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Chapter 2 – House Elf Sabotage – Kids’ Discussion


“‘Dobby had to punish himself, sir,’ said the elf, who had gone slightly cross-eyed.”

An Unusual Friend

Harry has made an unusual friend. Actually, this friend appears to have been forced on him. However he is awkward all the same.

Why do you think we would say he is awkward? What makes Dobby so unusual?

Harry is very much looking forward to going back to Hogwarts for school. I’m sure after living the summer with the Dursleys, all he can think about is getting back to a life where he is considered special or at least worth something. Dobby even sees first hand how Harry is treated by the Dursleys and should be able to understand how much Harry would want to return to the wizarding community.

Dobby didn’t appear to want Harry to go back to school though. In fact he was taking something fun and very happy and turning it into something very stressful. Harry Potter had to worry about Dobby making too much noise and ruining Uncle Vernon’s dinner party. It just seems odd to us that Dobby says he wants Harry to be safe but is making him miserable at the same time.

When I Act Like An Elf…

This happens to foster and adoptive children too. I can think of one child in our home that likes to go on trips and have fun. If you gave them the choice of staying home or walking around the mall, they would choose to get out and have fun. However, the promise of an event would lead to some sort of created problem. What do I mean?

Our family recently went on a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando to have fun at in the Diagon Alley area. This child was above excited about leaving on this trip. With six people in our family though, we all have to work together to get the house ready to be left for a week. This includes cleaning rooms so that we don’t come back to some sort of stench. This particular child doesn’t like to clean their room – do you?

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All of a sudden this child didn’t know how to clean a room. They avoided the task all day long. They didn’t understand how to put away toys. Their room wasn’t large enough to fit all of their belongings that fit there fine before. The kiddo eventually began to cry and walk around the house declaring, “I’ll never get my room clean!”

After an hour of crying, the “sneaky” option was tried on mom and dad. I was requested to inspect the clean room only to find that dirty clothes and toys had been shoved under and behind furniture. This find resulted in a total meltdown of tears and screams of phrases such as:

  • “Just leave me here! I don’t want to go!”
  • “You should just take all my stuff away from me!”
  • “Take all my allowance! I don’t deserve it!”

Have you ever done anything like this? I know that this kid is not alone.

I asked all of my kids about this.

Why would you do something so that you can’t have fun?

Why would you sabotage an event?

  • “It’s not that you want the bad stuff. You might not feel like you should have good stuff.”
  • “Sometimes you just don’t understand the rules or how to act in a new home.”
  • “Sometimes it’s just habit. Like you’re so used to sabotaging stuff and not trusting adults that you just keep doing it.”


Now It’s Your Turn:

  1. What would you do if an elf was suddenly on your bed?
  2. How do you know that your foster or adoptive parents want you to have fun? How do you know they want you to have good things?
  3. Why do you think your a special enough to have good things and have fun?
  4. How do you know that you’re getting upset? What does your face look like? How does your voice sound different?
  5. Jenny is getting ready to go to the zoo with her foster family. She is really excited about this and can’t wait to see the zebras. She was asked to do her normal daily chores before the family could leave for the zoo. Jenny really doesn’t want to take out the trash but she goes to the kitchen to get the trash anyways. She suddenly remembers that she will need a water bottle for the zoo so she fills her water bottle. She also will need her shorts and a hat because of the summer heat. Getting her clothes ready for the trip makes her really excited that she is actually going to see zebras. Jenny is ready for fun and DOES NOT want to do any work. However, she know that if she doesn’t do the work that she won’t be able to go. Jenny starts to get stressed that she now won’t have enough time to do her work. Because she is doing her job fast and not carefully, she rips the garbage bag. Trash is all over the floor. Her foster dad is disappointed and wants her to clean the mess. This will take longer. Jenny starts to scream and cry because other adults feel usually feel sorry for her and will do the work for her. After several minutes, she realizes this isn’t working so she starts throwing trash everywhere. When her foster dad comes in the trash covered kitchen, Jenny yells, “I never wanted to go to the zoo anyways!”
    • Should Jenny have done anything differently? What?
    • How do you know that Jenny is getting upset?
    • How could Jenny calm herself down?
    • Did crying or yelling help Jenny get what she wanted to do?
    • What should Jenny do to get what she wanted?


