundreds of years….for better or worse.

      • theinternationalmom

        You have a point, JB. Time for a change, don’t you think?

  6. I saw the movie too, Judy, and while the special 3-D effects were great and there were funny tender moments, I felt a mild outrage at the way the whole orphanage/adoption situation was portrayed. I can’t imagine how it felt for you. I don’t like anything that shows children being used for nefarious purposes, even in a silly movie.

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