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AF Picks: Summer Movie Roundup

These four new-to-DVD releases are perfect for family movie nights this summer. Best of all, the storylines—about birthparents, diversity, and the power of family—are sure to spark adoption talks with your kids long after the credits have rolled. (All are available on DVD from your local rental store, or

(Lionsgate; PG-13)

As this understated but powerful movie unfolds, a single waitress learns she's pregnant. Through her friendship with a chef, she discovers some unexpected things about herself and the world. Set in a diverse neighborhood, Bella incorporates themes of family values, friendship, and kindness. Adoption is introduced so subtly that the most squeamish teen would be happy to watch this film with friends or family—without feeling put on the spot.

(Fox Searchlight; PG-13)

In this hip, sarcastic comedy, a pregnant high-school student decides to place her child for adoption. This film charts her journey over the next year, as she balances home and school life, matches with a family, and more. Topics like teen pregnancy, and shallow comments on overseas adoption, might make this inappropriate for a younger crowd, but Juno’s just right for the older set.

August Rush
(Warner Bros.;PG)

A boy living in an orphanage believes that, through his music, he'll reunite with his parents. Although a bit sentimental, this film is a hopeful, modern-day fairytale with an enduring message. Kids will be uplifted by the lively melodies and the kindhearted, everyday characters who guide young August. Parents will appreciate the sincerity of the birthparents, as well as the social worker who helps August see that, with adoption, there’s a whole world waiting for him.

Martian Child
(New Line Cinema; PG)

In this comedy-drama, a widower adopts a young boy who claims he's from Mars, as a way to explain his birthparents' abandonment of him. Based on an award-winning short story, Martian Child deftly explores the joys and pains of adopting and raising a child. Every parent who watches will sympathize and learn from this heartfelt and honest film, which is sure to be an adoption classic for years to come.

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