An Adopted Kid’s Thoughts on Escape from Gringotts

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My Thoughts on the Escape from Gringotts Ride at Universal Studios Orlando

from the quill of Jasmine Fink


It was really crowded at Universal Studio’s Diagon Alley area when we had to put our stuff in a locker. The park will not allow any bags or loose items on the ride so you are allowed a complimentary locker for a short amount of time. Then, we had to wait in line for a little bit. It was kinda cool waiting to ride. At the front, where you first walk into the building, there are some goblins working at the bank teller stations and one talks to you. The other goblins are working in a huge hall of Gringotts Bank that has three huge chandliers. [The whole story behind the ride is that you are a Muggle (a non-magical person) here to open up an account at Gringotts Bank.]

 

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After you wait for a while in the main bank hall/lobby, you go through a smaller back hall of the bank. [You pass offices of the various goblins that work at the bank. If you pay attention you will even see the goblin Griphook’s office. Griphook is a big part of the Harry Potter books. Visitors then walk into Bill Weasley’s office. Bill is a wizard and brother to one of the main characters in the books. Bill and another goblin show up in the office via video screen to tell you that they are taking you to your vault in the underground caverns.] After passing through Bill’s office, you are led into an elevator. You have to go down to the caverns to get to your vault that you are opening. Next, you get some 3D glasses. Then, you go up some stairs, and some staff ask how many people are in your party. After that, you are seated by four into ride carts. Next, you ride through a fantastic and realistic ride. I think that everyone should be able to go ride Escape from Gringotts.

The ride was very enjoyable for us because we like fast and jerky rides. There was a part where you got sprayed by a few drops of water, but isn’t very wet. We got thrown, hit, and spun. It was a lot like the sister ride in the Wizarding World, The Forbidden Journey, but this ride is in 3D and not as scary. (There are no spiders.)

[Spoiler Alert – My description of the ride itself]

 

Hufflepuff-daughter-adopted-hogwarts-orlando-floridaYou are trying to open an bank account. [You begin your descent into the caverns in your Gringotts cart. Bill and his goblin friend show up on a track ahead of you to attach their cart to yours.] The defenses are set off because there are imposters in the bank somewhere. Bellatrix, an evil witch, is warned and finds you thinking that you’re the imposters trying to steal from her bank vault. She hits you with a spell. You go down a tunnel on the cart and Bill Weasley [saves you by casting a spell that halts the cart. You see Harry Potter, Hermoine Granger, and Ron Weasley in another cart. They tell Bill that they are hunting horcruxes (magical items keeping the evil wizard Voldemort alive). The bank defenses throw the trio from their cart and trolls show up to take care of you in your cart.] Trolls throw you [and knock you off the cart track and you begin falling. Bill shows up again to hit you with a spell that ceases your falling.] You land at the spot Harry, Hermoine, and Ron are on the dragon and Bill saves you from the dragon’s fire by casting a water charm. Then, you are told to go into your vault, because you’ll be safe from Bellatrix and Voldemort in there. Voldemort breaks through the wall of the vault. Bellatrix is also there and she tries to torture you. [Both of them know that you saw Harry Potter and think you know where he is at.] Voldamort says, “Maybe a little dose of pain to help you remember!” Then, he blows a big ball of fire, but the trio on the dragon shows up and blows the fireball away. Last, Harry, Hermoine, and Ron get you out of the caverns, but I won’t tell you how. You have to ride the ride yourself.

Note: This ride may be loud for smaller children.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 8 – Parent Discussion – A talk about behaviors

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Chapter 8 is the introduction of two polar opposites in Harry Potter’s life – Professor Snape and Hagrid. The differences in moods are so obvious in the chapter that even the youngest of my children noticed the two characters. Professor Snape plays the evil and unfair force in Harry’s school life while Hagrid is Harry’s confidant and friend.

The interesting concept that my family drew from this chapter is that if you go according to appearances, it should be Hagrid who is the frightening character. He is half-giant. He is larger than a normal man with a booming voice. However, it’s the ordinary looking school professor that is causing ill feelings.

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As a foster and adoptive parent, my wife and I see behaviors in this way. What I mean is, sometimes there are positive behaviors that should be suspect and negative behaviors that really aren’t as bad as that might seem once you get to the bottom of things. Here are a few examples:

  1. Just the other day one of my children asked where mom was at, and I responded by saying she was at the grocery store. The child proceeded to ask permission to retrieve an iPad that was in my bedroom. Permission was granted, and the child continued to open my bedroom door and walk in on mom still at home and dressing for her trip to the grocery store. Most people would be so greatly embarrassed that the door would quickly be shut with exclamations of, “I’m so sorry! I forgot to knock!” The actual response was yells of rage at mom. Basically, mom was accused of being in the wrong and not being in the right place since the child had permission to be in the bedroom: a strange and angry response to an accident. After further exploration and discussion, my child confesses that they were scared and when he/she gets that scared, they just start yelling. It makes sense. A child who grew up in an environment of moving from home to home for 7 years and never being in control is striving to get control of an out-of-control situation by demanding/yelling that control be given to him.fink-shocked-parenting-harry-potter-foster-care
  2. One child continuously must be watched because anything that looks tasty might end up in their mouth. On the surface this sounds like a normal case of curiosity. However, most children with normal mental function do understand after being told and sent to the emergency room that one should not try to eat such things as soap, dirt, deodorant, glow stick fluid, other people’s flavored medications, etc. This seems like a behavior that someone with suicidal tendencies would have. At the root problem, though, is the fact that this child did not have food in the biological home. Even though our home has never once run low on food, this child is constantly looking for the next substance to make a meal from in case all food were to magically vanish. The behavior is not then strange but a survival technique.
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  3. One child in our home would walk around in a hunched over fashion and speak in a high pitched voice. This seems a strange behavior that would wear on the back muscles and make your throat scratchy. However, when you discover that this child believes that small and cute children aren’t punished or hurt, everything makes sense. If you can make yourself seem younger than what you are, you might avoid the angry eye of an adult. For this behavior, Margie and I actually spent many weeks forcing the child to stand straight and telling them, “Stand straight, and be proud of who you are.”

