Spyro: So... you mean I--I'm not your real son?
—The Legend Of Spyro: A New Beginning
Once upon a time, being an adoptee was a raw deal. Either your adoptive or foster parents were Muggles—caring, but utterly, utterly clueless—or they were downright abusive, presumably because you weren't their "blood." If it wasn't adoptive parents, it was step-parents. Either you went Gene Hunting, found your REAL parents, and were loved for the rest of your life, or you moved out, lived on your own, and promptly forgot about them. Even if your adoptive parents were fairly harmless, if you ever found your real family, you forgot all about the people who raised you. Blood's thicker and all that, right?
Or so it used to be. Recently, the trend has been shying away from this in favor of Happily Adopted.
Because there are some Unfortunate Implications in implying that adoptive parents are either bad (in the Abusive Parents variety) or unnecessary/useless (the Gene Hunting variant), many adoptees in more recent fiction have a better deal. They're adopted. They know they're adopted—if not right off the bat, then it gets revealed to them that they are. And their reaction is... not to care. Oh, sure—maybe they care at first. Maybe they spend some time wondering about their birth parents, their origins, and where they really come from. But after some thought, they come to one conclusion: No matter who they were born to, they know who cared for them when they were sick, who helped them when they were down, and, most importantly, who loved them. And when love's in play, the truth becomes obvious: Those who love them are their real family, blood be damned. Usually the kid will eventually tell the parent that, throw in a hug and a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming is made as their bond grows stronger.
What happens in cases where the child in question is a Wonder Child, and has celestial or other fantastic parentage? While in older works, the Muggle Foster Parents would frequently be forgotten about, in this trope, the child tends to accept both sets of "parents" as being real. If the child is a Heartwarming Orphan whose "original" parents died, the same thing may also apply. Thus, this has often become a component of the modern Happily Ever After: What will happen to the orphan child protagonist? He/she gets adopted by the adult good guys! Everybody is happy!
Kids Raised by Wolves are often happy adoptees. Compare with Babies Ever After. Contrast Raised by Orcs. See True Companions, which is closely related (by adoption, of course). Also see Orphan's Ordeal for the flipside of the coin.
- Ruu in Daa! Daa! Daa! accepts Miyu and Kanata as his "mama" and "papa," so they worry about what will happen when he sees his real mother and father through a hologram machine for the first time in a long time. He ends up happily hugging all four of them, having cheerfully decided that he Has Two Mommies and Has Two Daddies as well.
- Despite them all being supernatural warriors—and two of them trying to kill her previously—Hotaru of Sailor Moon is perfectly happy to have the other Outer senshi as her (three) parents when her father dies. Even in the anime, where she's simply taken from him, by all accounts she's fine with her two mamas and one female "papa."
- Sana of Kodomo no Omocha is very aware she's adopted, and loves her adopted mother. She does get to meet her birth mother, but the story behind her is decidedly tragic.
- Fate in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha readily accepts being adopted by Admiral Lindy after working through her issues with Precia, her
- Vivio, too.
- Cinque, Dieci and Wendi are quite willing to be adopted by Genya Nakajima and Nove is, too, after some initial difficulty accepting Genya. Subaru and Ginga technically count, too.
- And Erio. And Caro. And Tohma. And technically all the members of the Yagami Household who isn't named Reinforce Zwei. Kinda makes you wonder if people in the Nanohaverse still have children the usual way.
- Calling what happened between Hayate and the Wolkenritter "adoption" is really stretching the definition.
- It's faster to count the other way: Out of the main characters, I see three kids who live with at least one blood parent: Nanoha, Chrono and Lutecia. Pretty much everybody else is happily adopted.
- Soichiro Arima in Kare Kano. His real parents caused nothing but trouble for him, but he's very happily living with adoptive parents, who are really his uncle and aunt.
- The title character of Yotsuba&! is adopted and very much of a Cheerful Child. Sure, she only has a father, but with neighbors she treats as extended family (including calling their mother "Mom"—not to mention treating the daughters as older sisters) and the help of her father's friend Jumbo, she's more worried what this thing in her future called "school" is all about than what sort of family she has.
- Mamoru of GaoGaiGar spends a short while being distraught over being an alien from space, but gets over it pretty fast.
- Hayate the Combat Butler Hinagiku Katsura loves her parents, even though they abandoned her and her sister over ten years ago, but also loves her adopted parents.
- Nozomi in Chance Pop Session is mad at her adoptive parents when she learns the truth NOT because she was adopted, but because they were afraid she'd stop thinking as them as her parents if she did learn the truth.
- In Katekyo Hitman Reborn, the boss of Varia Xanxus by any right is suppose to be Happily Adopted as Ninth Vongola's son however due to he was raised as Spoiled Brat he became bitter once he found out the truth. Noted it's not part being adopted he was angry about, but the part Vongola blood in essential to succeed boss seat and he is not qualified.SpoiledBrat then evolve to Omnicidal Maniac
- Sawada Nana however successful in adopting three mafia children, Futa, Lambo and I-pin. Some fans however still think she is a horrible mother because she belittle her own son.
- Koushiro Izumi of Digimon Adventure initially withdraws from his adoptive parents after overhearing them discussing his adopted status, and out of feelings of inadequacy began trying to prove his worth to them by burying himself in the computer sciences. After his adoptive parents open up about it, they reconcile and Koushiro very much puts himself in this category.
- Nami and Nojiko in One Piece.
- Chopper, Sanji (somewhat, as he gets into a lot of arguments with his adoptive father), Franky and Ace and Luffy too.
- To be fair, Sanji and Zeff argue to show they care.
- Chopper, Sanji (somewhat, as he gets into a lot of arguments with his adoptive father), Franky and Ace and Luffy too.
- Goku from Dragon Ball was happily adopted by an elderly master named Son Gohan as a child. Though unfortunately, Gohan died in an accident some time before the first chapter.
- The accident was named Goku. He doesn't find this out until his late twenties, although his True Companions worked it out the first time they got caught outside with him on the full moon.
