This past weekend, Will and I took Owen to see Kung Fu Panda 3. Owen is obsessed with Kung Fu Panda, to the point where we’ve had many, many, conversations about not practicing his kung fu on Mommy. Or Daddy. Or the dogs. Or the cats. The movie was a huge hit with the kiddo, as I expected.
I did not expect to cry my eyes out.
A little backstory–Owen is our only child, and we’ve decided to grow our family. While we had our first child biologically, this time we are adopting. We’ve chosen a very progressive Seattle-based agency and will only be pursuing an open adoption. This means the birth family is involved to some degree, sees the child, and participates in their life. This approach is widely believed to be best for the child, but our friends and family and society at large seem to be pretty worried about it.
Kung Fu Panda 3 has some of the most well said and moving comments on adoption that I’ve ever heard.
For those of you who haven’t seen the Kung Fu Panda movies, Po, the titular hero, is a Panda whose father is a goose. In the second movie, he discovers he was adopted, and uncovers the story of how his parents sacrificed themselves to save him. In a cliffhanger at the end of the movie, we see a panda village and Po’s biological father, as he realizes that his son is alive.
In the third installment, Po’s birth father, Li Shen, finds him and brings him back to the secret panda village to teach him how to be a panda. Worried for his son, Mr. Ping, the goose, accompanies them.
Hilarity ensues and lessons are learned. Finally, the two fathers have a heart-to-heart, and Mr. Ping says this to Li Shen: “I thought having you in Po’s life meant less for me, but really it means more for him.”
Hear that, friends, family, and society? Having birth parents and culture in your adopted kiddo’s life means MORE for them, not LESS for the adoptive family. A child’s love is no more finite than a parent’s, and knowing where they come from, their heritage, and their birth parents is an essential part of understanding themselves.
We will definitely be buying Kung Fu Panda 3 as soon as it comes out and showing it to all our friends and family. And I can’t recommend it enough for fans of the franchise, blended families, and especially adoptive families.
Now, excuse me while I go hunt for some more tissues.