The hole in your child’s heart

Situation: Your child tells you stories about how wonderful his life was with his biological parents, all the fun they had, the places they went, how much they loved him.

Reality: Uhhh…. NOT!

There will always be a hole in the heart of adoptees. It can never be completely filled.

Some of the hole is “why”:  Why was I given up?  Why couldn’t they take care of me?  Why did they leave me?  Why wasn’t I good enough?  Was there something wrong with me?  Was I bad?

Some of the hole is “what”: What is my history? What nationality am I?  What religion were my folks? What were family traditions?  What happened to my birth parents?  What were the circumstances around giving me up?

Some of the hole “desire”:  This innate, unconscious desire to be connected with birth family.  It may be illogical, it may even go against memories that the child holds of the birth family, knowing it was a horrible situation – but the desire is still there.

All adoptees have this hole, in some it’s bigger, in some it’s smaller, but no matter how good or happy the circumstances of adoption, no matter how good or healthy the in utero days were, that hole still exists. Acknowledging those feelings and letting the child have those feelings is very important, critical, in fact, to having a healthy, well adjusted child.  Helping them know the truth as you know it early on (age appropriate) is also very important, because if they don’t have “why” they fill it up with fantasy, outlandish fantasy, which is hard to erase as it becomes their reality and their truth.

Your truth is this: you will never be able to fill that hole.  That is not your failure as an adoptive mom, it is just one of those losses of adoption.

Let me get personal here.  I am 50 yrs old and I still have that hole. Does it bother me in daily life? No. But it is always there. And I know, I’ve always felt, that my birth mother loved me before I was born and that she did not give me up because she was selfish but because she wanted me to have a life she couldn’t give me, as a young teen, not even out of high school, in the 1960s, where girls were shunned. Yet, the hole is still there. I have no idea why.  My brother and sister, older than me – same adoptive parents, same parenting fails and wins growing up, adopted at 1 and 3 days old, have a much bigger hole than I do.  Personality?  Genetics?  I don’t know why.  Their holes led them to addiction and self-destructive behavior.  There’s no rhyme or reason to it that we can see.  Of course with the 3 of us we have no idea what our biological parents’ personalities, genetics, etc were, or what the in utero experience was for each of us, and that certainly played a role.  Quite likely you don’t know for your adoptive children as well.

Bottom line is:  that hole exists and it’s not your fault, nor is it your failure that it exists and always will exist to some extent.  Do your best to meet the needs of your child in filling up that hole, but that lack of information may be something they have to learn to live with, and they need to fill up as much of that hole as they can with themselves.  It doesn’t matter who their parents were, it matters who THEY are.  It doesn’t matter what nationality their parents were, who do they want to be?  That doesn’t mean ignore the hole, but guide them in filling up  that hole with themselves as much as possible, to the best of your ability, in seeing that what really matters is THEM.

-realmom

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One comment on “The hole in your child’s heart

  1. “Do your best to meet the needs of your child in filling up that hole, but that lack of information may be something they have to learn to live with, and they need to fill up as much of that hole as they can with themselves.”

    Yes, yes and yes.

    Like

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