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An Adopted Kid’s Thoughts on Escape from Gringotts


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.]



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.






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Chapter 6 – Kid Discussion – Who should you be friends with?



Harry is finally going to Hogwarts and getting to eat as much candy as he wants. I have to admit that I want to try a pumpkin pasty. One thing that our whole family agrees on is that Bertie Bott’s Beans are dangerous. One of my kids got a grass flavored one and a pepper flavored bean. Yuck.

With the adventure on the Hogwarts Express, he is also meeting a bunch of new people and seeing some old faces. Let’s see. He has met the Weasley family, Neville, Hermione Granger, Crabbe, Goyle, and Draco Malfoy. Harry is quickly having to figure out who he will be friends with in this new place.

  • Ron – seems nice and helpful. Harry can tell he is very embarrassed about not being wealthy.
  • Neville – appears to be a very forgetful boy.
  • Hermoine – so far she seems to be a bossy person.
  • Draco – seems to think that he is better than certain people because his family is wealthy.

Choosing Friends

I asked all four of my adopted kids, “What do you think foster/adoptive kids need to think about after reading this chapter?” They were all quick to start talking about choosing friends. After all, if you’re in the foster system, some kids move from house to house quite a bit. At one point Harry had to choose sides with either Draco or Ron. He chose to befriend Ron. It seems easy, right? Draco is the villain in the book, so of course you shouldn’t be friends with him.

fink-pirate-adoption-angry-foster-care  fink-funny-face-adoptoin
My kids started splitting people into two different categories – good & bad people. I quickly asked, “How do you know if someone is bad?” I got responses such as:

  • “They look bad.”
  • “They’re rich because Malfoy was rich.”
  • “Malfoy’s parents were evil, so Malfoy is evil too.”

However, I asked if I was a bad person because sometimes my face looks angry.
“No, you’re not a bad person.”

A family friend has been quite successful so I asked if he were a bad person.
“No, he’s not a bad person.

3-ideas-decreasing-homework-stress-foster-family  I asked if Margie and I were “bad” people would the kids be bad.
“No, we would try to be good people.”

After a lot of talking, we came to the conclusion that all people are unique and special. A person might be doing something bad or something good. However, people do not need to receive the “good” or “bad” label.

How do you know if someone will make a good friend? 

My middle son noticed that Harry had to watch everyone’s actions to learn more about them. Harry noticed that Draco was treating other people poorly and decided he didn’t want to be with someone that treated other people in that manner. My son said that foster/adoptive kids need to do the same thing – at school, in a neighborhood, at church, etc. How are other kids treating other people? Are they making fun of other kids a lot, or are they mostly kind? Do they hit other kids, or do they use their hands for playing and other appropriate actions?


Making a friend is a big decision. When you have friends, you usually spend so much time together that you begin to act alike. Thus, if you make friends with someone that likes to tease other kids, you might start doing it too just to fit in. But if you make a good choice, your friend will inspire you to make others feel better about themselves.

Now It’s Your Turn:

  1. What candies do you want to try on the train?
  2. Which people do you want to meet from the train? Why?
  3. What’s an example of someone making a good choice at home?
  4. What’s an example of someone making a bad choice at school?
  5. How do you know that something is a good choice or a bad choice?
  6. Are people “good” or “bad”?
  7. What is a good choice that you have made today?

Help others:

There are other kids reading this blog with their foster/adoptive parent(s). What advice do you have for other kids about making friends? Also, we want to hear about any thoughts, ideas or questions you have about this chapter.


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 5 – Parent Discussion – You’re beautiful- that’s for sure.


If you have already read the Chapter 5 – Kid Discussion, you know that our family saw this as a thrilling chapter. It’s the complete opposite of the paranoid-filled and fearful first four chapters with a hint of OCD thrown in for good measure. This chapter is all about the senses. It’s about the excitement. It’s about freedom.


Even though Harry is being introduced to his amazing “new” life, he can’t seem to escape his identity in the old life. While everyone is in sheer wonder at meeting him, all he can think about is how uninformed he is about the magical world. He feels silly and dumb. Toward the end of the chapter he has spiraled himself into a low funk. It takes Hagrid to bring him back to reality.

fink-hogwarts-adoption-tennessee-harry-potter  doughnut-foster-parents-adoption-tennessee

It’s easy as a parent (forget the foster/adoptive title) to get down on yourself. The biggest difference really being in a foster/adoptive situation that we (parents) were not naturally bonded to our children. However, that doesn’t mean that our families are any less connected. It simply means that our families have to work at the bonding process.

Along the journey to creating a family a lot of things get in the way that wear you out. There are special behaviors that your foster/adoptive child has, our own issues from the past, special physical or mental needs, and then there is just issues of getting through everyday life. Suddenly, one day you look in the mirror and wonder if this is how you wanted to look as a parent. From there it is easy to slump down in a dizzying spiral of self-accusations and disappointment.

Just like it wasn’t right for Harry to define himself with a small portion of his life it isn’t right for us to do that either. Here are some attributes of a foster/adoptive parent that I would say are generally true:

  • Brave – many people talk about fostering or adoption but few go through with it
  • Compassionate – most likely the reason you wanted to foster/adopt was your sympathy for kids without a forever home
  • Resourceful – most foster/adoptive parents have to think of creative ways to help our children with their unique behaviors

Those are just a few of the many qualities that make you a great foster/adoptive parent. And yes, there are other qualities that make you a great parent. If you can’t seem to find those qualities, you need to find a Hagrid that will tell you about those qualities on a regular basis.

Now It’s Your Turn:

  1. What are at least 3 qualities that make you a great parent? person?
  2. Who are the people in your life that remind you of the great person you are?

Help others with the conversation:

What is something you do to treat yourself to a some quality time away from the kiddos? Bubble bath? A date night? a movie? Let us know and give the rest of us some ideas. We also want to hear your thoughts and ideas from this chapter.


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