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Wars can make new victims long after they officially end.

"What is a… 'Nazi-kid'?"
Klaus/Karin
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My Child Lebensborn (sometimes punctuated as My Child: Lebensborn) is a story-driven Raising Sim set in post-World War II Norway. The narrative aspect is based on the childhood of people who were born as part of Nazi Germany's local implementation of the Lebensborn program and grew up being stigmatized because of their origins. It was originally released as a mobile game in 2018, and was ported to other platforms, including PC and consoles, in 2021.

During World War II, Norway is one of many countries occupied by Nazi Germany. Due to many of the locals having the physical features desired for Germany's Lebensborn Super Breeding Program, many German soldiers came to father children with local women. When the war ended and the occupying forces left, a significant number of the Lebensborn children were left with now-single mothers unable or unwilling to care for them, resulting in them being put up for adoption.

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The game puts the player in the shoes of a single adult who has chosen to adopt either a little girl named Karin or a little boy named Klaus with the full knowledge that the child’s biological father is a German soldier. For the following three years, the Player Character and their child grow into a loving family. However, the child’s origins become much more relevant to their everyday life when they start school soon after turning seven: their classmates start bullying them for being the product of the Nazi occupation and adults are turning a blind eye when they are not engaging in ostracization of their own. It soon becomes clear that the child’s only true support is their adoptive parent, making it almost entirely up to latter to ensure that the child stays optimistic, assertive and open in spite of the situation. Unfortunately, the right parenting choices are far from obvious when any effort to do right by the child can potentially backfire because of the community’s hostility towards them.

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The game covers most of Klaus or Karin’s first year in school, during which the child will need to be parented, fed, kept clean and entertained. Accomplishing the tasks helping towards those goals consumes time units, of which there is only a handful available each day.

A follow-up game was announced in 2021, provisionally titled My Child: New Beginnings


The game provides examples of:

  • Abandoned War Child: Karin and Klaus were born to a German Soldier and a Norwegian woman during World War II. They have been abandoned by both by the time the game starts.
  • Actually, I Am Him: The game has a correspondence-induced case. The child's German grandparents are dead, so the letter sent to them to ask about the child's biological father gets read and answered to by the biologicial father himself.
  • Adult Fear: The parent's journal reveals their anxieties about how best to raise their child in the hostile environment, how to get them somewhere safer, and how much they should tell them about their birth parents (all questions that the player is allowed to choose the answers to). On the other side of the screen, it is very easy for sending the child to school (or leaving them alone while the parent goes to work) to provoke protective worry in the player about whether it is going to be a good or a bad day for the poor kid.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: The child is ostracized by the community for being half-German in a country formerly occupied by Nazi Germany. The player's role is partly to help the child deal with it as they see fit. The community is shown to not be a big fan of the Player Character either, some of its members outright assuming they are a Nazi sympathizer because they adopted the child.
  • Ambiguous Ending: In the end, the parent and child are able to leave the town, but the game outright states that, like the real-life lebensborn children, they may end up somewhere better, or somewhere just as bad.
  • Animal Motifs: Both the game proper and the trailer associate the child with foxes. During the game proper, the child shows interest in foxes and mentions taking inspiration from foxes during the period for which they are trying to deal with their bullies by outsmarting them. In addition to this, the player can make a stuffed fox for them as a Christmas present. In the trailer, Klaus is seen hugging that same stuffed fox and being gifted a fox-shaped wood pendant that his older self still has.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Getting clothing clean falls into this. The child getting it wet while playing will count towards the need for either a bath or a change of clothes, but clothing cleaned as a byproduct of giving the child a bath will seemingly dry instantly, regardless of season. Dirty clothing that was removed will have been washed off-screen next time the child needs a change of clothes.
    • Going to the store doesn't use a time slot, which is a good thing as unforseen events (that can use up a time slot meant for cooking) or free time (turning out to have time to cook after all) can quickly change meal plans.
    • Using the first time unit of a two-unit time period to feed the child with edible food that is already in the house, going to the store, then feeding the child any newly purchased item that doesn't require cooking doesn't use up the second time unit on the second child-feeding session.
    • Helping the child study during the earlier part of the game doesn't actually use up a time unit, despite the fact that not having the time can be used as an excuse to not do it. In cases where the study session can be missed entirely by doing overtime at the factory, the game rewards the player for being present at the house during the evening at all.