- In Blood+, several years before the series started, George lost his wife and biological children in an accident, and was contemplating suicide when the amnesiac "teen" Saya entered his life. George adopted Saya, Kai and Riku, and it worked out very happily for all of them, especially George, whose life had meaning once again. This made it all the more heartwrenching when he died trying to protect Saya. The orphaned siblings are devastated, but take solace in the fact that they still have each other. A recurring theme of the series, hinted at by the title, is that blood is relatively unimportant when it comes to family, which is best illustrated by Saya's Evil Twin Diva, and the epilogue showing Diva's twins Happily Adopted by Kai.
- Rin in Bunny Drop.
- Elsie of The World God Only Knows has no problem integrating herself into the household of Keima's mom, despite saying that she's the illegitimate daughter of her husband.
- Jean Saber is a fairly well-adjusted kid, despite the fact that he has been raised by giant alien transforming robots.
- Zorua from Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions is implied to be Zoroark's adopted son instead of her biological one. However, neither seem to give a darn and Zorua loves his 'Meema' with all his heart. And she loves him right back and is willing to go to any lengths to keep him safe, including going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge when someone intentionally hurts him.
- Marin's parentage is part of the mystery in Brigadoon Marin and Melan, but Marin was still quite happy living with her adopted grandparents.
- Relena in Gundam Wing didn't find out until her father was murdered, but what we see showed that she very much loved her adoptive parents, and she prevents her mother from telling her about her birth parents by hugging her and sobbing "Never stop being my mother!"
- Vash and Knives of Trigun were Happily Adopted by Rem Saverem for the first year of their life, since bulb-bound plants aren't equipped to raise independent plants like the twins. Rem did pretty well, and both boys were genuinely attached to her.
- Less so in the anime, where there are other crew members awake and Knives' reasons for going Axe Crazy are less clear-cut and Creepy Child Magnificent Bastard type stuff.
- Rem's last words to Vash in the anime are "Vash, Knives o--" and then she is seen mouthing something drowned out by the pneumatic door. Apparently this was meant to be understood as sewa o shimasu; all translations have the sentence as, "Vash, take care of Knives!"
- On the other hand, manga Rem turns out to have been such a careful mother to them because she's The Atoner: the last time an independent plant was born in the SEEDS ships, she didn't save her from being experimented on until it killed her. Vash forgives her, after a rocky period. Knives...can't. He was going to save her, though, in both versions, when he killed all the other humans. Except she died that they might live.
- It started out Happily Adopted, but Knives disrupted it by deciding to Kill All Humans.
- Less so in the anime, where there are other crew members awake and Knives' reasons for going Axe Crazy are less clear-cut and Creepy Child Magnificent Bastard type stuff.
- Blue Exorcist has the Okumura twins raised by Shiro Fujimoto.
- In Toriko, Melk II was adopted by Melk I after he found her abandoned in a forest as a baby. The one thing that marred their otherwise happy father-daughter bond was a years-long misunderstanding due to Melk I's incredibly quiet voice.
- Baccano!'s Firo Prochainezo is so attached to his family that he'd slit his own throat simply because they asked. The fact that the family in question is the Camorra is insubstantial.
- Bossun and Sasuke in Sket Dance.
- Miyabi of Ai Yori Aoshi. Her parents served the Sakurabas before dying in a car accident, so Aoi's parents took her in, where she served as a caretaker to Aoi. Aoi's mother even refers to Miyabi as her other daughter. At the end of the manga, Miyabi gets officially adopted, and refers to her former master and mistress as "Father and Mother", albeit uneasy about calling herself a Sakuraba.
- Superman loves Ma and Pa Kent, and they him. Certain versions of his occasional cousin Supergirl fit here as well. Also Superboy Connor Kent, who knows his biological parents are Superman and Lex Luthor, but also is quite happy with Ma and Pa Kent as his parental figures.
- This can also extend to the entire human race, which Superman/Clark Kent feels he belongs to and is completely content with, even though he's an alien.
- Red Tornado's adopted daughter, Traya, a Middle Eastern war orphan, seems very happy with him, even knowing he's an android.
- Jenny Quantum loves her daddies. And leads them too.
- Sort-of present with Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl and later Oracle. She and James Gordon always (Always) have a deep and emotional father/daughter bond that has even been seen to help her knock out Brainiac, but over the years the different writers can never seem to remember whether she is his biological daughter, his niece who he has raised since childhood, or an adopted daughter. Their relationship is largely the same no matter which way it is written, but sometimes it fits with the trope and sometimes it has nothing to do with the trope at all.
- The Barbara/Jim relationship confusion is played with a bit: at one point, Barbara discovers that Jim may have had an affair with her mother (his brother's wife) around the time that she was conceived. When she has the chance to find out whether or not she's his biological daughter, she turns it down—not because she's ashamed of him for cheating, but because she wants it to be true.
- More consistent is both Bruce's "sons" relationship with him, and Bruce's own relationship with Alfred (which results in some truly touching moments as Alfred hears Bruce call him dad in Bruce's farewell message when he's believed to be dead). Tim, Dick, and Jason may often have problems with Bruce, but they consider each other brothers and are proud to officially be his sons. Cassandra too, as the one daughter of the group, even though she doesn't hang out with her bros too much.
- Damian, however, is Bruce's biological son and not half as well-functioning as the other Robins, largely due to being raised by crazy ninjas. It's quite clear where on the side of nature vs. nurture Batman falls.
- Another case was Gar Logan (Beast Boy). His parents died in a tragic accident, and his uncle turned out to be a nasty sort just using him to get at the money his parents left behind. He ran away and found the Doom Patrol. At the end of the arc, Rita Farr (Elasti-Girl) and Steve Dayton (Mento) adopted him. While Steve turned out to be too mentally unstable to be a decent parent, Gar and Rita adored one another, to the point where Gar even went into acting to follow in her footsteps.
- Spider-Man was raised by his aunt and uncle from very early childhood and is just fine with that.
- Hellboy knows perfectly well that he was adopted (being a huge red demon with a Right Hand of Doom is kind of a giveaway), but he has a genuinely loving relationship with his father, Professor Bruttenholm.
- Huey, Lewie and Dewey seem rather content to live with their maternal uncle instead of their parents... despite the fact that he is very much a Jerkass with a horrible temper who cannot hold down a job. They also seem to develop into far more functional citizens than him, so it seems to work. Writers who care tend to emphasize that Donald Duck is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, though one Darker and Edgier interpretation is that their mother and father actually are that much worse than Donald - which actually is Truth in Television for some real adoptees.
