Great Movie... Despicable Me(ssage)

Is it possible to enjoy a movie and have a strong objection to it at the same time?  This past Thursday afternoon,  while viewing 'Despicable Me' with my sons, I learned that the answer is yes.  The movie was clever, funny and original.  We laughed out loud, a lot.  

I will admit that when it comes to adoption, I am extra sensitive.  I am an adopted person and an adoptive mother.  My sons were 'older children' when we adopted them and they lived in an orphanage.  I have no idea how the adoption story line of 'Despicable Me' would have affected me if I were not....me.   But I am, so I am compelled  to share my concerns. 


 Not only did I worry about how this movie would make my boys feel, I worried about how it would affect how their friends view adoption.  For many of their peers, Mikias and Jemberu are the only children they know who were adopted.  I hope that parents will discuss the things about the movie that were silly and funny but not really what adoption is like.

Things that I wanted to make clear to my sons (and anyone else who would listen) include the following:

-In our country we do not have orphanages.  Children who are orphans or have parents who cannot care for them are usually cared for by other family members or a foster family.

-Children would never be forced to sell cookies in order to earn their keep.  When Margo, Edith and Agnes were knocking on doors saying 'We are orphans would you like to buy cookies?'.  I heard a mom in the audience say 'Awwww' like it was the cutest thing ever (they were adorable) but it made me cringe and smack myself on the forehead (as I am prone to do when horrified).

-Gru (the evil villain who adopted the girls) leaving food and water for his new 'daughters' in dog dishes... funny and wrong.

-People  cannot adopt on a whim, even if it is to carry out their evil plan to steal the moon.  Background checks such as home studies help to insure that children are placed in a caring and safe environment.

-Adopted children cannot be returned.  (Yes, there was the mother who sent back her Russian adopted son, but she created an international adoption crisis by doing so.)  It is NOT normal or common or okay.  In rare instances an adoption is disrupted, just as in  rare circumstances biological parents might surrender their parental rights. Adopted children are NOT optional family members.  For me, the worst moment  in the movie was when the girls were returned to Miss Hattie's Home for Girls and punished in the 'box of shame' (also funny and wrong) as if they were to blame for being returned.

-IF a child was returned....the returning 'parent' would not be able to change his mind and get the children back. Ever.

Of course in the end, love conquered all.  The villain was changed and redeemed by the love of the three girls. A family was formed where there once was none, which is the real and true message about adoption.