    • Patting the child can be done at any time without using a time slot, and refills their comfort meter (it's also the closest you can get to giving them a hug after a bad day). However, this option is removed in the last few days of the game, where the child becomes uncomfortable with physical touch and will complain if you try.
  • As You Know: During the tutorial, the child reminds the Player Character of things they know, but the player would be unware of, such as the girl named Liv they are talking about being their best friend or the local store being closed on Sundays.
  • But Thou Must!: Although the player will occasionally be given a choice to let their child stay home or not, the main plot events of the game cannot be avoided.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The train station seen when going outside eventually gets used to visit the child's Norwegian grandparents and for leaving town forever at the end of the game.
    • Any game of hide-and-seek with the child will suddenly make the player very aware of the existence of each piece of furniture in the house that is big enough for the child to hide in.
    • The player is unlikely to take much notice of the fact that the spot for gathering berries and mushrooms is a forest until the bullies from the school tie the child to one of its trees and leave them there.
  • Child of Forbidden Love: One of the first things that come out about the child's past is that they were the product of a consensual and loving relationship. It was still a relationship between a local woman and a member of occupation forces and plenty of people consider the child to be the product of something that shouldn't have happened.
  • Christmas Episode: The playable part of the winter includes Norwegian Christmas.
  • Les Collaborateurs: The journal mentions that there were indeed women who were in relationships with German soldiers for material gain and/or to act as spies, but that there were also plenty of cases of genuine Love Across Battlelines.
  • Composite Character: As the game draws from the experience of several Lebensborn children, the child technically has several real-life counterparts.
  • Dark Reprise: The game's main theme has a darker variant that plays during long-drawn events that are very hard on the child, such as the meeting with their Norwegian grandparents and aunt and the night on which the are not home at their bedtime because bullies left them tied to a tree.
  • Embarrassing Damp Sheets: One of the documents about the child the Player Character eventually gets their hand on mentions the (younger) child being prone to bed wetting.
  • Entitled to Have You: A couple journal entries mention this as a probable less official reason for the treatment given to former girlfriends of German soldiers:
    • One entry mentions that such relationships were not illegal, yet they were seen as treason on the part of the women. The sentiment still exists in the game's present day.
    • A later entry about the punishments mentions that those women got harsher punishments than people who had formally worked with Nazi Germany or profited from it presence. One of the possible reasons for the harsh punishment offered by the entry is people considering the women "belonged" to Norwegians and feeling betrayed because they chose German soldiers instead of local men.
  • Excrement Statement: The bullying against the child eventually escalates to the "urinating on the person" variant. It's started by Mr. Solheim, who even goads some of the students into it.
  • Featureless Protagonist: The Player Character's gender is hidden for the entire game and they are always referred to has the child's "parent". Their age gap with the child in unclear, as well. Anything else about their personality is determined by the player's parenting choices. Their hand is seen holding the child's at the very end of the game, but all it shows is skin the color one would expect from someone living in a small Norwegian town in the 1950s.
  • First Day of School Episode: The child's first day of school is the second major event after their birthday, which happens to be a few days before that. It serves as their first time interacting with the teachers and students who will to on to ostracize them for the rest of them game and the first time they get any indication that there is something unusual about them.
  • Fishing for Sole: When a time slot spent fishing fails to result in actually catching a fish, it will be shown as the player getting an old shoe, instead. There are various remarks that the child can make if present, including wondering if there is someone wearing fish on their feet somewhere.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The child-selecting screen has an unseen adult thank the player for taking the child in because the child can't stay where they are currently living. This hints at the fact that the child was living somewhere else right before being put up for adoption by their mother. Since it's 1948 by that point, a Lebensborn house is unlikely to be said other place.
    • Liv can't come visit for the child's birthday because she's visiting her aunt elsewere. The child turning out to have an aunt on their biological mother's side allows for one of the steps towards getting in contact with their biological father.
    • The first newspaper article read mentions that Norway's egg production is on the decline and has just gotten low enough to not be enough for both the local market and the export market. Near the end of the game, this has continued to a point where the ingredient bundle used to make cake, which contains eggs, increases in price.
    • An early journal entry intended to give the child context for their mother giving them up for adoption mentions that some of the women who were in relationships with German soldiers lost their jobs. A later entry casually drops the fact that caring for the child is the reason the Player Character lost the job they had before the factory in which they are working during the game, resulting in them being jobless at the beginning of the game.
    • When first taking about Mr. Berg, the child mentions that he's substituting for another teacher, Mr. Solheim, because the latter can't work for an unspecified reason. When Mr. Solheim gets to teach again later in the game, the player quickly finds out why.
