Sonny Koufax (Adam Sandler) is an unreliable, unmotivated bachelor who lives in New York City and has declined to take on adult responsibility. He has a degree in law but has chosen not to take the bar exam since he was awarded $200,000 in a vehicle accident compensation 2 years prior, and lives off his restitution. He works one day a week as a tollbooth attendant.
Sixteen-year-old Minnesota high-schooler Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) discovers she is pregnant with a child fathered by her friend and longtime admirer, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). She initially considers an abortion. Going to a local clinic run by a women's group, she encounters outside a schoolmate who is holding a rather pathetic one-person pro-life vigil. Once inside, however, Juno is alienated by the clinic staff's authoritarian and bureaucratic attitudes. She is particularly offended by their calling her "sexually active", a term which she feels demeans the highly emotional event by which she became pregnant. All of this decides her against abortion, and she decides to give the baby up for adoption. With the help of her friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby), Juno searches the ads in the Pennysaver and finds a couple she feels will provide a suitable home. She tells her parents, Mac (J.K. Simmons) and stepmother, Bren (Allison Janney), who offer their support. With Mac, Juno meets the couple, Mark and Vanessa Loring (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner), in their expensive home and agrees to a closed adoption.
In Harlem, 10-year-old Annie Bennett lives in foster care with several other girls in the care of the cruel Colleen Hannigan. She spends each Friday waiting outside the restaurant Domani's where she believes her parents will return to collect her.
London journalist Martin Sixsmith has lost his job as a government adviser. He is approached at a party by the daughter of Philomena Lee. She suggests that he write a story about her mother, who was forced to give up her toddler son Anthony nearly fifty years ago. Though Sixsmith is initially uninterested in writing a human interest story, he meets Philomena and decides to investigate her case.
In 1933, during The Great Depression, a young orphan named Annie is living in the Hudson Street Orphanage in New York City. One night, Annie comforts one of the youngest orphans by singing to her (“Maybe”). The orphanage's cruel and alcoholic supervisor Agatha Hannigan hears the singing, and punishes the orphans by making them clean up the orphanage ("It's the Hard Knock Life"). Later while trying to flee in a laundry truck, Annie rescues a dog being tormented by a group of boys. She names him Sandy after convincing a dogcatcher that he is hers (“Dumb Dog”), and the pair is escorted back to the orphanage. Soon after, Miss Hannigan discovers Sandy and threatens to send him to the sausage factory (“Sandy”). However, Grace Farrell, a secretary to billionaire Oliver Warbucks, arrives, saying that he wants an orphan to stay at his mansion for a week to help his image. Despite Hannigan's objections, Grace picks Annie and allows Sandy to accompany her.
The film is told from the perspective of Cindy (Jennifer Garner) and Jim Green (Joel Edgerton), as they explain their experience with Timothy (CJ Adams) in an effort to persuade an adoption agency to allow the couple to adopt a child.
Kate and John Coleman (Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard) are experiencing strains in their marriage after their third child was stillborn. The loss is particularly hard on Kate, who is also recovering from alcoholism. The couple decides to adopt a 9-year-old Russian girl, Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) from a local orphanage. While Kate's and John's deaf daughter Max (Aryana Engineer) embraces Esther immediately, their son Daniel (Jimmy Bennett) is less welcoming. Kate suspects that there might be problems in Esther's background when Esther's knowledge of sex extends beyond her age. Her suspicions deepen when Esther seriously injures another girl who had bullied her.
Oscar is the nickname given by the narrator (Tim Allen) to a young chimpanzee in his toddler years. He is part of a close-knit tribe of chimpanzees. They occupy a forest territory which is rich in native fruits, nuts, and figs, among other things. The chimps hunt small tree monkeys, and they also eat termites collected with primitive tools made from sticks. They also use rocks as tools to crack nuts. Oscar is tended by his mother, nicknamed Isha, and from her he begins learning many things about how to survive in the jungle. In the chaos of an attempted raid by a rival gang of chimpanzees led by 'Scar', Isha is injured and separated from the group and her son. As told by the narrator, Isha is most probably the victim of a nocturnal leopard.
The film tells the story of Hortense Cumberbatch, a successful black middle class optometrist in London, who is adopted and has chosen to trace her family history after the death of her adoptive mother. After being warned by public officials about the troubles she could face by tracking her birth mother down, she continues her investigation and is baffled to learn that her birth mother is white but does not resent her and wants to know more about her past. Her birth mother, Cynthia Purley, is working class and downwardly mobile. Hortense meets her and later meets Cynthia's brother, Maurice Purley, a photographer, his wife Monica, and Cynthia's daughter Roxanne, a street cleaner.
David Gordon (John Cusack), a popular science fiction author, was widowed when his wife Mary died as they were trying to adopt a child. Two years later, David is finally matched with a young boy named Dennis (Bobby Coleman). Socially awkward, Dennis believes he is from Mars and only goes outdoors when under the cover of a large box to block out the sun's harmful rays. Although initially hesitant to adopt a boy by himself, David recognizes a part of him in Dennis and slowly coaxes him out of the box and into his home.
When she was 14, Karen (Annette Bening) became pregnant and gave her daughter up for adoption. The decision to give up her child has always haunted her. Upon meeting laid-back Paco (Jimmy Smits), Karen permits her anxiety and mistrust to get the best of her. She gradually calms her anxiety through the relationship with Paco.
The film chronicles the experience of a gay Swedish couple, Sven (Torkel Petersson) and Göran Skoogh (Gustaf Skarsgård) as they move into a new suburban neighborhood and adopt a child, beginning with their welcoming party. After meeting their new neighbors and settling into their jobs, they decide to adopt a child. Although they are married, no country is willing to let a gay couple adopt any of its children. After initially being turned down by the adoption agency, a Swedish orphan becomes available, whom they readily agree to adopt. However, a typographical error on the papers changed the child's age from "15" to "1.5". When their new son Patrik (Tom Ljungman) arrives, they are shocked to find him a troubled teenager with a criminal background.
In Westport, Connecticut, Augie and Isolde Poole celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary by turning in an application to the Rock-a-Bye adoption agency. Encouraged by their friends and next-door neighbors, Dick and Alice Pepper, who have three children and another due, Isolde, who has been unsuccessful in her attempts to become pregnant, is determined that she and Augie will eventually be parents. While awaiting news of the application to the agency, Isolde decides that she and Augie should continue to try to have a baby on their own, and she enthusiastically follows all the latest advice by pregnancy experts.