Maya: This is Bubbles. She's a fish I found, and she's just a little baby.Yikes! Later, Maya was looking at a brochure with a map of the zoo (which we did not visit in West Palm), and she pointed and said, "This is the very actual fountain where I found Bubbles. And this is the very actual restaurant where her parents became fish fillet!" And my girl had no trouble at all eating broiled fillet of fish for dinner a few nights later!
Me: She's a baby? Where are her parents?
Maya: (It quite the gleeful tone of voice) They're fish fillet!
OK, and now to the story the title of this blog post came from. Maya and Zoe watched Ice Age 3 (which their oldest cousin Aaron bought them for Christmas) with their youngest cousin William while we were in Florida. They'd seen it before, and didn't have much of a reaction to it then. But one story line is that Sid the Sloth finds 3 dinosaur eggs, cares for them, hatches them, and cares for the babies. Then huge mama dinosaur comes and gets them back. Hilarity ensues.
Maya came to talk to me after the movie, and she said that when Sid took the eggs it was "like adoption, but it was also like stealing." Hmmm. So I asked how it was like adoption -- she answered it was like adoption because Sid was taking care of the babies but he didn't grow them in his tummy (discussion ensues about why men can't grow babies in their tummies).
So how was it like stealing, I asked. Because Sid took the eggs when the mama still wanted them, Maya finally explained, after some exploration that took us miles off course and then back again. I said I thought she was pretty smart to figure that out. Adoption happens when the mama can't take care of the baby and so AGREES that the other family should adopt the baby; but if the mama can take care of the baby, like the dinosaur mama in the movie, and hasn't agreed, then it is like stealing. Or, I said, it was like her finding Bubbles. It would be OK to adopt Bubbles once she knew that Bubbles' parents were fish fillet. Or, if the baby is left somewhere, like she was, we have to be sure to look for the mama and only if we can't find her is the baby adopted. I explained that was why she and her sister weren't little newborns when I adopted them. They had to stay in the orphanage first to make sure their birth families couldn't be found.
Very interesting to be talking to your six-year-old about human trafficking for purposes of adoption, without ever using those terms. . . .
Then the other night, we were watching Hercules. We've discussed adoption themes in Hercules before, but this time Maya was taking the lead instead of Zoe. And this time, Maya wanted to talk about adoption and stealing again. Pain and Panic, Hades' henchmen, stole Hercules from Olympus and were supposed to kill him. Instead, they left him on the doorstep of a couple who then adopt him. Soooo, that lead to more discussion of human trafficking for the purposes of adoption, without ever using those terms. We talked about the fact that the adoptive parents didn't know Hercules had been stolen. But we also talked about the fact that they didn't seem to do much checking around for his birth parents, either, and that that was not good. By this time, Zoe was in on the conversation, and she thought the adoptive parents should have done what Hercules ultimately did when they finally told him he was adopted -- the parents should have used the necklace he was left with to try to find his birth parents when they first found him. No kidding.
So, have you talked with your kids about how adoption is and isn't like stealing? About trafficking for the purposes of adoption? Share your conversations in the comments, please!