    • The neighbourhood council will send a letter mentioning that someone in town has been heard speaking German a few in-game hours before the child is revealed to be prone to Gratuitous German.
    • One of the newspaper articles mentions two possible forms of adoption, with inheritance rights being noted as one of the differences between the two. The child's deceased German grandparents turn out to have set some money aside for them. Enough for the them and the Player Character to move out of town and start fresh somewhere else.
    • In the journal entries, the Player Character is shown toying with the idea of leaving town with the child and finding another place to live, which they do at the end of the game.
    • One of the child's possible comments about the mail is that they never get any. Liv's reaction to the child being on the receiving end of an Excrement Statement and request to be friends again is conveyed via a letter intended for the child.
    • During the parade, Mr. Berg mentions the possibility of giving detention to the children who trampled the child's ribbon. One of Mr. Solheim's Sadist Teacher moves later in the game is to give the child detention for skipping school to recover from one of his own acts of bullying.
    • One of the newspaper articles about the King's upcoming visit mentions that it will be to the delight to all local children. Just like with the parade, the child will sneak out in the early morning to catch a glimpse of the King whether the Player Character permits it or not.
    • The child only ever gives details about the circumstances in which they had detention on the first day, on which they mention having caught up with the school work they missed during their impromptu mental health days if asked if they managed to do so. After that, they complain either about Mr. Solheim being mean or just not liking detention. It turns out Mr. Solheim is doing things he really shouldn't to the child.
  • Free-Range Children: Partly justified by the setting being a small Norwegian town in the 1950s. The game proper literally starts with the child coming home from an unsupervised play session with their friend Liv and telling the Player Character all about it. After this, it's still the case on Saturdays, as the Player Character is working and the child doesn't have any school. When the bullying gets bad enough, the child starts thinking of staying in the house when they don't have school and the Player Character is at work for their own safety.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • The incident upon which the child steals most of the Christmas savings to be able to buy things for their new friends starts with the Player Character hearing a noise from the house's living room after finishing a task. Nothing is keeping the task from being fishing, which is done quite far away from the house.
    • The journal entry added in response to finding out that the child's father is a baker includes a comment according to which the child must take after their father because they enjoy baking. It's entirely possible to get to that point of the game with the only cake ever baked being the child's birthday cake, which is used for the cooking tutorial. Any subsequent instance of the child baking is up to the player buying the ingredients and choosing to cook them while the child is in the house, but buying those same ingredients is a non-negligeable strain on the household's finances.
  • Gratuitous German: One of the game's events consists of discovering that the child is prone to randomly using German words they remember from their early life during a time period in which anything having to do with Germany is strongly rejected. It's up to the player whether to tell the child to stop using their "strange words" or not.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: The child being half-German is enough for the community to consider them to be German and take any resentement towards Nazi Germany out on them.
  • The Hero's Birthday: One of the first things the player will discover on the first evening of gameplay is that the next day is the child's birthday. The friend the child was just playing with has given them a birthday present and it's up to the player whether they get to open it early or not.
  • Historical Domain Character:
    • It's a little hard to make a game with "Lebensborn" in its title without mentioning Henrich Himmler, the man who started it all.
    • King Haakon VII gets a few mentions and happens to be visting the small town in which the game is set on the very last day. One of the very last decisions made by the player is to decide whether or not to allow the child to get a glimpse of him before the two of them leave town for good.
  • Innocent Inaccurate:
    • If the player changes their mind about sending the letter complaining about the damaged schoolbooks/backpack after writing it, the incident in which the teacher reads the letter in front of the class will be replaced by the teacher making the child stand "with their hand raised out" during an entire lecture about war. Considering the main reason the child is being ostracized, it's easy to figure out they were being forced to demonstrate the Nazi salute.
    • The drawing made by the child that establishes that they were sexually assaulted depicts the male assaulter with three full fledged arms.
  • In the Blood: Several people are shown to believe that the child will inevitably betray Norway because they are the child of an enemy soldier and a woman who was in a relationship with an enemy soldier.
  • Irony: In the few years following the end of the war, Norway worked very hard to get the Lebsenborn children born to unwed mothers who had been sent to Germany back to Norway, only for them to be mistreated. In the child's case, it involved taking them away from guardians that were willing to raise them with love.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The bullying of the child first comes from their classmates, who, on their own, eventually go as far as tying the child to a tree and just leaving them there. In fact, the Player Character won't realize that the adults are just as bad until the aftermath of the backpack/schoolbooks damaging incident.
