The 20 Best Documentaries About Adoption

Jul 27, 2023 | Best Of, Culture

Adoption is a beautiful way for people to expand their families and provide love and security to children in need. However, there are still many aspects of adoption that remain unknown or misunderstood by the public. To help shed light on this topic, here are six documentaries that explore the complexities of adoption from different angles. From stories about private adoptions between relatives to those involving state agencies, these films offer an intimate look at what it means to be adopted and how adoption affects everyone involved. Whether you’re considering adopting yourself or simply curious about the process, these documentaries can provide valuable insight into what it really takes to become a family through adoption.


1. An Adoption Story (2016)

Join Amanda and Doug Hostetler on a heartfelt journey as they recount their story of divine guidance and the beautiful gift of adoption. Through honest and vulnerable storytelling, this documentary captures the essence of their experience with faith, love, and family.






2. Dark Matter of Love (2012)

Growing up is a journey that is shaped by the experiences and relationships we have with those around us. In particular, the love and support of our parents can deeply impact our psychological development. This documentary delves into this concept through the lens of the Diaz family, who have made the brave decision to adopt three orphans from Russia.





3. Approved for Adoption (2021)

This exceptional animated film delves into the fascinating life of Jung Henin, a Korean child adopted by a Western family in the aftermath of the Korean War. Through a unique blend of personal animation, home videos, and historical footage, the filmmaker shares his unconventional journey from Korea to his new home.






4. Kids’ Rights: The Business of Adoption (2013)

The biological clock is ticking and the pressure to have a child is mounting for this young couple. But after witnessing Sir Elton John and David Furnish’s struggles with adoption, they begin to question if they are truly ready for parenthood.






5. West by Orphan Train (2014)

In the not-so-distant past, a dark chapter of American history unfolded as thousands of children were sent on trains to unknown destinations in the west. These young souls, once living in orphanages along the East Coast, were presented like commodities for anyone interested in taking them in. This heart-wrenching practice spanned from 1854 to 1929 and left a lasting mark on the lives of these innocent children. As we look back on this time, it is hard to comprehend how such a thing could have happened in our society.





6. To the Moon and Back (2018)

In the heart of Moscow, a lawyer is murdered in cold blood. In America, a father makes a grave mistake that leads to unimaginable consequences. And in between these two events lies an intricate web of deceit, corruption and power. This is not just another documentary – this is a chilling expose that uncovers the sinister link between these seemingly unrelated incidents.







The 14 Best Free Documentaries About Adoption


1. Teen Adoption Film: Take A Chance On Me

When Darien was just a young teen, he had experienced two failed adoptions and ended up in juvenile detention where his prospects of finding a family seemed grim. But then one day, hope shone through as an eager couple offered him the chance to be part of their family. Would Darien take this opportunity or stay on his own? This is the story of Take A Chance On Me – a documentary that follows Darien’s journey from foster care to adoption and ultimately becoming part of a loving family.


2. Children of the System

The foster care system in Los Angeles County, the largest of its kind in America, bears a heavy burden. With an increasing number of children being removed from their families, one must ask what happens to these kids and how parents attempt to reunite them with their loved ones. In this episode of her documentary series Children of the System, Lisa Ling dives deep into the workings of this complex social system and reveals its capacity for handling such a large amount of cases.


3. Finding Banni: The boy my family tried to adopt but were blocked

My family’s journey to adopt a boy, whom we would later call Banni, was an experience like no other. In this documentary about our adoption story, I’ll be discussing the differences between “adoption rights” and “rights to family,” my own thoughts on adoption, and how things eventually turned out for us. You’ll gain insight into the struggles of searching for a child to bring home, as well as what it means to become part of a new family. Join me in exploring the emotional roller coaster ride that is finding Banni!


4. 15,000 Kids and Counting: The Search

Every 20 minutes a child is taken into care in the UK, and last year alone over 15,000 children were waiting to be adopted. This documentary series follows the entire adoption process from start to finish, giving viewers an unprecedented level of access into heart-wrenching decisions made by both birth parents fighting for their parental rights and social workers desperately trying to find homes for these vulnerable kids.


