Thank you so much for your insightful review of the 1941 classic Penny Serenade film.
Yes, adopted children can be replacement children…
In the plot of the film (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penny_Serenade) we read that the adopted girl is replacing an unborn child lost in the earthquake of Tokyo of 1927.
The couple really wanted to adopt a two-year- old boy instead they are ‘offered’ by the adoption agency a girl whom they name Trina.
We read: Trina “not yet old enough to play an angel in the Christmas play plays the “echo” instead.” That is truly symbolic. In Greek mythology (https://www.britannica.com/topic/Echo-Greek-mythology), Echo is deprived of her own speech; she can only repeat the words of another…she cannot speak her own mind. Do we see the replacing theme in that role? A year later, replacing Trina has died from a sudden illness and is – again – replaced by a two-year-old boy the couple adopts…a tragedy repeated.
Any child raised in such a situation will need a lot of help to become conscious of such a role, maybe only later, in adult life.
The way forward is consciousness. If parents are not aware of the pain and grief they may feel by either not being able to conceive or by having lost a child, these difficult emotions can be passed on to the replacement child.
The replacement child may be a wanted child but in many cases it is not this child that is wanted but the other that is lost or has not come…
Therapy can help a replacement child to realize such circumstances which affected it and find new ways of coming into being…
Author of Individuation for Adult Replacement Children. New Ways of Coming into Being.