  • Love Across Battlelines: The child's parents were simply two young people in love who were on different sides of the war.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The player's choice between Klaus and Karin is made during the child's adoption, which is sometime in March 1948. They are both visibly younger than they are for most of the game proper, which starts in August 1951.
  • Multiple Endings: Deliberately averted by the developers, to avoid the implication that there is a "right" or "wrong" way to care for the child. The child's dialogue at the end does however vary to reflect how your choices have influenced their outlook.
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: The child makes good use of the color pencils they got for their birthday to express consequences of the bullying they have no words for. As one may guess from the premise, late-game plot-related drawings can get quite disturbing.
  • No Cutscene Inventory Inertia: Photos taken on certain occasions and story events depicted via still images will have the child in their default hairdo and outfit, regardless of what they are actually wearing; the only possible difference is whether the image is depicting Karin or Klaus. Some events downplay this by having the child change into their default outfit (or their only red outfit for Christmas) right before the event. It can still be jarring if the child's hairstyle has been changed with the comb or the outfit in question needed mending, which in normal gameplay prevents the player from choosing to dress the child in it.
  • Non Standard Game Over: The child can run away if badly neglected, ending the game prematurely, but this generally won't happen unless you're actively trying to be a bad parent.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: One journal entry points out that both the Germans who valued the child and the Norwegians who are ostracizing the child are thinking of genes the same way, one group thinking those carried by the child are inherently good and another considering them inherently bad.
  • Offscreen Inertia: The sum of money the player has on hand, the food that is in the house, the progress of any crafting project, as well as outfit the child is wearing and the state it's in (dirt and damage) will all remain identical on both sides of a Time Skip. At best, an already-dirty outfit might get a little dirtier.
  • Parents as People:
    • The journal mentions that the child's mother may have abandoned them simply because of how badly women who had been in a relationship with a German soldier were treated right after the war, which included being publicly humiliated and getting fired from their jobs. The mother eventually comes around just enough to inform the Player Character that her parents have some information about the child's father.
    • The child's German father has a family of his own and is afraid of what will happen if his wife finds out about the child he had in Norway. He will, however, send over money his parents saved for Karin/Klaus in exchange of the promise of not being visited or asked for child support.
    • The Player Character themself, who will often need to leave the child on their own after school or during emotionally rough times to be able to keep them properly fed or afford one of the non-food items. The facts that the child will get a little entertainment from watching the parent craft and that one of the generic "doing something fun" options is having a walk in one of the food scavenging sites are also easily abused to delay the point where actual play is needed.
  • Pen Pals: The Player Character can address the fact that Liv has secretly rekindled her friendship with the child by the time they leave town by suggesting that they write to each other. The way the player dealt with Liv giving in to peer pressure will affect whether the child still thinks it's a good idea at the very end of the game or not.
  • Permanently Missable Content: The school backpack needs to be purchased within a few days of appearing in the store or will be sold to someone else. The wool for the scarf and the stuffed fox needs to be purchased before the end of the playable part of winter. In the latter's case, it's because it's meant to be used to make the child's Christmas present.
  • Persecution Flip: A small Norwegian town is ostracizing its sole half-German resident in part because they believe that their German blood makes them genetically defective in some way.
  • Pre-War Civilian Career: The child's father has long returned to the job he had before being sent to Norway as a soldier. He's a baker.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Caring for Klaus or Karin doesn't bring any change to gameplay or story. The most visible change to the story induced by the child's gender is what happens during the child's encounter with verbally hostile stranger in late February: Klaus will be told he has "traitor-blood", while Karin will be called a "whore like [her] mother".
  • Raising Sim: The gameplay revolves around caring for the titular Lebensborn child.
  • Relationship Values: Your choices can influence how much the child trusts you, as well as "harden" or "soften" their heart. This is reflected in some of their dialogue, mostly at the end of the game.
  • Sadist Teacher:
    • Miss Hansen is at the very least the variant singling out a specific child. She introduces Karin/Klaus to the notion of being a German bastard via telling the entire rest of the class about it. She's also the teacher who responds to the letter sent by the Player Character in response to the child's books or backpack getting damaged by bullies by reading it in front of the class and calling Karin/Klaus a tattletale. If the player decides to not send the letter out with the child to avoid this, Miss Hansen will instead make them demonstrate the Nazi salute during an entire lecture about war.