- Lampshaded in several comic stories, where Huey, Dewey and Louie lament their uncle's many shortcomings, only to realize that when it comes down to it, he actually is a pretty good legal guardian.
- A somewhat weird variant of this happens in Books of Magic, in that Tim's true parentage is extremely convoluted and at times blatantly self-contradicting, but the trope is played fairly straight in the early issues of the book, after the first time he discovers that the people he thought were his parents may not have been: He laments it for a bit, but in the end he still acknowledges that "they did make me brush my teeth and wear clean socks all those years. Never once called me a changeling. They may not have been my parents but -- bloody hell, they were my parents."
- It's later revealed that his father was never really sure whether Tim was really his (Tim's mother was pregnant when the two married), but never thought it mattered if he was or not.
- Wolverine and X-23 are both quite aware that she's his biological clone(sort of), and he has no real obligation to do anything for her. He adopted her anyway. His Relationship with his son Daken...Isn't as healthy.
- DC Comics has the Fourth World title, which features Orion, the biological son of Darkseid, who was traded to the Highfather of New Genesis as part of a peace treaty. Despite his parentage, Orion grew up a good warrior ferociously dedicated to defending the ideals of his adopted family.
- Wiccan and Speed from Young Avengers are adopted by Muggle Foster Parents, but still love them even after discovering their heritage. Sort of. It's complicated.
- Twilight adopts Nyx, and this significantly impacts the story.
- In Harry's New Home, Snape takes in Harry as his ward and eventually adopts him.
- The Dangerverse has this happen to Harry and Hermione and Draco (though in Hermione's case one of the adoptive parents is her older sister).
- Will is this in 'Shadows Of The Past,' though his 'parents' are still alive; he states he just likes his adoptive ones better.
- Adelle a Hume, is the adopted daughter of Sir Loin, a Seeq in The Tainted Grimoire.
- In the Transformers Things We Don't Tell Humans, the cast of Happily Adopted characters includes Prowl, Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, Faust, Hudson, Cobalt, Iris, Aether, and Alchemy.
- The Crystal Tokyo series of Bill K have Neo Queen Serenity adopt orphans over the years she has rule.
- In Better Off Not Knowing, the implied biological daughter of Zaheer and P'Li is occasionally curious about her unusual height and her distant memories of being unseasonably cold, but nonetheless draws a distinction between "her parents" and the (unknown to her) "people who'd brought her into the world."
- In Benefits of Old Laws, a thoroughly-sane resurrected Voldemort adopts Harry as part of restructuring his life and the way he approaches his goals. Despite misgivings, he tries -- and usually succeeds -- at being a good parent, something Harry eventually realizes and appreciates.
- Kung Fu Panda starts out with Po being Obliviously Adopted with Mr. Ping with their relationship so lovingly strong that the subject of parentage never came up. Kung Fu Panda 2 has Po getting memory flashbacks that drive him to confront Mr. Ping to finally confirm that he is adopted and the panda is feeling rather ambivalent about it. However by the end of the story, Po comes to realize that despite what he learns about his past, the fact remains he is is truly Mr Ping's son in every meaningful way outside of biology and makes a point of telling him that.
- Also Tai Lung, before he betrayed Shifu, his foster father's, principles and Tigress in part although Shifu was relatively cold to her because his falling out with Tai Lung. At least Tigress got to turn that around with Po's help.
- Subverted in Tangled where Rapunzel thinks she's living happily with her mother and does genuinely love her mother, where the audience knows Gothel is not the real mother and only keeping Rapunzel in the tower for her own selfish gains. Then things go downhill on their relationship once Rapunzel meets Flynn and leaves the tower.
- In One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Pongo and Perdita end up adopting the orphaned puppies that they help rescue.
- In the Disney Animated Canon version of |Hercules, Herc's mortal parents seem to fade from the picture once they tell him he was adopted, and discovers he's the son of Zeus. However, one song about mid-way through the movie shows that he's using his newfound fame to take gooood care of them, building them an enormous mansion. In the ending, when he triumphantly returns to Earth, they greet him happily as well. Hercules seems to accept both his earthly and heavenly parents as legit.
- In Dinosaur, Aladar is adopted by a family of lemurs when he was a hatchling and they become a very close family.
- Disney's Tarzan, Kala adopts Tarzan and they have a close relationship.
- The main character of Meet the Robinsons is an orphaned boy approaching teenagerhood who wants to be adopted before he becomes a teenager (because teenagers have much more difficulty getting adopted). This finally happens in the end.
- Penny was fretting about her chances of adoption in The Rescuers before she got kidnapped by the verbally abusive Madame Medusa. With the help of the titular two mice, she saves the day, and the movie ends with her getting adopted.
- Rosie O'Donnell (who has two adopted children) said that she took a role in Disney's Tarzan because she liked how it put adoption in a positive light. Granted, Tarzan was adopted by gorillas, but he was happy.
- In All Dogs Go to Heaven, Anne-Marie and Itchy get adopted by a loving couple in the end.
- Fernando at the end of Rio.
- The Tuohys adopt Michael in The Blind Side and he's damn happy with them, even with the expected prejudice and problems.
- In Shara, Yu's mother reveals to her that she's actually her aunt, and adopted her as a baby from her sister-in-law. Yu takes it in stride and keeps thinking of her aunt as her real mother.
- I Am Sam ends with the girl being happily adopted...but her biological father is also still very much a part of the picture.
- In Four Brothers, the titular brothers were all adopted by their social worker as children because no one else would take them. The plot revolves around how fiercely loyal they are to her, even after she dies.
- In the 2010 film Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, the main character Dastan was adopted by the King of Persia, who was impressed by the young boy's skill and courage as he saved another boy from mutilation. Dastan grows up very aware of the circumstances of his birth, but is utterly devoted to his adopted father, brothers, and uncle.
- The eponymous mouse in Stuart Little was adopted by the human Little family.
- In the 2011 film Thor, despite Loki's many transgressions and schemes, he genuinely loves his adoptive father, mother, and brother as well as his adoptive homeland, Asgard.