Kids’ Discussions:

Ch. 01 | Ch. 02 | Ch. 03 | Ch. 04 | Ch. 05 | Ch. 06 | Ch. 07 | Ch. 08 | Ch. 09 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12

Parent Discussions: 

Ch. 01 | Ch. 02 | Ch. 03 | Ch. 04

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Chapter 10 – Kid Discussion – Blending an adoptive family


“There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.” – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Ron and Harry just were not getting along with Hermione until they all had to confront the mountain troll together and then face the angry teachers. A birth family naturally has experiences that bond them together. When a baby is born, it is scared and helpless to be out in the open. In the ideal situation the biological mom and dad are there to comfort the baby and care for its needs. When a baby is learning to walk, mom and dad are there to comfort them when they fall down. When a child is sick, the biological parents check on the kiddo and make sure that they are nursed back to health. There are so many other natural events where a family (in an ideal situation) has a chance to help each other and take care of each other. This earns a deep amount of trust.


If you’re in an adoptive and/or foster family, you possibly didn’t have these experiences with your family. You have to work at finding the trust. I asked my kids about this situation. I wanted to find out what events made them want to treat each other like brother and sister since they are not all biological siblings. They all looked at me with odd and surprised faces.

“We’ve always gotten along,” replied my daughter.

My wife and I chuckled and gently reminded her that she was in counseling with another one of the boys for a time because they disliked each other very much. There was actually probably a time when we weren’t sure if all the adoptions could happen if the two didn’t learn how to live with each other.

“There was actually probably a time when we weren’t sure if all the adoptions could happen if the two didn’t learn how to live with each other.”


As we discussed things with each other more, I don’t think we could find one event that helped our family but lots of small events that added up to helping. These events were mostly in times of great trouble or when we were outside of our normal routine. For example:

  • We took a vacation for one week where all four kids were together for the first time. During the trip they had fun together, had to make sure that each other stayed together and safe inside the theme park we were at and they got into trouble together. This whole trip gave them stories together that they could talk about later. “Remember when we tried to get so-and-so on the roller coaster but he was too short.” “Remember the large hill we had to walk up in the middle of the park and we thought our legs would fall off.”
  • When stormy weather approached and a tornado warning was in effect, our family banded together while taking shelter. We waited the storm out for almost 30 minutes and within that time kids helped each other and comforted each other. Experiences and stories were created in that time. “Remember when we all squeezed inside so-and-so’s closet.” “Remember how scared so-and-so was and I held onto them.” “It’s funny to think that grandma had to get in there with us.” “Remember that so-and-so was so scared they accidentally farted.”
  • Every Friday our family stops everything they are doing and has a family movie night. This might be an old favorite like one of the Harry Potter movies or Wreck-It Ralph. We most often like to watch something new. The simple act of watching a movie together creates experiences and memories too. We actually are closer together as a family because of it. Recently we actually watched the movie Blended. It’s about a single dad and a single mom whose lives accidentally come together on a vacation. The parents and their kids do activities together at the resort. The experience our family brought away from this movie was a funny song sung by the master of ceremonies through the movie. Whenever he caught people bonding, he would sing, “They are bonding … they are blending.” Yes. Our kids sing that song anytime they see anyone in our family caring for each other now.

Now it’s Your Turn:

  1. Why was Hermione always so frustrated with Harry and Ron?
  2. Do you think Harry and Ron would have befriended Hermione if they hadn’t fought the troll?
  3. Why did fighting the troll make all three of them friends?
  4. What is an adventure or trip you have done with your foster/adoptive family?
  5. What are 3 things about the trip you can say, “Remember when…” about?
  6. What is the next adventure you would like to do? Movie night? A trip?

Help Others:

What do you think about this chapter? Your thoughts or questions will help someone else. Please put them in the comments section below.

