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#388. Adoption

The reasons for giving a child up for adoption are nearly as varied as wanting to adopt a child. While it shouldn’t necessarily be viewed as an economic “supply and demand” situation, there are often times where children could be better off in an adoption situation than staying with birth parents. These situations can bring about drama later in the child’s life when they learn they aren’t the biological progeny of their adoptive parents. Of course, most parents have the best of intentions for their adoptive children, but sometimes the battle between nature and nurture can prove to be a challenge for even the best-prepared parents. Needless to say, adoption is an option for those who find themselves with unexpected pregnancies and those who unexplainably cannot become pregnant. This week’s two films highlight adoption as part of their plot.

JunoJuno
Year: 2007
Rating: R
Length: 96 minutes / 1.6 hours

Teenagers rarely have the resources or maturity to raise a child, which is mostly why the idea of pregnant teenagers is generally frowned upon. There are generally three options for these unexpected children: abort them, keep them, or give them up for adoption. That’s not to say teenage pregnancies are the main source for adoptions, as unsafe family conditions or resource constraints could force a mother to give up their child for adoption. Whatever the case, the determination of what to do with these children is often influenced heavily by the mother’s family. If there’s a strong support network for the mother, she might choose to keep the child, despite the challenges. If the family is more judgmental, then the mother might opt for an abortion to keep things simple. At the end of the day, even if a child is being adopted by a different family, a mother still has to give birth to the child.

When Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) learns she is pregnant, she immediately goes out to get an abortion. Her life as a teenager will have to change drastically if she decides to keep this child, but once she’s in the abortion clinic, she loses her nerve and leaves. At this point, her only option is to put the child up for adoption. Her parents are surprised but supportive of her decision. Opting for a closed adoption, Juno meets with Mark Loring (Jason Bateman) and Vanessa Loring (Jennifer Garner), who have agreed to adopt the child. Juno and Mark hit it off, but after Mark decides to leave Vanessa, Juno begins to re-think the adoption. At the same time, she also realizes she loves the boy who got her pregnant and wonders if they could make a relationship/baby work. After leaving a note on the Loring’s door, Juno goes into labor shortly after and gives birth to a boy.

The Odd Life of Timothy GreenThe Odd Life of Timothy Green
Year: 2012
Rating: PG
Length: 105 minutes / 1.75 hours

Reproduction is a messy and complicated process. While it almost seems simple for some couples to get pregnant, without even trying, others spend years trying to achieve the same result. So many factors can lead to a couple being unable to conceive. Even if the medical community is becoming better equipped to handle these limitations or restrictions, these procedures can be extremely costly. Unfortunately, due to the bureaucracy involved with the adoption process, it’s not much less expensive or emotionally-draining than trying to conceive via alternative methods. Even though becoming foster parents can be an easier and less-expensive alternative, there are sometimes challenges involved with these children as well since some of the “nature” has already been set in stone. In any case, adoptive parents should expect just as many challenges with a new child as they would if they had birthed the child themselves.

Jim Green (Joel Edgerton) and Cindy Green (Jennifer Garner) are heartbroken when they learn they are medically unable to conceive a child. To keep Cindy from spiraling into depression, Jim encourages her to outline the ideal child she would want and bury the notes in the backyard. In a magical twist, shortly after a surprise thunderstorm, Timothy (CJ Adams), a 10-year-old boy, arrives at their house and claims to be their son. While this is strange by any means, Timothy also has leaves growing on his legs that cannot be removed. Despite challenges at school and in the town, Timothy has been living up to his parents’ hopes and dreams, but at the cost of the leaves on his legs. These leaves are a countdown to his eventual disappearance. Even though his time with them was short, the Greens have proven they are fit parents and can care for an adoptive child.

2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 adoptive aspirations

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