Adoption advocacy groups are criticizing the soon-to-be-release horror movie "Orphan" for fueling harmful myths that could turn people away from the idea of adoption.
A coalition of more than 50 orphan advocate and adoption organizations recently launched a national grassroots campaign centered around the Web site www.OrphansDeserveBetter.org. Through the site, the coalition aims to educate, dispel adoption myths and prompt response to the needs of orphans.
"The movie 'Orphan' does no favors for the boys and girls who share its name," said Jedd Medefind, president of the Christian Alliance for Orphans and former acting director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives under President George W. Bush. "Organizations, advocates and ordinary citizens have every reason to raise a respectful but firm counter voice – orphans deserve better than the messages this film conveys."
Warner Bros.'s "Orphan" revolves around a couple who adopts a nine-year-old girl after the tragic loss of their unborn child. Strange and horrifying events begin to occur after the couple adopts Esther, who on the outside seems like an angelic little girl. The mother Kate tries to warn her husband John about Esther, but he does not believe her until it's possibly too late.
Movie reviews have describe "Orphan" as the "anti-adoption horror film of the year" that will be sure to "scare prospective parents from ever adopting."
Orphan advocates, in response, are speaking out against the movie to counter negative perceptions of orphans.
Statistics show, they say, that compared to other teens, adopted teens score lower on indicators of high-risk behaviors such as depression, alcohol use, vandalism and police trouble. Also, long-term outcomes for adopted children are positive and generally show little or no difference compared to non-adopted children.
"We want to counter the harmful messages in the movie Orphan," said Maridel Sandberg, who aids orphan care and adoption efforts as director of the MICAH Fund. "We want to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Most of all, we desire to wake people to the needs of orphans worldwide – and also to the great rewards found in reaching to them in love."
www.OrphansDeserveBetter.org allows individuals and families to share real-life stories, pictures, blogs and videos that give a realistic portrayal of adoption. Personal stories show that although adoption requires sacrifice, it ultimately brings joy to adoptive parents.
In addition to personal testimonies, the Web site also allows individuals to sign a letter to Warner Bros. urging that a portion of the profit from the movie be used to help orphans.