I told you the other day that I really enjoyed reading Parenting From the Inside Out. Daniel Siegel, the author of the book, said that being able to tell your own life story in a coherent way is a skill shared by the majority of emotionally healthy adults. We’ve all got tough stuff that happened in the past, some harder than others. But being able to make sense of it all in our own minds is a huge factor in emotional resilience. You being able to tell the coherent story of your own life also makes it much more likely that your child will grow up emotionally stable.
I’ve thought about that a lot in relation to our adopted kids. Too often major changes happened in our kids’ lives at times when they weren’t old enough to process what was going on. That’s why it’s so important for us as parents to help them make sense of their own story, to go over it now and then with them so that they can process it in increasingly more mature ways, and to make it clear that we’re there to help talk through things and try to answer any questions that they have.
My girls and I recently watched an amazing documentary that was a really neat opportunity for us to do some talking about their own lives, and for them to also just quietly take in the fact that many, many kids in the world wrestle with adoption and culture issues. The movie is called Somewhere Between and tells the stories of several girls who were adopted from China as babies and toddlers and are now in their teens. Several of the girls were able to go back on homeland trips to China to find out more of their story. One even got to meet her first family. It is a great, well-done documentary, available on Netflix. If you’ve been looking for an interesting organic way to talk to your child about adoption issues and help them process their own life story, I highly recommend this movie.