- To the point where he's willing to brutally manipulate those around him in order to destroy his native homeland of Jotunheim, an enemy of his adoptive Asgard, and kill his biological father to please Odin and gain the acceptance he so strongly desires from him.
- Tragically, Loki goes through all of this for little reason in the end, since his adoptive family already loves and accepts him.
- In Star Wars, the Skywalker twins were both adopted, both were aware of it, and both were at least reasonably happy with their adoptive family.
- Olive's brother in Easy A.
- Babe the pig was took in by Fly the sheepdog.
- In The Jerk, Navin Johnson (played by Steve Martin) grew up part of a poor black family. While he does strike out on his own upon learning that he was adopted ("You mean I'm going to stay this color?") it's solely out of a desire to find his place in the world, and he stays in contact with his family and sends them money when he starts making it. When it all blows up in his face, they take him back in, and it ends with him and his wife dancing and playing music with the family.
- Brianna by the end of Mystery Team.
- Jesse in Free Willy eventually bonds with his foster parents, Glenn and Annie. In the sequel he refers to Glenn as "my dad."
- In a Russian adaptation of A Little Princess, Sara ends up adopted by her dad's companion (her father is Killed Off for Real)
- Me Myself and Irene: Charlie's sons, who despite being the children of his ex-wife's affair still love him and help him though the film. It certainly helps that Charlie kept them after the ex-wife and her affair left town.
- Then She Found Me is a less than idealistic portrayal of this trope, with Helen Hunt's adopted mother being a Jewish Mother with all accompanying difficulties, but she is nonetheless very much the heroine's mother, and mourned so accordingly when she dies early in the movie, and though Bette Midler as the biological parent then shows up, it's pointed out she wasn't the heroine's mother when being so required work(as Helen says in when she calls her out, she was sick a lot as a child). Meanwhile, the heroine's brother(their mother's biological son) is the only person she remains on speaking terms with through the whole movie. And though she spends the whole movie trying to have a baby and ignoring all suggestions of adopting a Chinese orphan, the final shot is of her being a loving mother to a little Chinese girl.
- James Tock, the protagonist of the Dean Koontz novel Life Expectancy, is quite Happily Adopted. Considering that he comes from a family of evil acrobats and insane clowns, this is probably for the best.
- In the children's fantasy novel Magyk, the character Jenna has a bit of a mild crisis when she learns that she's actually an adopted princess. In a sad state, she remarks to her adopted brother Nickolas how nice it must be to have a mother and father. Her brother promptly tells her to stop being an idiot; she has a mother and father, and brothers, and her being a Princess won't ever change that.
- Oliver Twist was adopted by the good Mr. Brownlow, making this Older Than Radio. Something of a twist (no pun intended) on the trope, however, since Mr. Brownlow turns out to be an old friend of Oliver's family who would have been Oliver's uncle-by-marriage had fate, in the form of the unbelievably complicated backstory, not intervened. (The musical Oliver!, as part of streamlining the unbelievably complicated backstory, makes him Oliver's biological grandfather.)
- Anne of Green Gables and Pollyanna may not have been 100% satisfied with their situation, but were definitely loved.
- Anne of Green Gables also subverts this, as Anne tells how she was put in the care of several foster families before the events of the books and they treated her horribly. She still remembers them as kindly as she can (she points out that it wasn't entirely their fault that they weren't nice, since all of the families were dirt poor) and it's because of this and the implication that she'd be adopted by another horrible family that Marilla decides to keep her.
- In the 1632 series Tom "Stoner" Stone's three "sons" all act like and treat each other as brothers, even though only one of them, Faramir or "Frank", is definitely his. Elrond "Ron" might be Tom's boy by another mother (commune, hippies), but Gwaihir "Gerry" is clearly unrelated to the others. They have no issues with that (or with their 17th century German stepmom), but some of the townsfolk do.
- Or as happy as can be: Elrond and Elros from The Silmarillion (and The Lord of the Rings) were fostered by guys who tried to kill their mother, and their grandparents before that.
"...and love grew after between them, as little might be thought." (The Silmarillion, JRR Tolkien)
- Tuor is also an example: he is raised by the Grey-Elves of Mithrim after his mother left shortly after his birth to find his father; she dies of despair when she finds he is dead.
- Also Aragorn was adopted by Elrond after the death of his father and seemed quite fond of him, although there was tension between them later due to Aragorn falling in love with Elrond's daughter, Arwen.
- Carrot Ironfoundersson is a human who was raised by dwarf parents. He is a dwarf, in spite of being born a human and standing over six feet tall, and he always writes home to his parents to tell them about his day and ask how the latest mine shaft is going. Even dwarfs who have never heard of his clan recognise him as a dwarf, since being a dwarf is more of a matter of culture rather than of species. It's also implied that his birth family sprang from the dethroned kings of Ankh-Morpork. Implied much in the same way that it's implied that the sun is warmish.
- In Les Misérables, Cosette was perfectly happy to be raised by Jean Valjean (after escaping an admittedly less-than-ideal situation with the Thenardiers).
- V.I. Warshawski's friend Dr. Charlotte "Lotty" Herschel was evacuated from Nazi Germany with her little brother to stay with an aunt in the UK. The aunt is a vicious, mean person and had only agreed to take Lotty, not the brother who she farms out to an employee. The employee's family give the brother a loving warm childhood, in sharp contrast to Lotty's upbringing with the aunt.
- Matilda: Matilda is adopted by Ms. Honey and lives happily ever after.
- Tracy Beaker, sort of. Life with Cam isn't perfect, but in The Dare Game, Cam is shown as a much better mother figure than Tracy's actual Mum.
- Played with in the Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Father Time. The Doctor adopts an eleven-year-old girl, who, oddly, looks a lot like him and has the same Bizarre Alien Biology. As he's a Ditzy Genius who acts like he has No Social Skills, it's not exactly a walk in the park, but they're happy enough. He even gets a job which pays well (he's a contractor who eliminates redundancies in corporate structures; it's implied that he is somehow able to do this without getting people fired). However, he makes things highly awkward when she's around the boy she fancies and has no idea what's going on in her love life. And he lies to her about the fact she's not human, causing her to run away from home at the age of sixteen and spend three years traveling around on her own. When he finds her again, they get along just fine, though, but she then leaves to become queen of the universe or some crap like that. And it's apparently all water under the bridge by their tearful reunion in a later book, which is years later for both of them. It's really terribly cute... It's also eventually revealed that she's in fact his granddaughter by blood, but from the future. That's right, this trope is Double Subverted regarding the "Happily" part and also subverted as far as "Adopted" goes.
