Child Adoption Movies: Watch Before Adopting

couple watching a movie about adoption

 Considering adoption? Looking for child adoption movies to watch? Rachel Garlinghouse suggests films that explore adoption.

Books, message boards, and blogs, as well as websites like Adoption.NET, can all be excellent resources for prospective adoptive parents. Additionally, films can be utilized to teach individuals about the many facets of adoption, including perspectives from biological parents and adoptees, issues surrounding special needs or transracial adoption, ethics, avenues of adoption, and much more. Whether the films are fictional or true life accounts, their various perspectives and messages can benefit those who are considering adoption.

Here are some of the many films with adoption themes:

Oranges and Sunshine: A social worker discovers over one thousand cases of children in the UK being removed from their biological families and deported to Australia.

The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom: A pre-teen girl discovers she was adopted and runs away from home to a Dolly Parton concert to find out if Parton is her biological mother.

Then She Found Me: A school teacher meets her eccentric biological mother, is left by her husband, discovers she’s pregnant, and meets a new love, forcing her to rediscover love and embrace new paths.

Antwone Fisher: A solider is ordered to meet with a psychologist to work through his anger issues, and in doing so, begins an emotional journey to discover who he is and where he came from.

Philomena: A birth mother and a journalist search for Philomena’s biological son whom she was forced to place for adoption many years earlier.

Juno: A quirky teenage girl and her sort-of boyfriend get pregnant, and Juno embarks on a journey to place her child for adoption.

Losing Isaiah: A birth mother attempts to regain custody of her son, who is with an adoptive family, after she abandoned three years earlier when she was struggling with drug use.

The Duchess: In this period film, the Duchess of Devonshire, caught in an unhappy marriage, has an affair, gets pregnant, and is forced to give the baby away.

Admission:  A Princeton admissions officer navigates several complicated relationships, including befriending the teenage boy she believes to be her birth son.

Somewhere Between:  This film documents the lives of four female, Chinese adoptees: their struggles, joys, and questions.

Belle: Based on a true story; Dido Elizabeth Belle is a bi-racial girl caught between the privilege, race, and family.

Pictures of Hollis Woods: A pre-teen foster child finds a home with a retired teacher.

August Rush: August is a boy with incredible musical talent who runs away from an orphanage and meets several helpful and interesting people.

Closure: This documentary follows Angela Tucker, an adult transracial adoptee, in her journey to find her biological family.

Delivery Man: Sperm bank donor David Wozniak is confronted by over one hundred of his biological children who want to know his identity and have a relationship with him.

The Kid Who Loved Christmas: A young foster child and his soon-to-be-adoptive father face tragedy and triumph as a team.

Stuck: A film documenting the complex and bureaucratic international adoption system.

Mother and Child: Three women, each with a difference connection to adoption, face obstacles to discover who they are and decide who they will become.

A Shine of Rainbows: An orphaned boy is adopted, but his adoptive father is reluctant to accept him.

The Book Thief: Takes place in Nazi Germany, a girl finds refuge in a foster home with a loving father and a strict mother.

Jackie: Twin sisters search for their biological mother.

Raising Izzie: Two white sisters, who recently lost their mother, find refuge with a black couple who are struggling to conceive a biological child.

White Oleander: When Ingrid murders her lover, her daughter is put into foster care and is left to navigate placement after placement.

Abducted: The Carlina White Story:  Based on a true story, Carlina White was abducted from a hospital as an infant and was raised by the woman who kidnapped her.

October Baby: Hannah discovers she was adopted as a baby and embarks on a journey over Spring Break to discover who she is and where she came from.

Baby Boom: J.C. is enjoying a successful professional life when she is suddenly placed with a relative’s baby girl.

The Cider House Rules: Based on John Irving’s bestselling novel, Homer Wells leaves the orphanage he grew up in to discover new adventures.

I Am Sam: A mentally challenged man, Sam, with the assistance of his hard-hearted attorney, attempts to regain custody of his daughter.

Approved for Adoption: Jung Henin, a Korean adoptee, documents the journey of adoption, culture, and family in this animated memoir.

Man of Steel: Kal-El’s planet is under attack, so his biological parents ship him to safety, planet Earth, where he grows up in an adoptive home and becomes Superman.

Like Dandelion Dust: Young Joey re-joins his biological parents when it’s discovered that his biological father didn’t consent to Joey’s adoption.

Life As We Know It: Holly and Eric become sudden parents to their mutual friends’ child and have to learn to navigate parenthood, relationships, and professional aspirations.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting: The fictionalized version of the bestselling book tells the stories of several couples and their struggles with pregnancy, adoption, relationships, and parenthood.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green: A couple yearning for a baby discovers an extraordinary child who teaches them about life and love.

The Blind Side: Based on a true story, Michael, a black teenager with a rocky backstory, is informally adopted by a prestigious white couple.

Sleepwalking: Jolene Reedy is an unstable woman who leaves her pre-teen daughter to be raised by her uncle.

Martian Child: A widowed, male author is deciding whether or not to adopt a young boy who claims he’s from Mars.

Gracie’s Choice: Gracie Thompson decides that despite her mother’s poor decisions, Gracie is going to get an education and raise her brothers and sisters.

The Kid With a Bike: Cyril, an abandoned boy, find solace in a hairdresser who takes him in and bike riding.

Room For One More: First released in 1952, this is the story of a couple who chooses to add more children to their family by adopting.

The Lost and Found Family: Ester Hobbes, a recently widowed woman, surprisingly connects with the foster children who reside in a home Hobbes has inherited.

December Boys: Maps, Spit, Spark and Misty, four boys living in an orphanage together, are confronted with a competition: who will be adopted and who will remain in the orphanage?