I took a few of the kids to see the movie Chimpanzee yesterday. As I knew it was a story with an adoption theme, I had reason to be nervous, because most of the time, the movie-makers don't get it right.
But this time, they did.
Chimpanzee is a nature film about a band of - you guessed it - Chimpanzees, in which a baby Chimp named Oscar loses his mother, but is adopted by an unlikely adoptive parent: the alpha male leader of the group.
Before you rush your adopted or foster child out to see this movie, however, there are a couple things you should be aware of. If abandonment and rejection are highly sensitive issues for your child, this might be a difficult movie for him to see, as Oscar goes through a period of time after becoming orphaned in which all the other adult would-be parents reject him. All's well that end's well, though, so if you think your child could withstand the stress of seeing Oscar abandoned and rejected, so long as in the end he is taken in and loved, then it might be OK.
On a personal note, I have to say I found it quite funny that the stoic, no-time-for-funny-business Chimp that took Oscar in was named Freddie. Just like no one would ever have suspected that he would have taken in this babe in need, no one would ever have suspected that my husband Fred, Mr. no-time-for-funny-business himself, would ever end up being father of six (including adoptive father to three). Nice, as parallels go.
One other thing about the movie that resonated with me: I felt there was quite the parallel between the would-be foster/adoptive parents in the movie (the Chimps), and all the would-be foster/adoptive parents among all us lowly humans. Here was this little one who clearly had no one to take care of him. And yet time and again, the Chimp Mamas closed the door on him. After all, they had babies "of their own" to care for. They were too busy. Freddie was certainly "too busy" as well. After all, he was the leader of the whole band, and he carried a lot of responsibility. But when push came to shove, Freddie took Oscar in, and guess what. He found the time to take care of him. He made the time. And he became completely devoted to his new child.
Can't tell you how much I loved that....
As a post-note, I have included below the few thoughts I shared on other movies with an adoption theme, as well as the link for my full write-up on my review of Kung Fu Panda 2 here.
Would I be treated to something like from "Meet the Robinson's" where a little boy is rejected by one family after another because he's not interested in sports? Because he spills stuff? Yeah, I LOVE having my adopted kids receive messages like this. Like if they're not good enough, we don't want them.
Would it be another "Despicable Me"? Would I get to see the kids in the orphanage be placed in the "Box of Shame" for not selling enough cookies? Or to have someone adopt them to meet his own needs and then return them when things weren't working out like he planned?
Certainly it could never be as appalling as when that horror movie "Orphan" came out. With tag lines such as: "It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own." and "There's Something Wrong With Esther."
But Kung Fun Panda 2 was amazing. A child. Loved by the parents who brought him into the world.
A child. Separated from those parents.
A child. Taken in by another parent. Loved and accepted as a son.
A child. Grown. Understanding where he came from, but still embracing that he is the son of the man who adopted him.
If you have an adopted child, take him or her to see the movie now. Run, do not walk.
And rejoice that someone out there finally got it right.
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Images courtesy: avclub.com, care2.com
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