Monday, April 25, 2016

Adoption and Dolphin Tale: One Mom’s Review

Disclaimer:  Our family doesn’t own a television and it’s possible, due to being screen deprived, my children are more impacted by audio/visual media than is typical.  Also, I’ve never publicly reviewed any product before and I’m not being paid to review these movies. Winter and Hope’s stories have profoundly impacted our family and I can’t help but share.

Photo Source

A few months ago, I stumbled upon the movie Dolphin Tale on Amazon. By the time I had finished reading the most helpful reviews, I had tears streaming down my face. While I adore my two sons who entered our family through adoption, I am constantly searching for ways to love them in ways they can accept. After reading the reviews, I purchased Dolphin Tale because I was convinced that watching it with my children was going to be a way to love them well. After learning Dolphin Tale 2 was also based on a true story, I purchased it and both movies have become favorites for all of my children. For reasons deeper than I probably even understand, all of my children identify with Dolphin Tale characters and the movies encourage them as they desire to live bravely.

Dolphin Tale is based on the true story of Winter, a bottlenose dolphin, who lost her tail and survives. Her story continues in Dolphin Tale 2, and there, we are also introduced to Hope- a young dolphin facing her own obstacles. When our family watched the first movie together, I saw a beautiful story about Winter who overcame physical obstacles and about relationships forged by a team committed to her good. After my nine-year-old enthusiastically asked to watch it for the third time, I began watching a different story as I watched it with him:  A story where Winter lost her mom, like he lost his first mom.

He watches the movie again and again noting Winter is OKAY.  

He feels this obstacle. Winter’s happy. She has a “family.” She enjoys her family. Her unusual “family” clearly adores her.
As I watch Dolphin Tale with another of my sons, I’m reminded that, against all odds, Winter swims. She swims well. We watch how hard Winter works just like my son is also daily overcoming obstacles due to his early childhood experiences and losses. He tackles those challenges with enthusiasm while donning a smile capable of lighting the darkest cavern.

We love watching Winter do the same- together.

Even our oldest biological son connects with the Dolphin Tale movies. As we watch Dolphin Tale together, we watch Sawyer- a child who didn’t ask for his life challenges and who is lacking specific direction- find friendship and family in unlikely places. As Sawyer invests heavily in others, it’s as if a weight is lifted from his shoulders and he’s free to confidently be himself.

As this child watches Dolphin Tale, he wants to be brave and unaware of self like Sawyer.

Also, because Winter is a dolphin, rather than a human, her story isn’t too overwhelming for our family to connect with. My children are not dolphins. None of them have been “rescued.” The story hits close enough to home without anyone having to relive traumas each time they view it.

As our family connects with Winter’s story, we are all inspired and energized to keep going especially because life is full of challenges. I’d recommend this movie for any human being because the message is one of overcoming, teamwork, grit, and the value of unlikely friendships. It’s about brokenness being the avenue to deep connections that eventually lead to unexpected healing. It’s a story about how the “giver” becomes the “receiver” of intangible gifts that far outweigh what he was ever capable of giving in the first place.

I’m better off remembering all of the above, and it is a gift that these movies are presented in a manner that is healthy for our entire family to enjoy together. As we watch together, we connect with each other.

Each of my children’s responses to Winter’s story tells me that my initial hunch while reading Amazon reviews was correct:  Sharing the Dolphin Tale movies with my children is one tangible way I can show my love for them and they can accept it.

Which is Priceless.

I share the story of our amazing kids meeting a very special dolphin HERE.

Blog Design by Get Polished