The holiday season is upon us. Now is the time for families to gather and celebrate. Many of us will be enjoying special Christmas movies to capture the magic this season.
Holidays can evoke feelings of nostalgia and family. For those touched by adoption, it can bring up many emotions—joy, peace, wonder, love, longing, and sometimes grief. Whether you are an expectant/birth mother, an adoptive or hopeful adoptive family, or you were adopted, you may feel a strong connection to adoption storylines. Perhaps you have a child at home and you want to normalize adoption conversations through a great holiday movie. Christmas movies about adoption are a perfect way to capture these conversations during this time of year.
There are a few holiday movies about adoption that can be viewed right now. Read on, as we highlight a few of our favorites to add to your watch list.
This beloved family favorite tells the story of Buddy the Elf, a human who was raised by elves. The tale is told by Papa Elf, who raises Buddy as he grows up. As Papa Elf explains, Buddy lived in an orphanage as a baby. One fateful Christmas, when Santa was delivering his toys to the orphans, Buddy crawled into Santa’s bag. Upon Santa’s return to the North Pole, as he and the elves were celebrating another successful Christmas, Buddy crawled out of the bag. Papa Elf decided to adopt Buddy, and he was raised as an elf.
Buddy was never told about his birth parents, and he was never told that he was adopted. After struggling to keep up with the fast toy-making pace of the other elves, and being told he was “special,” Papa Elf finally told him the truth. He explained that his mother had died during childbirth, and that his birth father lived in New York. Then Santa broke the worst news of all: His birth dad was on the naughty list!
Buddy goes on a journey to find his biological father. He passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane Forest, past the sea of swirly twirly gumdrops, and then he walked through the Lincoln Tunnel.
“Elf” is a fun, lighthearted Christmas movie about adoption. While the premise that a human would be raised in the North Pole is a bit far-fetched, it is an easy way to start conversations about the importance of open adoption and being honest with your child about his or her adoption story. This movie also sheds light on the idea that family is what you make it. After Buddy finds his birth father and learns about life with the humans, he finds himself on a mission to help save Santa’s sleigh. During the mission, St. Nick helps him realize that even though he was born a human, he is “more elf” than anyone else. This helps Buddy learn that it is okay to be who he is and that he now has two families (and one he creates for himself!) to love.
The film also touches upon the Search and Reunion process for adoptees. In real life, this is something that many adoptees do when they are trying to reconnect with their birth families. Adoptees can use the adoption agency with whom their birth parents used for the adoption.
- The Family Stone
On a more serious note, “The Family Stone” is a hit holiday movie that requires tissues at every viewing.
Everett Stone – one of five adult children – brings his girlfriend, Meredith, home to meet the family for Christmas. Nervous and desperate to make a good first impression, Meredith fails to make a positive mark on the family.
One night, around the family table, the uncomfortable vibe in the room comes to a head, when Meredith asks Everett’s brother, Thad, about his forthcoming adoption with boyfriend, Patrick. She asks whether they believe in “nature vs. nurture” in regard to raising a child in a gay household. Questioning herself, Meredith suggests theories that homosexuality may be influenced by one’s home environment. The family works to lighten the conversation and joke that the matriarch, Sybil, had hoped that all three of her sons would grow up to be gay. Meredith questions this statement, suggesting that no parent would really “want that” for their child. Her comments offend Thad and Patrick, and enrage Sybil and family patriarch, Kelly. Sybil and Kelly shout at Meredith, and she runs off from the table feeling awful.
There are many important lessons within this scene. Once Meredith leaves the room, Sybil reminds her son, Thad, how deeply and completely she loves him. Sybil and Kelly are proud of their son. They support his same-sex relationship and are happy to see their child moving toward parenthood and toward the loving choice of adoption.
Meredith did not mean to offend or hurt anyone in the family. She was simply uneducated. She did not understand why her comments were hurtful and how off-base she was in sharing them. This is an important lesson in “listen and learn” when it comes to supporting LGBTQ+ families.
