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Friday, July 24, 2009

Orphans Deserve Better

I have wanted to post on this topic before now, but never could quite direct my disgust into appropriate words in order to do so. It wasn't until reading on someone's Facebook status tonight that they were going to actually see this movie that the proverbial straw broke the camel's back.

Orphans deserve better.

According to God Himself, they deserve to be defended not offended (Isa 1:17; Ps 82:3.) The movie Orphan by Warner Bros., which I have not seen nor will I ever, has as its premise exactly the opposite. Sadly, thousands of people will sit in a crowded movie theater for an adrenaline rush of fear and horror without ever considering the effect that this movie will consciously and subconsciously have upon orphans and their real or potential adoptive families.

Another adoptive mom wrote about the subject of this movie here. I loved the title of her post, "Why I Want to Kick Hollywood in the Face," and wholeheartedly agree. The Christian Alliance for Orphans created a website (from which this post is titled) to counter the movie Orphan, and to take "the side of those who cannot speak for themselves." I encourage you to visit it.

Tonight I visited the Plugged In website, an invaluable tool provided by Focus on the Family for Christian families who want to guard their hearts as they choose which movies to watch or not to watch. You can read their concluding statements about the movie below. Please, spread the word. If you have a blog or a Facebook account, speak up for those who will be wrongly damaged by the message of this film. Because orphans do deserve better.

From Children of the Corn to The Omen, wicked, possessed or deranged kids are common in horror movies. In fact, they're downright trite these days. So an otherwise obscure thriller like this one should come and go without much notice. Except, in this case, the important subject of adoption is the controversial hinge on which the narrative pivots.

Early promotional spots featured Esther saying, "It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own." But as outrage from virtually every adoption agency in America has mounted, Warner Bros. backed off to a more generic tagline: "There's something wrong with Esther."

That, however, hasn't kept adoption advocates from continuing to voice deep concern about the film's potentially negative influence. Orphans Deserve Better says, "However farfetched some stories are, they can still subtly shape our values and perceptions." Kelly Rosati, senior director for Focus on the Family's orphan care initiative, adds, "Orphan reinforces false and negative stereotypes about orphan children and adoption. With more than 127,000 kids in U.S. foster care awaiting adoption, many of whom have endured all-too-real abuse and neglect, the last thing they need is to be the subject of a film that uses violence for entertainment value."

Likewise, a coalition of 11 other adoption and foster care groups echoed similar concerns in a letter to Warner Bros. CEO Barry Meyer. "We are concerned that ... this film will have the unintended effect of skewing public opinion against children awaiting families in both the United States and abroad," it read, while noting that the film may exacerbate "unconscious fears of potential foster and adoptive families that orphaned children are psychotic and unable to heal from the wounds of abuse, neglect and abandonment."

Indeed it may. What else is supposed to go through your mind when a 9-year-old orphan puts a revolver to a preschooler's head? Or a nun gets bludgeoned to death with a hammer? Or a drunk father is crudely propositioned by his adoptive daughter?

Orphans everywhere deserve much better than what this messed-up movie gives them.


Amanda said...

I posted this to my FB, Stephanie. I've been thinking the same, but didn't know how to say it. Thanks. Amanda E.

Vashti said...

I blogged about this a few weeks ago when i heard about the movie! DISGUSTING! Makes me sick. Hollywood has so much to answer for.