Movies are far more than mere entertainment. For many people, they reflect important aspects of their life. Through movies, we learn about different experiences and even identify with people living vastly different lives than our own.

So, what do the movies say about adoption? The team at Texas Adoption Center (TAC) has listed some of our favorite inspiring movies about adoption below.

Great Movies About Adoption

The Blind Side

Summary: The Blind Side is a true story about an aloof child, Michael, who is adopted by a wealthy local family, the Tuohy’s. Through the progression of the movie, Michael learns about family and confronts past issues.

Overall theme: The overall theme of the movie stresses strong family values. Initially, the movie highlights the family’s flaws. However, the Tuohy’s come together to welcome Michael and help him transition into his new life, and deal with issues in his previous life. As a result, the family grows healthier and stronger.

Lilo and Stitch

Summary: Lilo and Stitch is a well-loved movie for audiences of all ages. The movie is a feel-good coming-of-age film that tells the story of Lilom who is adopted by her older sister Nani. With her adoptive guardian and alien friend Stitch, Lilo navigates various struggles that ultimately make her a stronger person.

Overall Theme: The popular theme in this movie is the importance of family. As stated by Lilo, “Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.”


Summary: Disney’s Tarzan is a movie about a boy, the titular Tarzan, who is adopted and raised by an ape named Kala. This animated film follows Tarzan as he explores the world around him. Through his exploration, he learns valuable life lessons from his adoptive ape family.

Overall Theme: The overall theme of Tarzan is diversity and the concept of strength in numbers. The movie celebrates the idea of uniting two different cultures and worlds into one strong family unit.

Secondhand Lions

Summary: Secondhand Lions features the story of Walter, a boy who is raised by great-uncles, and his misadventures with his uncles. The adoption isn’t explicit, but it’s still a film that many birth mothers will find heartwarming.

Overall Theme: This coming-of-age film emphasizes that children need loving and caring guardians—no matter whether the guardians are the birth parents, adoptive families, or otherwise.

Annie (2014)

Summary: The 2014 rendition of Annie features orphan Annie finally finding her forever family with business tycoon and New York City mayoral candidate Will Stacks.

Overall Theme: While her initial placement isn’t an easy one, Annie—both the character and the film itself—exemplifies how rewarding adoption can be. Especially when the placement is right, and the process completed.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Summary: When four unusual turtles find themselves in need of a family, rat Splinter answers the call greatly.

Overall Theme: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a fantastic example of strong family ties and an adoptive parent who goes the distance.

Paper Dream

Summary: Paper Dream tells the story of Christy, who has longed to be a mother for years. She and her family turn to adoption and can build their “complete” family as a result.

Overall Theme: Paper Dreams is a Christian film that represents the adoptive family’s perspective.


Summary: Juno tells the tale of a teenager with an accidental pregnancy who finds that placing her baby for adoption is a rewarding experience on many different levels.

Overall Theme: The overall theme of Juno reaffirms the idea that life may take unexpected turns; however, it doesn’t make the journey any less perfect.

Superman: The Movie

Summary: Superman’s story is an incredibly empowering one for adoptees. Superman: The Movie follows the story of Superman as his father places him for adoption to ensure he has the best life possible.

Overall Theme: The theme of this movie is one that many birth mothers may identify with—the desire to give their child the best opportunity for a prosperous life. A difficult decision that Superman’s father ultimately made that benefited Metropolis.

Kung Fu Panda 2

Summary: Adopted by a goose named Mr. Ping, Po, a panda, explores his adoption story and his story of origin in Kung Fu Panda 2.

Overall Theme: Kung Fu Panda 2 is perfect for viewers of all ages. This comedy presents a positive perspective on adoption and unified families that is a great fit for viewers of all ages.

Adoption Movies on Netflix

Life As We Know It

Summary: This comical movie about adoption is a bit unconventional. Holly and Eric are thrown together by unexpected circumstances. Through the movie, they navigate the triumphs and challenges of raising a one-year-old girl, Sophie.

Overall Theme: Life As We Know It displays how a family is formed and does not shy away from showing the bumps along the road. It brings home the message that life does not always go according to plan, but love keeps us moving forward.

Stuart Little

Summary: Some adoption movies are based on books. This is the case for Stuart Little, a film about a family that visits an orphanage and adopts a mouse named Stuart. The movie portrays the growing relationship between Stuart and his new brother George and his parents.

Overall Theme: Though this adoption movie is silly and entertaining, it addresses some deep truths about what it means for an adopted child to be accepted by a new family. It also addresses the curiosity many adopted children have about birth parents.

We Are Family

Summary: We Are Family made it onto our list of adoption movies on Netflix although it’s not technically about adoption. That’s because the film does focus on blended families and how the sometimes chaotic dynamic influences the children involved. It is told from the children’s perspective as they navigate life with different parents and new siblings.

Overall Theme: The message that families can look different and bond despite challenging relationships is a positive tone in this movie.

Private Life

Summary: Many adoption movies focus on the child and the new family. Private Life tells the story of Richard and Rachel, a couple struggling with infertility. The plot follows the couple’s emotional journey through various avenues, from fertility treatments to egg donation to adoption.

Overall Theme: Out of the adoption movies on Netflix, this one is best reserved for adults. The film gets real about the tension and sadness that couples facing infertility face. It also offers a message of hope that things will turn out well in the end.

Learn About Real-World Adoption and the Joy it Brings

We hope you sit back and enjoy some adoption movies from the list above. For birth mothers considering placing their baby for adoption, it can be difficult to find people who understand their concerns and struggles. These movies about adoption, both the silly ones and the more serious, show the great joy that adoption brings to birth parents, adoptive families, and children.

The adoption process looks different for each birth mother and family involved. From selecting the type of adoption to crafting the ideal adoption plan, there is help available to birth moms every step of the way. If you have questions about the adoption process, contact the specialists at Texas Adoption Center today.

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