Press Release


Media Advisory: For Immediate Release


NEW YORK, May 28, 2009 – The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute – in concert with child welfare organizations and families across the country – strongly urges the producers and distributors of the new movie “Orphan” to replace the advertising trailer for the film and to take additional steps to minimize the prospect of its promoting negative perceptions about children who need families.

“Orphan” is not scheduled for release until July, but its marketing has already raised deep concerns because it is premised on the notion that an older adopted child is profoundly troubled (in this case, perhaps deranged and homicidal); reinforces popular misconceptions (for instance, that there are still orphanages in the U.S.); and fuels corrosive views about the families formed with such children (“It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own,” says the adoptee in the film).

Organizations dealing with adoption, foster care and orphans – along with parent and family groups and individuals around the country – are criticizing the film and its trailer as offensive and potentially undermining to children in need of families. They are speaking out in blogs and listserves, in phone calls and letters to movie executives, and in email blasts to colleagues, friends and fellow parents.

“It has been a long time since a movie caused this much angst and worry in the adoption, foster care and orphan care communities, even before its release,” said Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. “And I think their concerns are well-founded.”

Pertman suggested that, “at a minimum, the current trailer could be replaced so that the fallacies it contains aren’t transmitted even to people who choose not to see the movie.” He added that the Adoption Institute and other organizations would be happy to meet with executives connected with the film to discuss what additional steps could be taken – such as producing educational materials spelling out the realities of children who need families – to counter any fears or negative perceptions that might be engendered by “Orphan” or its marketing.

Among the organizations speaking out about the movie are Voice for Adoption, which is a coalition of state and national groups including the Child Welfare League of America, the North American Council on Adoptable Children, Casey Family Services, Children Awaiting Parents, Adopt America Network, Kinship Center, National Adoption Center, New York Council on Adoptable Children, Spaulding for Children-Michigan. In addition family and parent groups include state chapters of Families with Children from China, Stars of David and Foster Club, among others.

The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute is the pre-eminent research, policy and education organization in its field. To schedule an interview about “Orphans” or to learn more about the Adoption Institute and its work, please contact April Dinwoodie at or 212-925-4089. The Institute’s award-winning website is