- It's mentioned only briefly, but in the David Eddings Elenium trilogy, the sidekick character Kalten was raised by the hero Sparhawk's family after his own parents were killed when he was a boy. The result was that "in some ways, they were closer than brothers."
- Taran, the hero of the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander, is well aware that neither the enchanter Dallben nor the pig-keeper Coll are his real father, and that they raised him from a foundling baby. He loves them both dearly, but it doesn't stop him from trying to find out who his birth parents were. Princess Eilonwy, who comes to live in Caer Dallben at the end of the first book in the series, is essentially Happily Adopted by Dallben as well.
- In the American Girl Samantha stories, Samantha's friend Nellie gets sent to an Orphanage of Fear. Of course, she breaks out and is happily adopted by Sam's extraordinarily wealthy family.
- While Harry Potter is never officially adopted by the Weasleys, they still consider him a part of the family and he loves them far more than this horrible aunt, uncle, and cousin. And they end up as his in-laws anyway, so it all works.
- In Andre Norton's The Jargoon Pard, although Gillian and Herrel reclaim their son, they do not give up Aylinn, who was switched with him.
- In Deep Secret, both Nick and Maree end up as this, once they discover they are adopted. In Nick's case, the adoptive (step) parent is far preferable to the biological one. In Maree's case, said adoptive parent even gets a Selfless Wish thrown at them.
- There's also Archer's Goon, in which Howard finds out he is adopted; he's taken aback at first but brings it up with his parents soon afterwards and realises how much they love him. In addition, it turns out that the adoption has actually happened twice, due to various time-travel-related shenanigans, and the second time around, the influence of the adoptive parents has affected Howard, now on his third trip through puberty, positively enough that he is able to break the cycle he started when he was Venturus.
- Rand al'Thor in The Wheel of Time series gets over his "is-he-or-isn't-he-my-father" angst regarding adopted father Tam al'Thor relatively quickly, concluding that Tam is his father no matter what their blood relation is or isn't.
- In the most recent book, he even attributes the fact that he's able to successfully pass through his Heroic BSOD to good upbringing.
- Achim in The Adoptive Room by Antonia Michaelis. Played halfway with Karl Sonntag from another book ( he finds his father, and is quite happy with his stepmother
- This becomes the default family in the future of Bumped. In this future, all people over the age of 18 are infertile, so families pay teenage couples top dollar to have children for them.
- In A Little Princess, Sarah is adopted by her late father's business partner in the end.
- The Secret Garden doesn't start out with a happy adoption, as miserable sour Mary is sent to her only living relative, who wants nothing to do with her outside of doing his duty to his dead wife's sister's memory. However, after everyone is healed by the events of the story, this is the assumed conclusion for them.
- Jaenelle of the Black Jewels series tells her biological grandmother, "This body can trace its bloodline to you. That makes us related. It doesn't make us family."
- In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Mandalorians take family very seriously, but bloodlines...not so much. Two of their proverbs translate to "It doesn't matter who your father is, but the father you will be" and "Family is more than blood."
- Mildly deconstructed in Sharon Creech's The Wanderer. Sophie is very happy with her adopted family... so happy, in fact that she begins to think of them as her only family and constantly ignores and suppresses any notions that she is adopted. Only in the end (and after suffering a huge storm just like the one which killed her parents does she come to terms with the fact that she is an adopted orphan, which is a huge Tear Jerker.
- Hepzibah "Eppie" in Silas Marner.
- Arguably, Dawn in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who is revealed not to be Buffy's natural little sister, but mystical energy in human form sent to Buffy for protection. However, the monks that created her implanted memories of her supposed existence in everybody's minds, and it's also implied that she and Buffy share a genetic connection, so she's not exactly like an adoptee.
- In Charmed Paige was adopted by a loving family. So the Powers That Be had to move them out of the way in a more brutal fashion...
- Claire Bennett in Heroes is definitely this; she occasionally has some troubles with her adoptive father, but that has nothing to do with the fact she's adopted and everything to do with the fact she is a danger magnet and he is... overprotective.
- One House episode featured an adopted son as the patient - it may have been medically relevant, but otherwise it was no big deal.
- Kutner was adopted, and was seemingly happy to be so. It was firmly established that his adopted family was not a factor in his suicide.
- In one episode of Law and Order Special Victims Unit, the team uncovers in the course of an investigation a boy who was raised by foster parents. In the process of solving the murder of the boy's mother, the detectives find both his biological father and his maternal grandparents. A three-way custody battle follows and the father wins, much to the unhappiness of the boy; however, the ending implies that the father will do his best to ensure that all parties are a part of his son's life.
- Back in the early '90s this storyline was done by the soap opera El Dorado as part of its attempt to stave off cancellation. It is one of the few acknowledged touching moments.
- Colbert from Generation Kill was put up for adoption by his birth parents, and taken in by a Jewish couple. When one squad mate jokes about his birth parents already disowning him, he reminds that to him, his adopted parents' love was much more significant than what biological bond the squadmate had.
- Ryan Atwood on The OC goes from the Orphan's Ordeal to this trope.
- Ricky from The Secret Life of the American Teenager is not "officially" adopted by his foster parents. But to him, they're his mom and dad. They also refer to themselves as "Ricky's mom" and "Ricky's dad".
- Also Tom Bowman, who is "officially" adopted.
- Sweets on Bones. And, one could argue, Booth and Baby Booth as well.
- By contrast, Bones' experiences in the foster care system were less than ideal.
- One episode of Lie to Me has a teenage boy "hire" Dr. Lightman to find out the truth behind his family. When he meets his real wheelchair-bound parent and discovers they have nothing in common, he wishes he'd left well enough alone. Eventually they get a custody-sharing agreement.
- Cassie Frasier from Stargate SG 1, is adopted after first appearing as an alien plot device by The Medic, Janet Frasier. Although Cassie only appears three times after this, she's mentioned quite frequently, and seems to have relatively little trouble being adopted on an alien planet. She remains a part of the backstory even after her mother's death, as the team seems to have become her adopted family, too.
