We messed up. We always read the reviews, but this one time, we didn’t. You would think that we would have this down by now, but as we sat there watching this movie, my mind was racing…wondering what to do. Should I go turn it off? Leave it on? Should I try to grasp for some off topic theme? No…there was nothing to do but finish the movie, and pray. You might think that this movie had really naughty language…or maybe adult content, but that wasn’t the problem.
We found Bold Eagle on Amazon Prime, and we thought that it was just a non-mainstream movie, one of those silly budget kid flicks that would be completely harmless. And to a good percentage of the child population, that’s exactly what it was. But not to our family. The plot involves a baby eagle being separated from his birth mother while she has been captured by evil people with the help of babbling, ignorant policemen. The baby eagle spent lots of time in the care of a kind police dog. And then, at the end, the people who captured the birth mom turn out to be the bad guys and the baby eagle is reunited with his mother in a fantastic, feel-good ending.
Yeah….it really does sound pretty much harmless. But here’s what it teaches my adopted son. It teaches him that the people who locked up his birth mother (the police) were probably bad guys, confirming something that he already halfway believes. It teaches him that one day, there will be a glorious reunion with his birth mother…a reunion in which she has been looking for him for a long time, and it was the bad people keeping her from him. It teaches him that his birth mom was most likely a victim. It plants the seed that maybe we are just a temporary family.
I had never, never, seen these things in movies before adopting James. It never crossed my mind, but now it’s what we think about every time we sit down to watch a movie. Do you have any idea how many movies have adoption-related themes? A gazillion. I’m not condemning these movies…really I’m not, but I do sometimes wish that we didn’t have to be so vigilant. Movies that all the other kids are watching are many times a no-go for our family for that very reason. And let’s just be honest here…what kind of movie would end with the baby eagle being forever separated from its mother? I mean, seriously? So I get it, really I do.
It just gets frustrating sometimes. It’s a constant reminder that our story won’t exactly have a happy, feel-good ending. There will always be moments where he will look at me with tears in his eyes and say, “I just want to be with my real mom.” And that phrase will still sting ten years from now. There’s a really good chance that he will always think of his birth mother as a victim, and there’s an even better chance that he will always, always hope for a glorious reunion with her. Some days, it’s just hard. Some days, I am tempted to go through his birth mom’s entire rap sheet with him. But I don’t. I know that she holds a special place in his heart, and while I will be truthful, I won’t be hurtful.
I am reminded of a storyline from a movie that we absolutely loved, Inside Out. It’s a storyline that shows that our memories and emotions aren’t continually set on joyful. Sometimes they are slightly colored with sadness, and best of all, this storyline shows us all that it’s okay to be sad sometimes. We need to feel our emotions, big and small, pleasant and unpleasant, regardless of whether we want to or not. But going through those emotions with people who love us and care about us make it just a little bit better. So that’s what we will continue to do. In the meantime, I sure do hope for more movies like Inside Out.