Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Disney Adoption Complex

We are Disney fans, generally. We really like Emperor's New Groove, Aladdin, Robin Hood, and dozens of other classics, including the new Pixar additions to the renowned Disney collection. However, Disney has typically, with a few exceptions, had a difficult time putting a positive spin on one area: adoption/non-biological families. I would like to submit the following pieces of evidence for your consideration:


It occurred to me this is what some of the world pictures when they think of non-biological families: evil stepmothers, stepsisters, evil adopted fathers, kidnappings, and wooden magical donkeys. Okay, that last one may be a bit of stretch, but it's still a negative feeling around non-biological children. Meet the Robinsons stands as one of Disney's only adoption stories that portrays the family as happy and welcoming towards the non-biological child.

What had me thinking about this odd vision of what adoption looks like to some people is a comment made about Nevada's starting quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, in an article commenting on his adoption. The reporter said "Though they often get puzzled stares and quizzical looks, nobody in the family thinks much about his place in it." I immediately thought "what did he expect? Colin to be sleeping in the attic, doing everyone's chores, and eating off special flatware for 'the adopted kid'?" Then it occurred to me that may be people do expect that behavior by families towards their non-biological children.  I don't blame you, I blame Disney.

I would like to clear up any misconceptions right now: adopted/step-children are not slaves or outcasts in their families! Nor are their biological families seen as neglectful or a shadowy group in the night who did not love their child enough to keep them. Adoption, in any form, is very different than Walt's original perceptions. Times have changed since 1937 including improvements in transportation, communication, and animation, so why not adoption? We all need to sluff off that old-school image of adoption and see the new look of non-biological families. Allow me to provide some new images for you to picture when you think of adoption:




 Happy National Adoption Month!! 

Allow no more the media to shape your vision of what a functional family looks like. They get so many other things wrong, why do we take their word on something so important as family?


SparklingStudent said...

This is a really good point, Rachey. It makes my little heart go pitter-patter when I hear about people taking a stance for kiddo issues :D
You. Rock!

Russ and Kylee said...

Rachel, you are awesome! I love the new images of adoption, especially all the FSA people. Adoption really does get a negative view sometimes when it really is the most amazing thing. It is all about love!

Chilly Beans said...

I get what you are saying, but I think I have to disagree with you on some points. Disney tells stories about good and bad adoption situations, but in the end everything always works out. Not only that, but the main characters seem to find ways to sort through their problems, and make their situations better. I think that's what the true message is, not that adoption is bad. And secondly, not everyone feels that way about adoption and adoption stories. I know I sure don't. Seeing, or hearing, stories that promote negative images about adoption just makes me want to adopt children in the first place so they can have a warm loving environment to live in and they can finally feel safe and feel like they are loved. I know that's what you and Nick can provide for a child, and I can't wait for you guys to find your forever family.

meghan said...

I think that many of the movies you showed were older disney films, or based on older stories. However, times are changing, and think society as a whole are beginning to see life in a different manner. Yes, we have Harry Potter that shows his adoptive family as abusive, but we also have Pete's Dragon (old movie too) that shows that family is who you make it. It takes time for a society to change the way it views a subject like adoption, but just like Disney is making less damsel in distress stories, and plot lines where the female can rescue herself, slowly we will see adoptive families for what they are, awesome families with way too much love. I think about you guys every time I see kids in foster care come in to my work. I always know that they could wind up with awesome adoptive parents.

Megan Marie said...

well put. you are amazing.

Dani and Dave said...

Enchanted addressed that issue being portrayed by Fairy Tales. And in the end, the family was very happy with the new step mom! :)

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