- Hardison from Leverage referred occasionally to his Nana, and the team always assumed he was raised by his grandparents, until in one episode, he reveals that she was actually his foster mother. Besides providing An Aesop and contrasting Parker's experiences in the foster care system, she's treated within the character's backstory as if she was his biological grandmother.
- In Romeo! a Black family adopted a White boy named Louis.
- Gossip Girls Chuck Bass, who was adopted by Lily van der Woodsen when he was seventeen. Lily actually seems to be a much better parent to him than to her two biological children.
- In Queer as Folk, Michael and Ben are Hunter's foster parents, but in the last season they offer to adopt him, and he's very happy to accept.
- Luke Smith in The Sarah Jane Adventures. Really, the heart and soul of the show is the bond between Luke and Sarah Jane, and how it changed both of them for the better. Sarah Jane has called him "the most important thing in the universe" and Luke's worst nightmare is that Sarah Jane regrets adopting him and doesn't really want him. Honestly, they are the show's love story.
- Little Orphan Annie, in the comic strip, musical and both movies. I guess it doesn't hurt that her adoptive father is rich as hell.
- Rusty, the perpetual boy who appears alongside Mark Trail in the comics, is adopted by Mark and his longtime girlfriend Cherry after they finally get married.
- In U.S. Acres, Booker and Sheldon were found and hatched by Orson, who seems content to raise them. Booker even called Orson "Mom".
- Spyro in the Legend of Spyro franchise reboot was raised by dragonflies. When he finds out that he's not actually a dragonfly, he asks his mother the question in the page quote... and receives the above answer, reassuring him that they love him all the same.
- In Metroid, Samus Aran loved her Chozo family deeply, and they cared for her deeply in kind. In the Metroid manga, she even goes on to accept a specific Chozo (Gray Voice) as her "real father."
- Interestingly, as she is given Chozo gene grafts so she can survive on their homeworld, strictly speaking she is biologically related to them.
- There's a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming in there for the curious: one game depicts a drawing she made as a child, showing young Samus waving happily alongside her Chozo family (it's even the page image for the video game page for CMOH).
- Cheryl from Silent Hill is this, as is Heather. The plots of the first and third games have a lot to do with father-daughter bonds, and there's never any question at all that an adopted father is a real father. This may have to do with the biological family being horrible and crazy.
- Adell from Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories has known he was adopted pretty much his entire life, but considers his slightly loopy adoptive family to be real enough that he never even brings up that he was adopted until Rozalin drags the answer out of him. His birth parents, on the other hand, he doesn't have much respect for—as the fact that he refers to them with quotation marks can attest to.
Adell: ...Oh, that. That is the truth. I'm not related to Mom and Dad by blood. Or to Taro and Hanako, either. ...I was abandoned by my "real" parents when I was still young.
- To twist the knife, it's heavily hinted that Adell's real parents are the two specters that are forced to be the right- and left- hand demons of Overlord Zenon. They didn't abandon him- they were brainwashed into forgetting him, but even then their parental love occasionally shines through in his presence. He kills them, completely unaware of any of this.
- He is, in fact, so happy with the status quo that he either doesn't notice- or chooses not to notice that he's a demon, not a human.
- Final Fantasy IX has Princess Garnet, who loved her adoptive mother even after she was corrupted into stealing her daughter's Summon Magic by an evil manthong wearing White-Haired Pretty Boy.
Garnet: No I can't let anything happen to my mother! I've got to save her!
- Also Eiko Carol gets adopted by Cid and Hilda at the end of the game, and is clearly excited about having a real family, even calling her new parents "Mother" and "Father" rather deliberately.
- Tales of Symphonia has Lloyd Irving, who was adopted by a dwarf named Dirk at the age of three. Even when he discovers his birth-father, he continues to refer to Dirk as his 'dad'.
- Perhaps not a straight-up example, as he never referred to him as his father, but Cecil of Final Fantasy IV was pretty much Happily Adopted by the King of Baron, and though at the beginning of the game the king appears to be a horrible man, it turns out that that's the monster that killed him and is pretending to be him, and the good man Cecil remembers as raising him is not a lie. His not calling him a father, which might hint at him not being as happily adopted as we think, is however probably more justified as calling oneself a son of the king is more loaded than calling oneself the son of just any man.
- Actually this is a pretty straight up example. Cecil berates his men in the beginning of the game for having doubts about the King and only really questions the king about his orders in private, well as private as the two can get. The King was also a Dark Knight, like Cecil, and he comes back from the dead as Odin to help Cecil and group. Not the most normal of examples, but Cecil, the King, and Kain seem to be relatively happy.
- Golden Sun gives us Ivan, happily fostered by a merchant and his wife in Kalay. Don't think they're not important to him. Ever.
- Sieg from Suikoden Tierkreis was found by Elder Rajim when he was newborn in the place where the castle is now located. He never learns the truth about his real parents, but he is completely happy with the family that raised him.
- In the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, Cloud and Tifa adopt Denzel. They are also the primary caregivers of Marlene, Barret's adopted daughter.
- Heartwarming Orphan Flora Reinhold is Happily Adopted by Professor Layton after the events of the first game.
- The title character of Shantae. The residents of Scuttle Town aren't quite sure what to think of a half-genie, but it's generally agreed that her "uncle" Mimic did a good job of raising her—and it's obvious that the two are devoted to each other.
- Ling Ling Johnson in Guilty Party was adopted at a scant few days old, and has cheerfully accquired all of her family's trademark detective lunacy with nary another thought. Bonus points for being the Chinese adopted daughter of a seemingly Scary Black Man (Gentle Giant, actually) and a much tinier, much older white woman, making them a very diverse big happy family.
- Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Echoes of Time has the main character, who was raised by his whole village.
- In Summon Night: Swordcraft Story 2 the Player Character was adopted by a family of Craftknights, who offer encouragement throughout the game.
- In Baldur's Gate, the main character and Imoen his half-sister were both adopted by the Harper Gorion. Unless you're roleplaying an Evil character, it's implied that life with Gorion was relatively peaceful and happy. Until the plot happened anyway.
