Fostering BLOG

Protecting Alice

Fostering Alice Blog

Saturday.

Today we all watched Paddington 2 on DVD. We have been waiting to see it for a few weeks and finally got round to it today. We are always quite careful about watching these kind of films with our foster daughter Alice – what can seem quite innocent – can sometime lead to sadness and difficulties. It wasn’t long ago that we watched Finding Dori – having seen Finding Nemo, we were keen to see the sequel. It did not end well this time. It really hadn’t occurred to me that it would cause such emotion. We were left with tears and a huge meltdown, Alice was inconsolable – it had triggered some memories for her and a feeling of deep loss.

So Charlie and I took one for the team and watched Paddington 2 it a couple of nights ago – just to check it of course. Paddington is a story about a bear who arrives in London as a refugee, having stowed away on a lifeboat from Peru. Around his neck he wears the iconic luggage label saying “please look after this bear – thank you”— reminiscent of the labels worn by refugees in the second world war. Paddington Bear was taken in by well off London family – The Browns.

Like the Brown family in the story, we too have offered refuge to someone who needed a place of safety. In giving such refuge our lives have been disrupted, it is not always comfortable and can often come at great cost. When Paddington gets annoyed with someone, he often gives them one of his special “hard stares” (taught to him by Aunt Lucy), which causes them to become flushed and embarrassed. We would give anything to swap the tears and tantrums with a hard stare!! We have gone through many time of feeling embarrassed when Alice reacts. The film itself is charming, the first film may well have brought up issues for Alice – but in the capers that ensued she seemed to have missed the deeper meaning.

When watching the sequel, Charlie and I could see a number of issues that could come up – Paddington being wrongly accused of something he didn’t do, being taken away from his ‘foster’ family and locked up behind bars, getting in with the wrong crowd, committing a crime to get out of prison, being reunited with his foster family and [Spoiler Alert…] his Aunt at the end!

Despite the possibility of the themes running through film affecting Alice in some way, we decided to take the risk. You can’t always protect them from everything, we decided in the safety of being together as family it was a risk worth taking. Fortunately on this occasion, Alice didn’t seem to pick up on the same themes we had, instead she was more upset about the ‘baddy’ getting away with what he was doing and Paddington making mistakes in the earlier scenes. Lauren and Annie loved the film and were already talking about watching it again.

We know we can’t filter everything for Alice – there will be many things she will see that will bring up feelings form the past and remind her of the things she went through.

We will deal with them as they happen and hopefully continue to provide for her that safe place of refuge.

A Less Ordinary Fostering Family Blog.