Tarzan: the ultimate successful adoptee?

We watched Disney’s 1997 adaptation of Tarzan the other day with Robbie. I hadn’t given the story any thought before we rented the DVD, but as we watched it dawned on me what a wonderful example of successful adoption the story is.

Tarzan is, as everyone knows, brought up by a gorilla after his parents die in the jungle. In the Disney film, the young Tarzan struggles with being “different” to all the other young gorillas. He also feels that the tribe leader is disappointed in him for not being like them and Tarzan feels the need to prove himself to him as he doesn’t think he’s good enough. As a grown-up he discovers other humans and how not all of them are good. Tarzan has to make a choice between going to “civilisation” with the other humans (where he thinks he should belong) and staying with those he has grown up with.

The film provides a great opportunity to discuss some adoption issues as part of the story rather than as a “let’s talk about adoption” conversation. I thoroughly recommend it. Oh, and the song “You’ll be in my heart” echoes the feelings of adopters very well.