- Sunny is perfectly happy with Snake and Otacon, living in their plane-apartment and making breakfast.
- In Threads of Fate, Klaus' family welcomes Prima Doll with open arms. During the epilogue Mint or Rue sees him with Elena, who's overjoyed that she now has a little brother.
- Link in Ocarina of Time was happily adopted by the forest guardian, the Great Deku Tree (especially in the manga version). He was raised along with the Kokiri children and didn't discover his true origin until he got trapped in the Sacred Realm for seven years, emerging as an adult (Kokiris never grow up).
- Togepi! They never appear wild, so you either traded for one or got it from an NPC, making you an adopted parent, and Togepi has a base happiness of 70, instead of the 0 most happiness-based Pokemon have. It's literally programmed to be a Happily Adopted Pokemon!
- Solatorobo has Red and Chocolat, a brother-sister duo who adopted each other when they were kids at an orphanage. They refer to each other as "my brother/sister" without ever mentioning the fact that they're Not Blood Siblings, and considering Chocolat is still only thirteen, Red may actually have legal custody of her, despite the fact that she deals with day-to-day issues like money much better than he does.
- Misuzu in AIR is an interesting case. Her aunt acts as her adopted mother, but distances herself from her for fear Misuzu will be taken away; but as the series continues, they grow very close.
- Hayama Mizuki from Ef: A Fairy Tale of the Two. was adopted as a Replacement Goldfish for her parents' actual daughter, who drowned as a little girl. Mizuki herself underwent several traumatic experiences previously. Despite all this, she adores her parents, they adore her, and Mizuki says late into the story that she wasn't born to her real parents--she only came to be with them later.
- Shirou Emiya, the main character of Fate/stay night, was adopted by the magus Kiritsugu after his parents (and other immediate family) died in a fire. After Kiritsugu also died, Shirou remembers the six years they spent together as the happiest time in his life.
- Trucy Wright, the adopted daughter of Phoenix Wright, adores her father. She even calls him Daddy and doesn't seem too shaken up when her biological father is brutally murdered.
- The truth is that Trucy loves both her fathers to the same extent and was, in fact, extremly sad when she figured out that her biological father had been murdered. She merely put on a brave smile as to not worry her adopted father, Phoenix. Too bad it doesn't work, as Phoenix already has prior experience with the Stepford Smiler trope.
- Chizuru in Hakuouki, somewhat. It's subverted in most routes, where Kodo reveals that he only took her in and raised her because she was the heir to the Yukimura clan and would be useful for repopulating it, but played straight in Okita's good route, where he sacrifices himself to save her.
- Ozy from Ozy and Millie is a fox raised by a dragon. He's quite happy with his dad, even if he is a bit... odd. And, at the very end of the strip, his dad and Millie's mom get married, giving him an adoptive-but-loving mother as well. He's been told of his biological parents, but as he reminded Millie once, he knows who his real father is. Even if he occasionally sits on him, or sets him on fire, or makes him scrub the moat as a chore.
- Terinu has his adoptive mother Melika, who though a vulpine, loves her ferin "cubling" deeply. Word of God has said that Teri's memory of their brief time together as a family has kept him from being completely warped by Space Pirate Mavra Chan's Training from Hell.
- In Kevin and Kell, Lindesfarne was adopted by Kevin during his first marriage with Angelique (who wanted a prickly species as an excuse to keep her at arm's length) and while she has her own issues with Angelique neglecting her during her childhood, she loves her father and stepmother. Corrie was also briefly adopted by the Canids, but while she tired of their obsessive routines, her clone Dolly, who was used to living a structured life from being in the lab, appreciated what her adoptive family had to offer.
- Sharon of General Protection Fault was adopted by an interracial couple.
- Agatha Clay in Girl Genius often speaks of Adam and Lilith Clay as her mother and father, though she's always known herself to be adopted. They make it clear that they love her, and she won't let anyone insult them.
- An odd version of this appears in Something*Positive. The strip's resident ditz Monette is adopted by Davan's parents, Fred and Faye, once they realize that her biological parents are complete jerks. The oddity of the arrangement is that they adopt Monette when she's in her twenties. But it works out surprisingly well.
- And now, Aubrey and Jason have adopted Pamela Joycelyn ("Pamjee") and she already feels more kin to her adoptive parents than most could have hoped for.
- Cole is the happily adopted brother of Nate's in Doodle Diaries.
- This is actually the whole plot behind Selkie. It's even called A Tale Of Adoption by the author.
- Depending on how you look at it, artificial creature Molly of The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob doesn't have any real parents (though Jean sort of qualifies, because they share some genetic material). Anyway, Bob raised her, and she's currently living with Jean, and she loves them both very much.
- Freefall has the Bowman's Wolves, who were all adopted by human families. Florence's family treat her as a human child, for the most part. The fact that she's legally property is little more than a formality. Her owner considers her his little sister and buys and sells things for her.
- Averted hard in Ninth Elsewhere: Carmen has been through at least 8 different foster families.
- Arthur in Arthur, King of Time and Space is fostered rather than adopted by Ector, even in the contemporary arc, but it's definitely a happy family, with even Kay being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. When his worst fear is mainfested in the space arc as being that he's really Ector's bastard and condemned to life as Kay's squire, his reaction is, well, it could be worse.
- Eva of Metal Phone Mouse.
- Most kids picked up by the PPC are far happier in the Nursery or with whichever agents become their parents than they were with their original families, which were often Sues or other fic characters. Mary Sue characters do not make good mothers; among other things, they've been known to cause their own children to be killed or molested just for attention.
- Sandwich Stoutaxe, a Drow raised among Dwarves. Despite rough beginnings (Dad wished she was a sandwich instead of a baby, she tried to stab him in his sleep as an infant) and the difficulties a Drow Elf would face living among Dwarves (such as doors that are built for people half her height), she does quite well. She considers herself a member of the Stoutaxe clan first and an Elf second. Given what Drow society is like, she is definitely better off.
