|Lost Boy "Eggs"|
where he meets the daughter of the town's ruler. Together they save the Boxtrolls and destroy the evil-doer. It's nominated for an Oscar in the animated category. Coraline, another movie from the same makers, also has an adoption theme, this time with two sets of competing parents. Coraline rescues her "real" parents, people who look like her and share her interests.
We know the adoption theme from classical works--Oedipus, Romulus and Remus and from recent
Almost as common are stories which center around adoptive parents who rescue an orphaned child whose differences threaten to undo the relationship. In Paddington, an English family takes in a loveable but clumsy Peruvian bear and saves him from an evil taxidermist. At the end of the movie, the patriarch pronounces that while Paddington is different from the rest of the family and came from far away, they love him just as if he were one of their own. The same words are oft repeated by adoptive parents although the experience of many adoptees disputes these words. The relationship between an adoptive parent and child may be loving--but it is different from that of a natural parent and child. The many comments we have had from adoptees who were followed by natural, biological children in a family are testimony to that.
Annie portrays adoption from the viewpoints of both the adoptee, and the adoptive parent. Annie is a foster child trying to find her parents. A rich man running for mayor of New York takes her in, hoping it will increase his appeal to voters. Eventually, he gives up his career and adopts Annie.
In all adoption-themed stories, adoption is a tool to create the conflict necessary to fiction. I tend
to think, though, that our fascination with these tales goes farther. There's primordial recognition that natural families belong together. When the natural order breaks down, strife is inevitable. Adoptive parents substitute for, but don't replace, natural, biological parents. Children (or bears) may adapt to a new family, but differences remain. No one is ever truly "as if born to," because that is impossible. Unless the luck of the draw deposited individuals born into other families with people with whom they share genetically wired characteristics, adoptee individuals, like Paddington, will be different.
The authors of these tales--Sophocles, Dickens, Anderson, Grimm and countless others--recognized the basic, primal differences in adoptive families, as well as the instinctual yearning of individuals to return to their original families, just as the Korean adoptees we wrote about the other day are returning to their homeland. Keeping mothers and children together ought to be a goal, not a disappointment to people who want to adopt. Those who promote adoption should take heed of these lessons.--jane
Reference to the adventure story, Eragon
Korean adoptees are returning to their native land
Journey Of The Adopted Self: A Quest For Wholeness by Betty Jean Lifton
"For people adopted in the era after books like The Adoption Triangle and The Primal Wound were published, this Journey may seem like wallowing or old hat, but this book was invaluable to me. Reading it and dealing with the feelings it provoked was step one on my journey to healing. This book gave me the courage to find my birth mother. When I was a teenager, the birth mother search was unthinkable, open adoptions didn't exist, and the epithet b*stard was anything but a badge of pride.
"If you read this and feel it doesn't apply to you because being adopted doesn't matter, please leave a little space in your head and heart to consider that it just might matter a little bit. Try reading it again in a year or two. If it still doesn't apply to you, count yourself lucky, and have compassion for those of us who feel we were traumatized by adoption."--a reader at Amazon
THANK YOU FOR ORDERING ANYTHING AT AMAZON THROUGH FMF.