Adoption at the Movies: A Year of Adoption Friendly Movie Nights to Get Your Family Talking

By Addison Cooper, LCSW adoptionatthemoviesJessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017, ISBN: 978-1-785927096, 288 pages, $16.95 paperback Movies are one of America’s greatest past times, but not all movies are appropriate for certain audiences. Specifically, movies can impact foster and adoptive families positively or negatively depending on the content, which can trigger those who have experienced early childhood trauma, abuse and neglect. A new book, “Adoption at the Movies” is helping families identify various films and their potential impact on viewers. Written by social worker Addison Cooper, the book shares how parents can use film to talk about adoption and foster care with their children. Early in the book Cooper identifies two hidden enemies of adoption — silence and secrecy — and explains how to use films to break through those barriers to build stronger relationships with foster and adopted children. From there, Cooper reviews popular films from Disney’s “Frozen” and “The Jungle Book” to other popular films like “Despicable Me” and “Turbo.” He also includes a chapter on movies to watch with your teens and another on movies for parents. With each film he provides a synopsis, highlights the adoption connection and includes strong points, challenges and recommendations. This makes it easy for families to identify issues in the film that might serve as triggers for the child or offer a window of opportunity into deeper discussion. “Adoption at the Movies” is a user-friendly tool for families to use before viewing a film that they may be concerned about how it may impact their child. It’s also a wonderful resource for movies that might offer important talking points for families to discuss. The nice part about the book is that Cooper gives insight into how to use the movies as a tool as well. With challenges, strengths and recommendations included for every film, he makes it easy for parents to get to the heart of the movies and how they can use them as conversation starters to better understand the children in their homes or just to be aware of triggers. Not only do I recommend the book, but I also believe every foster and adoptive parent should check out Cooper’s blog where he keeps up with the latest films. The really great part about Cooper’s perspective is that he’s an avid moviegoer and a full-time social worker who understands children who have come to their families through foster care and adoption. So, be sure to check out the book and the blog. — Reviewed by Kim Phagan-Hansel

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