Star Wars, Rey and Adoption


I have always loved Star Wars.  In the summer of 1977, I must have seen Star Wars 10 times.  The first time my parents took my brother, grandmother and me to see a “new movie” in a very crowded theatre.  I remember thinking, “this is kind of a big deal….”  Not sure why I felt that way, but I did.  Fast forward 13 years, I married a huge Star Wars fan and even though I never remember the order of the movies, I love that we both love the series.

This is a Rey cut out at my local Target store.  (note she is looking directly at us)

So, Rey in the new Star Wars movie is by far my favorite heroine that the Star Wars franchise has introduced.  Yes, I still love Princess Leia and I love Chewy, but Rey, wow, she just became so real to me in The Last Jedi, and as an adoptee, I wondered who her parents were.  Where are they?  Why did they leave her alone on that horrible planet?

2017 was THE year that  I found my birth family after a 25 year search.  The fantasy about how meeting my birth mother, knowing my story and how it would all happen was nothing like the reality of reunion.   I had to let that go.  It was painful.

After finding out that my 5 older brothers aged out of foster care and that I had a sister that was also adopted and that my birth father was not who I had envisioned, and that my birth mother left town soon after I was born to start a new life, having more children,  I really struggled trying to make sense of my life’s purpose.

I was the secret she kept from everyone…  I was a 51 year long shameful secret.  When she and I spoke on the phone that first day,  she said, “I never thought you would find me.”  She didn’t know how stubborn and how much gumption I have and I would have never given up looking.

After the initial whirlwind, I began to wonder.  Did I matter?  Did all the efforts I had made to be a contributing, caring, kind woman even make a difference since I came from such a dark and sad beginning?  What was the point of trying if my own mother did not want me or care for me?   It was evident to me that she did not.

Then I saw Star Wars:  The Last Jedi

In The Force Awakens, (12/2015) we meet Rey.  Rey was a scavenger who grew up alone in the desert wastes of Jakku, longing for her family to return.  She had been there her whole life, living in a broken down ship waiting for the parents who left her there.  I am sure she was making up all kinds of fantastical stories about who they were, and what they were doing while she waited.  I understood her longing. I had felt it my whole life.

She has a gift, of sorts.  She does not understand.  But, as The Force Awakens continues, we learn, Rey, does indeed, have THE FORCE!

In The Last Jedi.  She trains with Luke Skywalker etc, etc, etc.

Then, there is the scene of all scenes.   We see Rey and Kylo Ren talking.

The following dialogue insues (SPOILER)

Kylo: “Do you know the truth about your parents? Or have you always known? You’ve just hidden it away. Say it.”

Rey: “They were nobody.”

Kylo: “They were filthy junk traders. Sold you off for drinking money. They’re dead in a pauper’s grave in the Jakku desert. You come from nothing.”

Kylo then says, “but not to me.”  

This is the look on Rey’s face when she said “They were nobody”   


When this conversation happened, and Kylo says, “You come from nothing,” every hair on my neck stood up and paid attention!  I felt so awful, almost sick to my stomach.

I wanted to take Rey by the shoulders, hug her and say, “You may have come from nothing, but you are EVERYTHING!”  

Rey has a gift.  That gift is the force.  Now, moving forward into our story, she has to decide what to do with her gift.  She has to accept that she is EVERYTHING despite coming from nothing.  I KNOW she can do it, because she is amazing.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi made me wake up and realize once again that I matter in my life despite starting out unwanted, and a secret shame.

I have spent much of my adult career in social services.  I have worked with the homeless, with prostitutes, with foster children, with women in prison, with victims of sexual violence and with sex offenders.

I have raised two amazing children into amazing men.  I have worked at a 27 year long marriage.  I have stayed faithful to God.   I have tried my best.

Always in my mind,  I have hoped that my work with those most in need would count for something to my birth mother when I finally met her.   I had hoped that my efforts to be a contributing woman in the world would cause her to be proud of me.

When we met, at the end of our visit she said, “you turned out good.  I am glad”
That was all I needed.

She gave me the force, but then, I have always had the force within my heart.

The force is Love.


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Robyn Gobbel, LCSW

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