We took our boys to see Walt Disney’s new movie “Tangled” just after Thanksgiving. It looked like a great movie for the family, and we needed to get out of the house. We settled into our seats, and the movie started in typical Disney fashion with the baby being stolen from her parents in the first five minutes. I looked at my boys and thought, “IT’S TIME TO GET THE LIFEBOOKS OUT!” As I knew that I was going to have some conversations about this movie in the coming days, I began watching it in an entirely new light. By the end of the film, the heroine is reunited with her parents, the king and queen, making it just your typical childhood fantasy in which your “REAL” mom and dad are REALLY royalty, and reunion with them will be “happily ever after”.
Now, please don’t get me wrong. I really liked the movie. It was a well-told, tangled tale of finding your identity and sacrificial love. Our boys enjoyed it. However, I had to do damage control by discussing the fact that they were adopted, not stolen. We looked at their paper work and discussed the adoption process. This experience is one of the many reasons why you need a lifebook, and why you include the adoption process in it. You just never know when you will encounter a situation in which your child will want, or need, to see the true story of how they came to be with you.
One of the things that I liked about the film was how conflicted Rapunzel is when she leaves her tower. She is elated one minute, (“This is the best day of my life!”) and totally depressed the next (“I’m the worst daughter in the world!”). I’ve been reading Sherri Eldridge’s book “Twenty Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed”. She points out that adoptees can have both happy and sad feeling at the same time. This one scene in the film captures her point well. I can refer back to it when my sons are wrestling with those mixed emotions. It happens more than I realized.
What movie or situation have you encountered that brought up questions or mixed emotions for your children?