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Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse – Movie Review

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Synopsis the Cover of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse by Sony Pictures:

“Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the creative minds behind The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street, bring their unique talents to a fresh vision of a different Spider-Man Universe, with a groundbreaking visual style that’s the first of its kind. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse introduces Brooklyn teen Miles Morales, and the limitless possibilities of the Spider-Verse, where more than one can wear the mask.”



Movie Info:


Grade:

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Transfiguring Adoption awarded this book 3 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]


Transfiguring Adoption Thoughts:

This movie follows the life of teen, Miles Morales, as he is trying to find his identity while navigating various changes including becoming the new web-slinging Spider-Man. The film takes hip hop music and a new style of animation along with an engaging storyline to weave together a tale which undoubtedly had many people running to the box office.

As with most movie this piece was not created specifically for use for foster and adoptive families. However, it does pose topics which could bring about healthy conversations for upper middle-schoolers or even high school students.


** Spoilers Could Be Ahead **


How Is This Relevant To Adoption & Foster Care?

While the main character, Miles Morales, lives with his birth family, he still struggles with finding his identity as he is no longer attending public school where he is well-known and loved. Instead the teen is attending a seemingly more challenging private boarding school where he appears to be at the bottom of the popularity barrel. In the midst of trying to figure out his “normal” teenage identity Miles is bitten by a radioactive spider and must factor his forming superpowers into the identity equation.

Many children coming from the foster care system or adoption struggle with the issue of identity. The topic of identity can be complex but this movie can help you to broach this topic with your child.


Discussion Points:

  • Role Models
    Forming relationships and having good role models can be tricky for anyone. Children from foster care and adoption backgrounds, who may find themselves struggling with good self-esteem or in the midst of long-lasting, stable relationships, can tend to throw themselves into any relationship which gives them attention. This might mean a child has a one-sided friendship with someone at school who is using them for a selfish purpose or a child may befriend someone who is making unhealthy/unsafe choices as long as they are getting the attention they crave.
    In this movie Miles Morales feels as though he cannot connect with a father who, in Miles’ eyes, is squashing his talents and identity. Instead, Miles finds more of a kindred spirit with his uncle, who makes questionable life choices but shows an interest in Miles and encourages his talents.
    This movie will allow you to talk with your child about the qualities they should look for in a role model, a friend, etc.
  • Loss
    Children who have been through the foster care or adoption process have undoubtedly experienced loss in their life. Reliving the emotions of this experience is naturally traumatic and triggering for hyper-vigilant behaviors.
    This film portrays several characters explaining the loss or death of a loved one. In each case the loss was traumatic for the character. This includes the death of one of the Spider-man characters as well as the death of the main character’s uncle.
    As your child’s stable caregiver, it will be up to you to ascertain whether this type of movie will be triggering for your child or not. After watching the film, it would definitely be good to be available to discuss the loss of a loved one with your child.
  • Friends
    As discussed above in the “Role Models” section, it can be difficult for children from foster care and adoptive backgrounds to form healthy relationships when they were forced into a world of instability.
    In this film Miles struggles with leaving his familiar school and territory to attend a private school where he is the odd duck. Through the course of the storyline Miles is able to meet various people who are going through the same experiences as himself and thusly, understand him.
    After watching this movie, it would be worth talking to your child about the qualities that both of you saw in the movie that made for good friendships.
  • Identity
    Many children from foster care and adoption find it a challenge to piece together their identity when they find they have information missing from their life story.
    Throughout the movie Miles is attempting to discover his identify through normal teenage trials. However, after becoming the new Spider-man, he is thrust into a situation where he is lacking a lot of knowledge and very few people can actually relate to his situation.
    This movie allows the opportunity for you to talk with you child about what “discovering identity,” even means. You may also take a look at the movie together to see how Miles figures out his identity.