- Francine from American Dad was raised by a Chinese couple called the Lings and is so happy about it she does not even want to know who her biological parents are. Stan, however, didn't like his in-laws so he set off to find her biological parents. He found out they were a rich couple whom he got along with very well. Francine still refuses to meet them, so Stan finds her adoptive parent's will and shows her that they left everything to their biological daughter, Gwen. Francine takes this as evidence that they don't love her at much and decides to meet her biological parents. However, Mr. Ling rescues Stan from a burning house and explains he did it because he makes Francine happy. (it's also revealed that Francine's biological parents were jerks, as they abandoned her because they couldn't take babies on first class flights) Mr. Ling proceeds to explain that the will left everything to Gwen because she's a moron. Francine, meanwhile, is in good hands because she's married to Stan. Francine and Stan understand that they do love her just as much, and she continues to refer to the Lings as her real (and only) parents.
- Bamm Bamm the Door Step Baby from The Flintstones. This was around the time when adoption was starting to be accepted and not taboo, so it was very groundbreaking (and heartwarming) at the time.
- Perhaps it's related to how she met him, but Gosalyn never had any issues with seeing Darkwing Duck as her real father. Aside from remembering not to call him "Dad" when he's in costume, but that's a skill any child of a costumed crimefighter needs to learn anyway. Her biological parents died long before Darkwing came into the picture; the pilot of the series indicates that she was raised by her very loving grandfather.
- Megan is adopted by Jack, the team owner in NASCAR Racers. She's sad about her past, but Jack treats her very well.
- The PBS Kids series Dinosaur Train has Buddy, who managed to get into a Pteranodon nest as an egg, and he and his family initially don't know what kind of dinosaur he is. He's accepted immediately as part of the family in spite of this, and even when, in one episode, they learn that he is a T-rex and the other ones they met wonder if he wants to stay in their area, he says he'd much rather be with the parents and siblings that love him. Even the intro song establishes this, with Buddy's confusion at clearly not looking like his siblings, and Mrs. Pteranodon assuring him that she's his mom and that deep down he's still like the rest of his family.
- Phineas and Ferb has a variant, where the two title characters (plus their sister Candace) live in a happily blended family where the kids are basically adopted by their step-parents. Word of God Hand Waves any question about Phineas and Candace's missing biological father or Ferb's missing biological mother as unimportant.
- Dragon, Bounce and Shimmer in Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends and Grace the ladybug later on. Oh, and Miss Spider herself.
- Winx Club plays this trope straight and subverts it: Bloom still loves her adoptive parents upon learning that she was adopted, however, she then developed what it could be said an insane obssession with finding her biological parents.
- And when she does finally find them, she seems to practically cast her adoptive parents out of her life.
- In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Teela is Man-At-Arms's adopted daughter and well aware of the fact, though for the most part she doesn't care that she isn't biologically his; she doesn't even think about it much. In the episode Teela's Quest she goes in search for her real parents, leading to the revelation that the Sorceress is her mother. While Teela for unexplained reasons isn't allowed to remember her discovery, at the end of the episode she concludes that the man who's raised her from a tiny girl, been there for her all her life, and taught her everything she knows is her father, biological relation or not.
- In the 2002 reboot, it was hinted that Man-At-Arms actually is her biological father, but doesn't know it. However, it was also hinted that Man-At-Arms's brother Fisto might be Teela's real father. The show was cancelled before the viewers could find out which one of these were the truth.
- And in the proposed series He-Ro, Son of He-Man, (the bible can be found here), the new protagonist, Dare, would have been the Happily Adopted son of Adam and Teela, now king and queen of Eternia.
- In the 2002 reboot, it was hinted that Man-At-Arms actually is her biological father, but doesn't know it. However, it was also hinted that Man-At-Arms's brother Fisto might be Teela's real father. The show was cancelled before the viewers could find out which one of these were the truth.
- This is at the heart of the Disney series The Replacements, which is about a brother and sister living in an orphanage. They find a comic book with an ad in the back that will allow them to "replace" any adult with one sent by the company, and order themselves a new set of parents. Thus they end up Happily Adopted by a gorgeous British superspy and her husband, an Elvis-lookalike stunt driver. It's a weird family, but they're devoted to one another.
- As of the end of Avatar: The Last Airbender, you could say that Zuko has become this, after much angsting and finally deciding that he's going to consider Iroh his real father. Iroh had already started thinking of Zuko as a son since his own son's death.
- In CatDog's big movie about finding their long lost parents, they find out in the end that the parents that raised them as kids had adopted them. And were also a talking frog and a sasquatch. They never find out who their biological parents are, but are content to reunite with the ones that cared for them.
- The Amazing World of Gumball has an...interesting version of this. Darwin used to be the family pet goldfish, but then he grew legs and lungs, so he became a normal member of the family and he is treated exactly the same as Gumball and Anais by their parents.
- Donny from The Wild Thornberrys was taken in by the titular family before the series began, and officially adopted later.
- My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic has baby dragon Spike, who is all but explicitly the adoptive child of main character Twilight Sparkle, something neither of them have any problems with. It probably helps on his end that she hatched his egg, if sapient dragons have birdlike filial imprinting instincts.
- Block from Moral Orel, though it's an odd form of adoption. After getting Shapey and Block mixed up, Bloberta goes to exchange them with her former neighbors. Said former neighbor gives Shapey back, but doesn't take Block back. He becomes a regular member of the family from then on, and becomes best buds with Shapey.
- All three of the orphan kids at the end of The Care Bears Movie.
- On Young Justice Bruce is portrayed as a better father figure to Dick than in other continuities, though the latter seems to retain some unfounded abandonment issues. Interestingly, Word of God says that Alfred and Bruce did not have this sort of relationship while Bruce was growing up, but that Alfred regrets not trying to be more of a parental figure.
- Wheel Squad: Sure, Emilie Rotter still has her mother but she and her stepfather get along so well her birth father was never mentioned in the whole series.
- Some people either have no change in their relationship with their family, or take consolation in the fact that they share no genes with their family. Speaking from personal experience, it can be nice to be able to joke about family shortcomings by including the fact that you're not blood relatives. It's also come in handy to be able to disown my little brother. Take That, whoever has to deal with a biological little brother! But, seriously, it does also allow for one to be able to think things like "these people love me more than my own blood". And to reciprocate that. Blood may be thicker than water, but "kin" is thicker than blood.
- Only problem is that you have no idea of a family history of diseases.