10 Of The Best TV Shows That Feature Adoptive Families

by Sarah Bregel
Sarah Bregel is an editor at LittleThings.com covering entertainment, trending stories, adorable stuff, parenting, and more. She is also a freelance writer, mom of two, dog mom, feminist, and deep-breather.

There are tons of amazing TV shows out there that celebrate families. And why not? Families no matter what they look like or who makes them up — even families composed of friends — are something just about everyone can relate to.

We love our families. We are frustrated by our families. And usually, the people in them give us lots to laugh at. That’s probably why family TV shows are comedy gold, and they also give us tons of heartfelt moments, too. They are just so relatable. What we haven’t seen too much of on TV over the years are families who were brought together by adoption.

Either way, these days we are seeing more diversity on-screen, included stories of adoption. While a few years ago, shows that featured different family models were hard to come by, now it’s understood that families are varied and that representation matters.

Here are some amazing shows that feature adopted families:

This Is Us

This Is Us is one of those tear-inducing shows that just about everyone loves. One of the most emotional story lines on the show is that of Randall, who is played by Sterling K. Brown. Randall was abandoned as a baby on the same day that the Pearson family birthed and lost one of their triplet babies. They felt it was fate and decided to adopt Randall into their family. They still went home with three babies, whom they would call “The Big Three.”

Watch This Is Us now on NBC.

Modern Family

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Modern Family is a downright hilarious show that does an amazing job of representing all kinds of families in one. Early on, adoption became a big theme when Cam and Mitchell adopted baby Lily. Lily’s character is all grown up now, but the story of how she joined her “modern family” is discussed frequently, bringing big discussions about adoption to a major network show.

Watch Modern Family on ABC.



A much-loved show that is, sadly, no longer on the air. This show was so moving because it never shied away from the tough stuff. The same was true when Joel and Julia adopted a son. It was a beautiful story, but it showed the challenging parts of adoption, too, like a natural-born sibling who has tons of feelings surrounding the adoption or may experience jealousy.

Watch Parenthood now on Hulu.

Grey’s Anatomy

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Grey’s Anatomy tackles tons of interesting topics from medical mysteries to ramped-up romance. But there are plenty of kids on the show these days, too. Zola, who is the adopted child of Meredith and Derek, was one of the first. Sadly, Derek was killed off in a car accident. RIP, McDreamy.

Watch Grey’s Anatomy now on Hulu.

Sex and the City

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Sex and the City began as a show about four female friends who dated, worked, shopped, and always had one another to talk to. As the show progressed, some of the women had kids, while others got married and didn’t have kids, and others stayed single. One of the sweetest stories was when Charlotte and Harry found out they couldn’t get pregnant. At the show’s end, the adopted baby Lily from China and had everything they wanted.

Watch Sex and the City on HBO.


The Fosters

Adoption is the biggest theme on the TV show, The Fosters. The show follows the lives Stef Adams Foster and her wife Lena Adams Foster, a school vice principal, and their blended family. The family includes biological children, adopted children, and foster children whom they later adopt.

Watch The Fosters on Netflix.

The Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Technically, Will Smith’s character on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, which was everyone’s favorite ’90s hit family show, wasn’t exactly adopted. However, the show’s entire premise is about Will going to live with his aunt and uncle to stay out of trouble. We do see Will’s mom from time to time, but he’s cared for by Uncle Phil and Aunt Viv.

Watch The Fresh Prince of Bel Air on Amazon.


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Jessie is a popular show for the younger generation that features an adoptive family. It follows the life of a young woman named Jessie who moves to New York hoping to become an actress. To make money, she becomes a nanny for four kids — three of them are adopted. The show also has a specific episode celebrating “Gotcha Day.”

Watch Jessie on Amazon.


When the show Glee was in its prime, it had a big adoption story, but it also started a big controversy over how it was handled. Quinn, a cheerleader, got pregnant and delivered a baby. She then gave it up for adoption to a woman named Shelby. In the following season, Quinn decided she wanted her baby back, and a lot of drama ensued.

Watch Glee on Netflix.


Who could forget the series finale of Friends when Monica and Chandler got their adopted babies after a long struggle trying to conceive? They met Erica, who was played by the hilarious Anna Faris, who was pregnant and looking for adoptive parents for her baby. Turned out, it was twins, which they learned at the very last minute, freaking out Chandler. Of course, Monica said, “No way, Mr. Bing. We’re taking these babies home.” And they did.

Watch Friends on Netflix.