Monday, November 12, 2012

NaBloPoMo Day 8: Adoption in Fiction (or...Why Star Wars is the Ultimate Adoptee Story)

I really like the prayer they use in AA about accepting the things you cannot change, having the courage to change the things you can, and having the wisdom to know the difference. I quickly tire of people who complain just to complain, but aren't willing to try to actually change the situation. In my opinion, you don't have the right to complain unless you've first tried to change. If you made a concerted effort and things can't be changed, then you can complain. For a little while. Then, accept it and attack from a different direction.

I think a good example of stories that accept the "just what it is" of adoption are the stories where rather than relinquishing of the child, the parents died. The first that comes to mind is Spiderman. He's raised by his aunt and uncle. He knows they're not his parents but it doesn't mean they love him any less. Everyone recognizes his loss. Dead parents make it easier to see the adoptee in their true situation - the tragedy of losing your parents and being raised by others.

Then there's Superman. Sure, his parents relinquished him, but that was to save him from an  exploding planet. AND they provided a handy-dandy video with information about his roots that he could access when he was of age by going to his fortress of solitude, so that's probably the most like a real adoption / reunion story (okay, except maybe for the part about flying and seeing through things and wearing a cape... actually, i do wear a cape on occassion), except that those of us in closed-adoption system never got that much information! Sure, you can get all the information about your original family if you're from outer-space, but if you're in the U.S., forget about it.

My favorite, though, is Luke in Star Wars. He was relinquished to his aunt and uncle. They raise him as best they can.
Luke thinks his parents are dead, but there's something that just drives him to search out who he is.

It turns out his dad is alive and kicking (and weilding a light saber). Ooops! Guess I should have said "Spoiler Alert!" on that one.

He needs to face the 'dark side' of adoption and relinquishment and not just be the good kid anymore. He needs to battle until he can accept who he is as a whole.

Hey, there's even Biological Attraction thing with his sister (oh, yeah, another spoiler). 

Why I think Star Wars and Superman (and maybe Spiderman) are the perfect adoption stories:
  • No one was trying to pretend the child was their own by birth or hiding the fact they were adopted
  • They accept that there is grief and loss for the child
  • The adopted parents all accepted that their children were different from themselves and tried to raise them to their best ability by acknowledging the differences
  • The adoptive parents tried to help them to adapt to the family and world they were being raised in, again acknowledging that it was not their native habitat but a different world entirely
  • Eventually, (well, at the threshold of adulthood - during the "coming of age") the adoptee had to go off on his own to explore his origins to gain acceptance of the whole of who he is. (okay, maybe not so much with Spidey. He may have learned that with great power comes great responsibility, but he's still not really willing to look into his dark past. We get it. You're not there yet. Though, I don't know who Venom is - maybe he has something to do with a dark past).
  • People don't think that the child is ungrateful or loves his adoptive parents any less just because he searches out his origins.
  • The adoptive parents' love is more apparent in their acceptance of the search.


  1. Cathy,

    I love this perspective! The Star Wars stories are so deeply ingrained, most don't even think about the adoption aspects ... Love it!


  2. WOW. I never connected these comic and movie stories to adoption. And I'm a big fan of Star Wars. Thanks very much for the article.


  3. As a first mother, I was deeply triggered by the relinquishment scene with Annekin's mother in Star Wars 1.