I took my boys to see Moana in theaters. The movie awakened my sense of laughter and my sense of sadness. The movie is about Moana, a little girl who follows her heart and goes on an adventure at sea. She meets Maui, a demigod, and together they trek across the ocean, trying to bring back magic that will give Moana’s island life and vigor once again.

I am watching this movie, and being a writer for adoption.com, I am always on the lookout for movies and shows with adoption themes. No matter how big or small the themes may be I always make a point of trying to bring them to light in a write up if I can. So, my boys and I are deeply engrossed in Moana, and Maui slowly opens up about his past, and how his past has molded him into the person, or demigod, he had become. He tells Moana how when he was born, his parents, who were human, didn’t want him, and cast him into the sea. The Gods saw Maui in the sea, and rescued him. They turned him from a human into a demigod. Maui decided he wanted to give humans something they would love him for, and accept him as a result. He decided he would steal the heart of a Goddess named Te Fiti. He was searching for that love his parents denied him. Maui states that he searched for his whole life for the heart of Te Fiti to give it to the humans, to make them love him, but, “It was never enough.”

Some adopted children feel this way, trying to be accepted and liked by their biological family, but they just don’t open their arms and taken them in, no matter what the children do. The children may call them, send letters, and neither is ever returned. The result is a child feeling left out, let down, and heartbroken. Maui felt this way. As a side note, and an important one: I understand most, if not all birth parents do not throw their children away as if they were nothing. I saw this movie though, and I started to think about how some adoptees will strive to be loved and accepted by their biological families, and some will go to extreme lengths just to be accepted by them. In my adoption situation, when I met my biological family, I wanted them to like me. I even made magnets with our pictures on them and sent them out, wanting them to like me and accept me into their family circle.

Through the years, Maui grows to be a man who doubts himself. He thinks he is no good and can do no right for anyone, including himself. He was adopted by the Gods and given these magical powers, but he believes these powers are not his own. He didn’t choose who he was. He was rejected by his biological parents, saved by another set of parents, and then given his identity. Think about adoptees. Some feel they don’t know whom they are, because they don’t know where they come from, whom they resemble. Many follow the paths guided by their adoptive parents, because they are their parents. They are the ones who are raising them. Yet, maybe some talent will go untouched, because heredity is an unknown. Moana tells Maui that yes, the Gods rescued him and healed him, gave him love and helped him. She tells him that his identity though, that he created himself. He is who he is because he chose to be. True the Gods gave him the powers he has, but how he uses those powers, and how he chooses to live his life, those decisions are made up of Maui’s own truths, which make up his own identity.

So although adoptees may follow a path their adoptive parents lay out for them, how they walk that path, how much they devote to that path, those are their own truths that create their identities.

Have you seen Moana? What did you think? You can watch the trailer here.