Kids’ Discussions:
Ch. 01
| Ch. 02Ch. 03 | Ch. 04 | Ch. 05 | Ch. 06 | Ch. 07 | Ch. 08 | Ch. 09 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15 | Ch. 16 | Ch. 17

Parents’ Discussions:

Ch. 01 | Ch. 02 | Ch. 03 | Ch. 04 | Ch. 05 | Ch. 06 | Ch. 07 | Ch. 08 | Ch. 09 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15 | Ch. 16 | Ch. 17

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Chapter 8 – Kid Discussion – You Have To Learn To Trust


This is the part of school that most kids hate – having to go to lessons. Harry Potter is discovering that Hogwarts is going to be as much work as it is fun. During his first week he meets a new adult and reconnects with a friend.


I (Darren) asked my four adopted kids again this week, “What do foster and adoptive kids need to learn from chapter 8?” My daughter quickly began to speak about the difference in character of Professor Snape and Hagrid. Snape was seen as a scary person and was mean to Harry. Hagrid is seen as a gentle and kind person. However, all four of my kids pointed out that Hagrid is probably the scariest to look at.

Hagrid is a half giant so he’s bigger than most people. My daughter reminded us that he knocked down the door of the shack when he first met Harry. He has a large dog that most people would be scared to be with. If Hagrid was in a group of people, he would be the last one that you would want to go home with as your foster/adoptive dad. Snape was merely a man. Maybe he didn’t smile very much but he was less scary than a man that was so large.

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My son pointed out that foster and adoptive children need to take a lesson from Harry in trust. It’s scary to go to a new home but sometimes the new home is like Hagrid – it might look scary but actually be wonderful. If you don’t trust your foster/adoptive parents, you will miss out on a lot of good times and a lot of love.

I interrupted my kids from telling me about trust because I thought about how hard it was for adults to trust other people sometimes. When some kids have been hurt badly by adults, how can they trust another adult?

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Here’s the answer from the kid experts:

  1. Foster/Adoptive Parent Homework – The parents need to make sure that they are patient with their new kids. You also need to make sure that you are giving them extra care at the beginning.
  2. Scary Times – Kids need to know that it’s normal to be scared. You might not trust your new parents immediately
  3. Be Observant – Do your new parents cook you meals? Do they want to give you hugs? Do they want to spend time with you? Do they give you clothes to wear? Do you have a bed to sleep in?
  4. Make a Choice to Trust – If you see that your new parents are caring for you, you need to tell yourself that you are going to trust them. Again, this might be difficult at first but just keep telling yourself that they aren’t going to hurt you like the other adults.

I still was having a hard time understanding how someone could trust another adult when they might have been hit or neglected. The kids all repeated to me that it wasn’t easy to trust BUT you have to do it. You have to eventually let your new parents hug you. You have to talk to them about things that scare you or make you happy. You have to know that they are going to take care of you so you don’t have to be the parent anymore. You have to realize that the whole situation is like Hagrid. It might be scary looking but it’s the best thing in the world for you.

Now It’s Your Turn:

  1. What class would you like to take at Hogwarts?
  2. Which person would scare you more – Snape or Hagrid? Why?
  3. Would you eat rock cakes from Hagrid’s hut?
  4. Did adults in the past ever hurt you or leave you? How?
  5. Are your foster/adoptive parents kind like Hagrid or mean like Snape? Why?
  6. Do you think that your foster/adoptive parents will leave you? Why?
  7. What does your foster/adoptive parent do that makes you feel loved?

Help Other Kids:

What would you tell other kids to do to be able to trust their new parents? What ideas or thoughts did you have about this discussion and chapter? We look forward hearing from you in the comments section below.


Kids’ Discussions:
Ch. 01
| Ch. 02Ch. 03 | Ch. 04 | Ch. 05 | Ch. 06 | Ch. 07 | Ch. 08 | Ch. 09 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15 | Ch. 16 | Ch. 17

Parents’ Discussions:

Ch. 01 | Ch. 02 | Ch. 03 | Ch. 04 | Ch. 05 | Ch. 06 | Ch. 07 | Ch. 08 | Ch. 09 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15 | Ch. 16 | Ch. 17