5. The Adoption Picnic: Kids on Display

Every year in South Mississippi, an adoption picnic is held that allows cameras inside to capture the stories of those seeking a family. “Lacy,” one of many orphans looking for love and acceptance, stands out with her shirt – she knows this could be her last chance. Sylvia Sessions, the local adoption specialist who created this unique event, sees first-hand how powerful it can be as emotions run high among participants. Our documentary follows every moment from start to finish as we explore what society can do about these heartbreaking situations.


6. Confronting the painful secrets of international adoption: Sri Lanka to Norway

Priyangika’s journey of identity has been a difficult one. Adopted from Sri Lanka to Norway at just seven weeks old, she always felt disconnected from her biological family and homeland. So when the opportunity arose to visit Sri Lanka and uncover the secrets of her past, Priyangika was determined to take it – even though she knew it would be painful. What she found on her journey was not what she expected: an in-depth exploration into the complexities of international adoption processes that had left so many families brokenhearted. Through this experience, Priyangika comes to understand more about herself, as well as how we can work towards finding greater peace for those affected by adoption around the world.


7. Helping Couples Adopt Via The Adoption Picnic

Adoption is a complex process that can be difficult for both adults and children. But this summer in Mississippi, something magical happened: an adoption picnic! This was a chance for foster kids aged between 3 and 17 to finally meet their potential new families. It’s stories like these that Absolute Documentaries strives to share with its viewers; we bring you the best of entertaining and fascinating documentaries about true crime, world events, family dynamics, science, psychology – whatever it may be – every week. So come join us as we explore the heartwarming journey of those involved in this amazing adoption picnic!


8. Adoptee Reunites with Biological Family After 30 Years

After 30 years of separation, Emilio is finally ready to embark on a journey that will reunite him with his biological family. With the help of social authorities and clues from his dossier, he sets out for the countryside north of Bogota with his adoptive father Bengt in search for answers. But what awaits them at their destination? Will they be able to find Emilio’s long-lost relatives? Join us as we follow Emilio’s story and discover what happens when two families are reunited after three decades apart.


9. New Docuseries Unravels Bizarre Mystery Of Adopted Ukrainian Natalia Grace

A strange and mysterious tale of adoption has resurfaced and is now the focus of an upcoming docuseries. It tells the story of a Ukrainian girl, Natalia Grace, who was adopted more than 10 years ago but allegedly tried to blend in with her new family by acting like a young child and even attempted murder. This peculiar case will be explored in depth as viewers get to know the full details behind this extraordinary story.


10. Abandoned in Guatemala: The Failure of International Adoption Policies

It’s a heartbreaking reality that, each year, thousands of children are abandoned in Guatemala with little hope for the future. But what if there was an alternative? International adoption policies could be the answer; offering these vulnerable children a chance to find loving homes and build better lives. Unfortunately however, such policies have failed to deliver on their promise – leaving thousands of kids facing an uncertain future. It is this fundamental failure which we must now address: giving these kids access to brighter futures through safe and secure adoptions.


11. 4 Months Ago I Found Out I Was Adopted

For many people, family is a cornerstone of identity. It’s where we come from and who we are. But what happens when the answers to those questions become clouded? That’s exactly what happened to me four months ago when I found out that I was adopted.


12. A Documentary about Adoption

Adoption and foster care are often seen from the perspective of parents, but rarely do we hear about how it affects the children. This documentary seeks to bring light to this issue by exploring the experiences of adoption and care through interviews with children, psychologists, NSPCC workers and foster carers. By providing an in-depth look into these stories, we hope to promote understanding towards adoption and its long-term benefits for a child’s wellbeing.


13. Separated From Birth: The Reunion

Three siblings, separated from each other at birth and adopted into different families across North America, finally had the chance to reunite in this touching documentary. Removed during the notorious Sixties Scoop from their Dene mother when they were just infants, these four individuals embarked on a journey of discovery as they got to know one another for the first time. Separated From Birth: The Reunion is an emotional feature-length film that follows their story as it unfolds.

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B