My sons begged me to take them to see the movie Kung Fu Panda 2 when it was first released. They love Po the panda and all things martial arts. I read the reviews. I saw the first movie and the extra DVD-only release, Secrets of the Furious Five. I knew that adoption issues were part of this film. What I didn’t know was how Po’s search for his birth family and how he became an orphan, would later come up in our own family conversations.
All too often, when Hollywood tackles adoption issues, they don’t do a great job. However, I was pleasantly surprised this time. The importance of knowing and coming to terms with the adoption story was portrayed really well. The fact that Po’s adoptive father finds him and does not know all about Po’s birth family or how he was orphaned was much like many international adoptions from China today. In the film, you see the great importance of telling the adoption story to children. Failing to tell your child can hold him or her back in ways you may understand only much later.
Once Po hears his story and comes to terms with his loss, he finds “inner peace”. I wish it were that easy. How wonderful if one only had to deal with loss once, just like in the movies. It seems that with each developmental stage of life comes new levels of processing the loss. Kung Fu Panda 2 hit a home run as Po returns to the restaurant/home, embraces his adoptive father, and calls him “DAD”!
I always want to talk about things much faster than my boys are ready to hear it. They need time to process these concepts, longer than I prefer. The questions did finally come. Father’s Day brought thankful hearts for being adopted and questions for which I lake answers. Although we have yet to achieve our “inner peace”, we are walking together through my sons’, and our family’s journeys as my boys grow into men and someday fathers. I pray that they will find the shalom, peace, and wholeness that will allow them to be all God has made them to be.
How’s your balancing act going?