As a foster/adoptive parent, I’m sure that you have other interesting behaviors that don’t match up in a situation. Especially when you are dealing with abuse and neglect, there tend to be some interesting behaviors. I think the most difficult part is trying to rewire my own mind.

As a foster/adoptive parent you have to think differently. If a behavior looks like Professor Snape, you must figure out the root of the problem. Here are a few suggestions we have for discovering the root of behaviors but we want to hear from you also:

  • Ask the child what they need – We have found that asking this question sometimes yields surprisingly informative responses.
  • Figure out how the child has lost control – If a child had to care for themselves at a young age, it is going to be very difficult for them to feel like they don’t have control of their life.
  • Research the topic – Dr. Karyn Purvis and her crew are champions at assisting people caring for foster/adoptive children. Check out their website here: empoweredtoconnect.org

Now It’s Your Turn:

  1. What are some strange behaviors you notice in your home?
  2. Do any of these behaviors push your buttons? Why?

Help Others:

We would love for you as always to share you ideas and questions that relate to this chapter. We welcome the advice and hope to hear from you soon.

 

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

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

Chapter 6 – Parent Discussion – Have Fun With Your Friends.

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In Chapter 6 of The Sorcerer’s Stone we are finally getting to see Harry off to Hogwarts and away from his dreadful life at the Dursleys’ home. This
section again fills the senses with delight as Harry is experiencing things that he has never encountered before in his life.

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Molly Weasley is an amazing character. Here we see her charged with getting her four boys off to the Hogwarts Express and watching after her youngest daughter, Ginny. The whole time she doesn’t miss a beat as she finds time do a perfect mix of mothering, loving, encouraging and disciplining her children. It is evident that she is proud of all her children. I imagine that she is sad to see them leave her for the school term but excited that they are getting to meet new friends.

The children meeting new friends for some foster/adoptive parents has a bittersweet sound to it. I really want my kids to meet new kids and have fun with them. Why?

  • Kids learn basic life skills through play with other children.
  • I want them to see that not all families are alike.
  • They have a chance to learn about different cultures/customs.
  • Kids improve their communication skills through play.
  • Peer pressure naturally extinguishes unwanted habits when kids won’t listen to the parent.
  • It’s just fun!

The issue is that my children haven’t had a “normal” upbringing. They were neglected, abused, malnourished, and the list goes on. Kids from hard places have various coping techniques to put them in control and protect them from getting hurt again.

  • Hitting, kicking, biting, etc.
  • Stealing
  • Hoarding food
  • Setting things on fire
  • Cutting
  • Wetting the bed (any age)
  • Refusing to bathe
  • Acting out sexually (any age)
  • Running away from homes
  • Acting significantly younger than their age
  • Acting as a parent (they might have been the acting parent for a time)

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This list of examples usually makes people’s hearts bleed for children in these situations. However, things change a bit when I tell you that my son wants to come over to your house for a play date. I don’t blame them either. I want to be like Molly Weasley – excited to see her children off on a new adventure. However, I don’t want to be responsible for bringing other children in contact with a consequence of my child’s rough life.

As a foster/adoptive parent it becomes easy to be isolated from other families. If the parents themselves don’t show the concern of their child learning some behavior, my fear will take care of the situation. I watch my children play outside knowing that more than likely everything is alright. Fear (and maybe a healthy does of paranoia) is there to tell me that other kids could be exposed to something. Normalcy can never be a goal in our home. Neighborhood kids think its odd that the opposite gender isn’t allowed in bedrooms. (“Your sister can’t even go in there!?) Children aren’t allowed on couches covered in the same blanket together.

Living with all of this in isolation and feeling like the strange family can be taxing. It’s also deeply sad as the dream of a “Beaver Cleaver” family escapes you. I feel that it is vitally important for foster/adoptive families to meet other foster/adoptive families (in their area if possible). It’s amazing how encouraging being with abnormally normal families can be. It’s freeing to be with families that have strange and seemingly strict rules as you do to keep behaviors in check and children safe. Another wonderful support are those rare families that want to help you and learn about the special needs of your family. These folks will never fully understand your situation, BUT they are valuable support.

Now It’s Your Turn:

  1. What special behaviors do your children bring to the home?
  2. What are the “strange” rules in your home?
  3. Do you feel like these behaviors have the potential to keep your family isolated? Why?
  4. Have you met other foster/adoptive parents in your area?
  5. Do you feel like you have the support you need? How can you get that support?

Comment to Help Others:

Are there support groups for adoptive/foster parents in your area? Mention them in the comments below to help other families in a similar situation as yours. We also would love to hear your thoughts and ideas about this chapter. Thanks for getting the conversation rolling.

 

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

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