    • Mr. Solheim is quickly dreaded by the entire class because of his extremely strict attitude and is such a firm believer in the idea that Germans are mentally deficient at a genetical level that he refuses to believe Klaus/Karin actually is a good student. He's also a sexual assaulter.
  • Sins of Our Fathers:
    • "Sins of Our Fathers: The Video Game" would almost be a viable alternative title for the game. The main motivation behind the bullying undergone by the child is resentment towards things their parents did. Their father for being part of an occupying force, their mother for being in a relationship with him.
    • Some choices will result in the child outright asking why they are being for bullied something done by a father they never knew.
  • Slut-Shaming: Being knows as having been in relationship with just one German soldier is enough for women to be considered a slut in the time and place in which the game is set. It says a lot that "German slut" has become the standard slur towards those women.
  • Super Breeding Program: The game is about caring for a child born to the most (in)famous case of selectively breeding human beings in recent history, so the Lebensborn program from the title gets a few mentions.
  • Struggling Single Mother: While the Player Character's gender is never specified, they are definitely a single parent with very little money on hand. It's possible to take an extra shift at the factory to get more money once in a while, but that means coming back home just in time to send the child to bed without dinner.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: One instance of getting bullied results in the child not being home at their usual bedtime and the player using the "early night" time unit (the one that can be used on a bedtime story) to find where the child is and bring them home. This means that the child isn't home in the evening either, which the actual player may pick up on as worrying in itself. Unfortunately, the game will only allow for a trip to the store until the evening's time units have been spent and wait for the child's usual bedtime to allow the player to select the child's location when going outside. This concretely means the Player Character is either doing chores or doing noting but waiting (if the time units are skipped) for the entire evening. In the end, the child is found having been tied to a tree by their classmates for several hours.
  • That Thing Is Not My Child!: The child's Norwegian grandparents refuse to acknowledge them as a blood relative.
  • Time Skip: The game covers strings of consecutive days between which days to weeks can be skipped at a time.
  • Token Good Teammate:
    • The personnel of the factory in which the Player Character works, which is explicitly stated to not be giving them any trouble early in the game and called "nice and considerate" near its end. Considering that the game is set in a time where losing one's job is a frequent penalty for any percieved cooperation with Germany to the point that it's the reason the Player Character is jobless at the beginning of the game the factory is a surprisingly peaceful and accepting workplace to them.
    • Zig-zagged with Liv, the child's best friend. She eventually caves to peer pressure but, after things get past a certain level of bad, she starts being friendly to Karin/Klaus again, if in secret.
    • Mr. Berg among the teachers (the two others qualify for Sadist Teacher as far as Karin/Klaus is concerned), if not most of the town's adults. Unfortunately, he eventually leaves.
  • Tragically Misguided Favor: The meeting between the child and their Norwegian grandparents turns out to have been a terrible idea for both sides involved, who only come out of it with a worse opinion of each other than before. It says a lot that the person who organized the whole thing, while relatively sympathetic and trying to make things go smoothly, is visually painted with the same brush as the people whose attitude caused it to turn sour.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The official trailer shows a man in robes skipping Klaus while giving out hosties in a church. In the game proper, the Player Character's only time interacting with any sort of church official is asking for the local vicar's help during the search for the child's biological family. The vicar refuses to help, which is in tune with what is shown the trailer.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Head shaving is one of the mentioned forms of punishment for Norwegian women who were in relationships with German soldiers.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: It's a Raising Sim, so it comes with the genre. While the limited time slots mean that taking care of one thing all too often means neglecting another, doing one's best to keep those meters as full as possible remains the caring way to play the game.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: As the game is ultimately an interactive story, nothing is keeping the player from being anything from neglectful to outright abusive as a parent. While it's easy to fall into both by accident because of the limited resources, it's also possible to choose bad options knowing they are bad or just because they are there.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: A realistic take on it. The child only has four outfits for the entire game, two of which are too damaged to be worn and need to be fixed during gameplay to be usable. Those same outfits can get dirty, will get damaged enough to need mending again over the course of the game and changing them when it's unnecessary is a waste of a time unit. There is also a comb that can be purchased at the store that will unlock two alternate hairstyles for the child and will cost about the same as a semi-expensive meal. Actually using the comb costs a time unit, as well.
  • Wham Line: At some point late in the game, the child refuses to have a bath out of the blue. It's the first impossible to ignore clue that they have been sexually assaulted.
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