Before the film ends, Thad and Patrick return to Kelly’s house with their adopted child in tow. At the uncomfortable dinner scene, Thad and Patrick are asked whether they have a preference of the race of the child – since they are an interracial couple. They simply answer that they do not care one way or the other. They will love the child no matter the skin color. When the couple arrives with their baby, we see that he is black. This is a great example of a happy and loving transracial adoptive family.
- The Christmas House
What would Christmas be without Hallmark holiday movies? The network is known for its heartfelt, family-focused Christmas films. One of their recent holiday movies also included an LGTBQ+ adoption storyline.
Working through some difficult decisions, the Mitchells – Phylis and Bill – summon their two adult sons home for the holidays. One of the sons, Brandon, makes the trip over with his husband, Jake. The pair are anxiously awaiting a call about the adoption of their first child.
Phylis and Bill enlist the help of their kids in creating the Christmas house – a longstanding tradition – one final time. This means they will turn their entire home into a winter wonderland.
Brandon and Jake are keeping their planned adoption a secret. They do not want to get their family’s hopes up in case the adoption falls through. This is a common concern among hopeful adoptive parents. Keeping the impending adoption under wraps often feels like the right decision for families looking to adopt, because there are so many unknowns. An expectant/birth mother may change her mind before signing consent forms. It is a major, life-changing event that comes with risks, like anything else, but it is well worth it in the end.
Sharing the news with loved ones is a deeply personal decision. A dedicated adoption agency, like Adoptions With Love, can offer support during the waiting period and will not stop working until you are parent(s).
After years of trying to conceive a baby on their own, Zooey and Alec begin to explore adoption. They are longing to grow their family and know that they could offer a child a good home filled with all the love he/she needs. When they visit a foster care home, they notice a little boy dressed up in a suit. Days later, he miraculously shows up at their doorstep. They decide to foster him, and quickly begin a miraculous journey that showcases the joys and experiences of a family life.
This adoption storyline speaks to the struggle of infertility that many families experience each year. It also highlights the benefits of adoption, when there are so many incredible children that are in need of loving homes.
This film can be viewed on Fox’s free streaming service, Tubi.
- Christmas Child
Born on Christmas Eve, Jack Davenport is a journalist, living in Chicago. He has hit a low point in his life. About to turn 40, he and his wife seem to be headed for a divorce. His career is also spiraling. When he is required to follow a story in Texas, he is forced to leave his wife and her family at home, over the holidays.
Jack was adopted at birth but has no information about his birth parents. His only known relative, his adoptive father, died almost a year ago. When he goes into a safe deposit box, he finds what he believes to be a clue to his birth story. It is an old black-and-white photograph of a church in Clearwater, Texas. Jack decides to stop there first before pursuing his story in Dallas.
This story is another heart-felt journey of understanding one’s roots and reconnecting with one’s birth family. It can serve as a cautionary tale, and a reminder of the importance of open conversations about adoption.
“Christmas Child” also offers an example of the benefits of open adoption. With open adoption, birth and adoptive families stay connected in some capacity – whether it is over email, snail mail, texts, or phone calls. Most children report having positive feelings about their open adoption. They understand from an early age that adoption is a loving, positive choice, and they are blessed to be loved by two families instead of one.
This film may be viewed on Tubi or with a premium subscription to Amazon Prime Video.
Celebrate the Season with Loved Ones
As you and your loved ones gather around the television this holiday season, give one (or all!) of these films a try. These holiday movies about adoption can evoke many emotions, especially at this special time of year. They can also offer important lessons in the importance of open adoption, open conversations, and connection with family – no matter if that family is formed by DNA or through adoption. All families are built on love.
If you would like to learn more about adoption, contact Adoptions With Love. Call us any time of day, any day of the week at 800-722-7731, text us confidentially at 617-777-0072, or contact us online. Happy Holidays!