Cautionary Points:

  • Loss and Death
    Your foster or adoptive child has experienced loss in their life. The characters in this film will talk about the death of loved ones and the audience will experience the main character witnessing the death of his uncle – not to mention the death of the a Spider-man character at the beginning of the film. We suggest watching this movie before your child if you know that death or characters experiencing loss will trigger your child about their own past loss.
  • Superhero Violence & Fighting
    Naturally, a superhero movie is going to feature heroes and villains fighting. However, some children from traumatic backgrounds may have a difficult time separating reality from fiction. Parents may want to view this movie prior to their children if they know their child is prone to acting aggressively or gets overly ramped up from seeing fighting/violence in movies.
    Also, it is worth noting that any scenes that may get adrenaline pumping can signal your child’s body to unconsciously remember past trauma that also may have cause a good flow of adrenaline.
  • Portrayals of Delinquent Behavior
    While most children will be able to pull away from this movie understanding that it was fictitious and created for entertainment purposes, it is worth noting that the main character and hero does partake in such actions as defacing public property, sneaking out of the house, and defying his parent’s wishes.

Buy From Our Links and Support Transfiguring Adoption:


It’s Your Turn:

  1. How would you describe Miles at the beginning of the movie? At the end of the movie?
  2. How was Uncle Aaron a good role model? A bad role model?
  3. How as alternate universe Peter Parker a good role model? A bad role model?
  4. Every spider-being lost someone close to them.
    How did losing her best friend affect Gwen? How did Peter’s loss affect him? How did Miles’ loss affect him?
  5. Why were Gwen, Peter and Miles seemingly able to become friends so quickly?
  6. Miles snuck out of his dorm to visit his Uncle Aaron even though he knew it was against the school rules and he knew his parents wouldn’t want him to. He really seemed to need to talk to his Uncle though.
    Did Miles make a good choice or a bad choice going to visit his uncle? Why do you think that?

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6 Tips To Build Relationship With Birth Parents

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As a foster parent, many of us tend to join the journey to help children. Before getting licensed many parents tend to dream about spending holidays with foster kiddo or celebrating the child’s birthday. We think about all the fun traditions and ways we can give the child special moments.

One significant person and relationship we do not consider pre-foster care is our relationship with the birth parent during the foster care journey. Usually we begin to really try to hash the relationship out after we are already in the deep in the middle of the journey. It’s too late to prepare our minds and emotions when we are in the thick of the journey.

Even though it is obvious, it is significant enough to state here that the foster child and birth parent relationship is extremely important to maintain if at all possible. Thus, it should be important for, us, the foster parents to approach this relationship in the best manner possible.


6 Tips for Engaging Birth Parents

  1. APPROACH WITH HUMILITY
    It could be simple for a foster parent to get a “moral license” from the fostering situation – feeling as though they are superior for caring for a child when the birth parent cannot. However, as foster or adoptive parents, we must remember that WE, ourselves, are only a few bad decisions away from being in their situation. We should NEVER look upon parents with superiority but with a strong humility that soberingly realizes we could easily be where they are at in a few days….
    How do you want to be treated?
  2. Reassurance – You’re Not going to take kids
    You are there to help the FAMILY not the child. It might be very easy to get excited about our own agenda for helping foster children or simply welcoming a child into our home that we can forget that the goal for ALL foster children first and foremost is to return the child back home.
  3. Expect the Worst While Hoping For the Best
    Never forget that you are quite possibly seeing your foster kiddo’s parent at their worst. Many of us have moments that we are not proud of but they are not made public to various strangers and agency workers. This is quite frankly embarrassing and can cause a huge hit to one’s self-esteem to the point where you fight to feel that you are worthy of anything. Possibly the way some birth parents hope to find reclaimed worth is by making the foster parent appear to be horrible so they seem better.
    It’s a normal response that anyone would unconsciously make when we feel like we are cornered – we FIGHT for survival. However, among all of these feelings while we are expecting the worst, we should still approach any contact with a birth parent hoping for the best outcome.
  4. Be Secure With Yourself
    When you don’t see eye to eye with a birth parent (or maybe even your agency), you need to remember who you are and not focus on what people are saying about you. As foster parents, we may tend to get caught up in the performance of our care for the children in our care. However, we must remember that our performance doesn’t make us who we are. If you get caught in this mindset, you WILL take a things personally and let things affect you when people begin to criticize your parenting skills.
  5. Communication. Communication. Communication.
    Throughout the foster journey one thing that commonly frustrates foster parents is the feeling that they are not being included with all the information of a case while attempting to help a child through the whole situation. We must entertain the idea that the birth parent also must be equally frustrated with the same system.
    Providing a birth parent with as much information as possible can (with time) alleviate fears of the birth parent and help to eventually get both of you onto the same “team.” What should you share with the birth parent?

