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Adoption at the Movies – Book Review


From the Cover of Adoption At The Movies by Addison Cooper:

“For the adoptive family that loves to watch movies, this is the ultimate collection. With a film for each week of the year, Addison Cooper has complied the best movies, old and new, for adoptive family-friendly viewing. Carefully selected, the movies included will help families comfortably talk about important adoption-related topics. Helping all members of the family explore both the pain and joy of adoption, they cover a range of issues such as identity, control, and reunification. With something for everyone – from kids, to teens, to grown-ups – this is a must-have for all adoptive families.”


5 hoots out of 5

Transfiguring Adoption awarded this book 5 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]

What Our Family Thought:

Adoption at the movies is a resource book that appears to be written for adoptive families although foster families can glean useful information from the book as certain trauma issues will pertain to both foster and adoptive children.

The author, Addison Cooper, is an licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) who is proven to be a professional in the adoption industry. His professional experience alone requires that one show the content in this book respect. The reader is not going to venture on reviews of movies from a guy who merely just likes to occupy movie theaters.

The first section of the book is half of the magic for this resource as Cooper takes the reader through the hardships and trials of communication within an adoptive family. It does more than present the issues that many parents find make it difficulty to speak about adoption with their children. The section goes a step further to observe the difficulties, the issues that arise from stopped lines of communication and presents solutions which naturally will include using the rest of the movies presented in the book as a tool.

The remainder of the book is laid out to give you a list of movies mostly categorized by age – however, there is a list in the back of the book with a more detailed age guide to the movies as well as a list of movies by topic.

The actual movie reviews are broken into quick and easy to digest chunks that will equip you for a the most enjoyable experience for family movie viewing. Each movie entry gives you the following:

  • The Movie Title
    Duh. Not much of a review without identifying the title
  • The Plot
    Get a quick synopsis of the movie
  • The Adoption Connection
    Naturally, this allows you, the caregiver, to see the value the movie has in creating an atmosphere where adoption issues can be discussed
  • Strong Points
  • Challenges
    This area is going to give caregivers knowledge on how the movie might cause trauma triggers in kiddos from traumatic pasts.
  • Recommendations
    This is where Cooper – the professional in the industry – is going to layout his recommendations for you about viewing this film. It’s like getting to sit in Cooper’s office for an appointment only with the book – you get to set the times for the appointment.
  • Questions for Discussion
    Transfiguring Adoption naturally loves this section given that we contend that media is an excellent way for you to begin conversations about issues with your child. This section takes the think work out of the equation for those of us that have a busy schedule or simply are not talented at thinking up questions for conversation. Cooper’s questions seem to be great for diving deeper into the issues presented by various movies.

Overall, this book appears to be an excellent tool for caregivers. The author presents his unique and professional tools to those who would take them and use them. This resource will be a great asset for you to turn your movie night into a dynamic conversation that will nurture growth in your foster or adoptive family.

Buy From Our Links and Support Transfiguring Adoption:

It’s Your Turn:

  1. What movies have impacted you or your family the most?
  2. Have you ever had times where movies reminded your kids of past trauma?
  3. What are movies you wish someone would create discussion guides for your family?


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Using Media to Bond with Your Kids – Discussion Panel


Talking with children from traumatic backgrounds can be difficult. What questions do you ask? What topics do you steer clear of? How do you get them to open up?!
Join us for this Discussion Panel of experts as we talk about how books, movies and songs can effectively be used to help your child open up.

Addison Cooper, Founder of Adoption at the Movies
Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption and Me
Margie Fink, Co-Founder of Transfiguring Adoption


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8 Great Things About Play by Addison Cooper


Guest Blog By Addison Cooper
Founder of Adoption At The Movies

Transfiguring Adoption is focusing on the importance of play in the lives of foster and adoptive families. Being a guy that mostly writes about how families can find therapeutic value in watching movies together, that sounds great to me. Nothing says that valuable and therapeutic activities have to feel clinical. In fact, some of the best things we can do – or that we can let our kids do – aren’t clinical at all. In fact, the fact that play isn’t clinical, but that it’s just something that happens naturally, is one of the reasons why it’s so important. Kids can learn, heal, grow, process, and develop through play. When kids have been through traumatic events they might not find it as easy to play and so they might need some guided help to play well – but play itself is still important.

Here are eight great things about play – I’m sure you can come up with many, many more – and please leave the ones you do come up with in the comments below!




8 Great Things About Play

  1. Play is natural
    If you can help your kids learn or re-learn how to play freely, you’re helping them regain a normal function of childhood!
  2. Play is processing
    With intentional adult guidance, kids can explore how they would react in different situations, and can even find ways to have “victories” in play in situations that didn’t go so well the first time around.
  3. Play is social
    Through play, kids are able to make and develop friendships; we learn how to interact with people and how to maintain relationships with our friends by playing together, enjoying each other’s company, and resolving disputes that come up. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs has esteem and self-esteem as high-level needs, and play can help kids achieve them!
  4. Play is imaginative
    By playing, kids can pretend themselves into all sorts of fanciful situations. Snoopy was Charlie Brown’s pet – but he’s also lived as a World War I Flying Ace, a hockey pro, and Joe Cool; play lets kids explore different identities.
  5. Play is exercise
    Do you find that you sleep better and feel better if you’ve exercised?
  6. Play is stress relief
    Sometimes you just need a break after a stressful day. Kids do, too, and play is a great way for that to happen!
  7. Play creates memories
    Some of the games you invent with and for your kids could be some of the happiest memories they hold onto into adulthood and replicate with their own kids!
  8. Play is fun
    We eat ice cream not because we need to, but because it makes us happy. Play is ice cream without the calories.
addison-cooper-headshot-picAbout Addison Cooper: Cooper, MSW, LCSW is a
Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Missouri and
California. Addison is a clinical supervisor in
the field of foster care and adoption. He has
published 20 articles and chapters in magazines
such as Adoptive Families, Foster Focus,
Adoption Today, and MORE. Addison is also the
founder and creator of Adoption At The Movies,
a website that reviews current movies in order to let foster and
adoptive families know the potential benefits/harms that a movie will
provide them. Cooper currently lives in Pasadena, CA with his wife.