However, the heartfelt animated movie might have some top secret governmental background, according to Reddit user kapu_koa's interesting fan theory. They claim either one or both of Lilo and Nani's parents were actually in the CIA, which surprisingly explains a lot.
Their parents died before the events in the movie took place, but kapu_koa posterizes as to their day jobs before their fatal car accident.
The theory involves the mean-mugger Cobra Bubbles.
In case you forgot, Cobra Bubbles was originally a CIA agent before becoming a social worker. That's quite a major career change, no? Kapu_koa states, "We're led to believe a CIA agent who was involved in alien contact just walked away to become a social worker? I think not. Not without a damn good reason. That reason is his old friend and partner, Lilo's father."
Basically, Lilo's father (and/or her mother) was coworkers with Bubbles during their CIA days, which explains why Bubbles hasn't yanked Lilo out of her current living environment under Nani's care.
Bubbles jeopardizes his own job up until a point.
Kapu_koa elaborates on this idea by claiming, "Lilo's behavioral problems, the state of their house, and the frequency Lilo is left to her own devices would have any other social worker taking Lilo out of that environment well before the events of the film, or at the very least intervening with some sort of court ordered therapy."
This explains why Nani's "been adrift in the sheltered harbor of [Bubbles'] patience," but patience can only run so thin before a person snaps. Bubbles cuts them some slack (when he really shouldn't have, I mean, come on) in honor of his late friend, but he's not gonna risk ultimately losing his job over it.
Lilo's fascination with photography is also a significant factor.
An avid shutterbug, Lilo proudly tells her big sis, "My camera's full again!" as Nani scrunches up her face in annoyance. Clearly, Lilo fills up her camera often, but kapu_koa doesn't think it's only because she likes the art of photography.
"I think Lilo's father may have brought her on a low risk surveillance assignment there on the island, knowing that no one would look twice at a father and daughter taking pictures together, he used her as a cover of sorts." Since the majority of Lilo's subjects seem to be of overweight people, kapu_koa theorizes "the target was an overweight person, something Lilo distinctly remembers, and now she takes the same pictures as a way of remaining close to her deceased father." Oof, right in the feels.
Furthermore, Lilo's strange taste in books is also an important component to the theory.
Not many little girls read books about oyster farming or Iowa's roadmaps, which is why kapu_koa thinks Lilo's book collection is similar to her photography subjects. "Her father likely had many books of wide ranging topics he read to research for his various overseas undercover assignments, which she noticed and tries to emulate." Boom, right in the feels again.
But wait, are Lilo's parents actually dead?
Many of the comments on kapu_koa's Reddit suggest Lilo's parents are alive after all, but are either in the witness protection program or on some galactic assignment. Dun dun dun!
However, other comments think the parents are deceased, based on an episode of "Lilo & Stitch: The Series." I guess until Disney execs say yay or nay to this theory, we'll never know for certain.