    • Medical Appointments
    • Photos/Videos of Milestones or successes in the Child’s Life
      First step, first haircut, loose teeth, graduations, a good grade on a test, first day of school, first time driving a car, and so on.
    • Struggles
      Is their child having trouble making friends? trouble in math? scared at night?
    • Child misses mom and/or dad
      It can be a good motivator and comforting to know that you’re not forgotten and missed by a loved one.Be sure to utilize services such as Facebook, E-mail, and Google Voice to easily help you keep the lines of communication open. All of these services allow to create accounts that are not your primary services with all of your personal information attached to them. Also, be sure to consult with your foster agency about the rules your state as about using social media and sharing various information or photos.
  6. Find A Tribe
    Every foster and adoptive parent should have a group of caregivers which they talk and/or meet with at regular intervals. There is something relaxing and therapeutic about talking about your life issues with other people that are on a similar life journey. Other foster/adoptive parents will simply be able to understand your situation better and will be able to listen better. The foster journey is difficult and you will need people to help you get back in the game when the waters of life get choppy.

Transfiguring Adoption offers a weekly online support group which meets on Facebook and YouTube every Monday at 8pm EST. [Learn More]


What tips would you add to the list?

Comment below or E-mail us at: info@transfiguringadoption.com


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Ellie Jelly and the Massive Mum Meltdown – Book Review

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From the Cover of Ellie Jelly and the Massive Mum Meltdown by Sarah Naish:

“Ellie Jelly wakes up hungry and ready for breakfast but Mum is busy with her little sister; Grace. Ellie tries to get Mum’s attention: she bangs the table, she makes loud singing noises, but it’s no good. Finally, she decides to make her own breakfast, picking up the heavy milk carton and – OH NO – spilling the milk over the table and the floor.

Mum gets really angry and shouts at Ellie. Ellie feels wobbly and her chest is banging – will Ellie Jelly and Mum ever be friends again?”

Grade:

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Transfiguring Adoption awarded this book 4 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]

What Our Family Thought:

The target audience of this book appears to be the general public with the topic of how a family navigates times when a caregiver might have a meltdown. Transfiguring Adoption believes that this book is still very relevant for foster/adoptive families as many caregivers find themselves in more heightened stressful situations which could easily cause them to have a meltdown with children. This book seems like it would work well for children from ages 4 – 9 years old and possibly a couple of years older depending on the child.

The illustrations appeared to be drawn in a colorful cartoon style through the use of mixed drawing media. The images do a good job of bringing the reader into the world of Ellie Jelly. The figures convey clear emotions help to engage a child so that a family can easily progress through the story.

The tale centers around a little girl named, Ellie Jelly, who is not to happy about her baby sister, Grace, demanding so much attention of Mum. Ellie begins the day by doing various actions to get Mum’s attention. When Mum must leave the room, Ellie decides to take on the task of making breakfast on her own which ends in one mistake snowballing to larger mistakes. The result is Mum having a meltdown in front of the girls.

Transfiguring Adoption appreciates that this story seems to be a true-to-life tale to which families will be able to relate. The family itself speaks to many groups, such as single parents, traditional birth families, foster families, and adoptive families as it is vague how this family was formed. Transfiguring Adoption appreciates the author’s care for addressing the feelings a child might have when a caregiver has meltdown as well as taking the readers through a journey for healthy resolution after a meltdown occurs.

Sarah Naish has written several other books for children. While all of her books have been found to be very useful for foster and adoptive families, Transfiguring Adoption finds that her work is continuing to grow and become even richer. The only reason this book did not earn a perfect score was merely due to our guidelines requiring a 5 HOOT score to be given to media directly relating to foster or adoptive families.
Overall, this book is a MUST for caregivers to have on their shelves to help reconnect and have a healthy conversation with children after (or possibly before) their next meltdown.


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It’s Your Turn:

  1. Why doesn’t Ellie like being busy?
  2. How do you think Ellie felt when mom was yelling and banging things around?
  3. Why did grandma come visit?
  4. Did Mum mean to hurt Ellie with her words?
  5. Does Mum still love Ellie? How do you know?
  6. Have you ever felt like Ellie? How?
  7. How do you know your mom or dad loves you?
  8. Is it okay for people to get mad at times?
  9. What do kids AND adults need to do when they hurt someone with their words?

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