In November, our family went to the theater to see Tangled. My parents were in town for Thanksgiving, so it was the six of us. Molley fell. in. love. She walked out of the theater in awe and full of amazement. It wasn’t her first theater experience, but to her, Tangled was magic. She loved everything – and I mean everything – about it. At the time, she was 27 months old.There it is, the second mommy's dilemma. How do we distinguish ourselves from the wicked witch who stole Rapunzel from her parents? How do we explain it to a young child? I've had to do it with my kids with other movies, and blogged about it here:
She couldn’t stop talking about Tangled. On the way home, she was going on and on and on and then she said it: “Tangled has two mommies. One of her mommies is a mean mommy. The other is a nice mommy. I don’t like her mean mommy. Why is she mean, Mommy?”
“Well,” I said, “One of her mommies isn’t actually her real mommy. That mommy took her away from her real mommy…”
Oh hell. I stopped mid-sentence. If adoption is part of your life, you understand why this wasn’t going well. I looked at my mom, who was sitting in the back of our SUV with me. She looked at me. The kids were in their car seats, in the middle row. They couldn’t see our faces. I changed the subject.
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.So, have you talked with your kids about how adoption is and isn't like stealing? About trafficking for the purposes of adoption?
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.
Very interesting to be talking to your six-year-old about human trafficking for purposes of adoption, without ever using those terms. . . .