The first gave you a need for love, the second was there to give it.
Imagine answering a knock at the door and being told by the adult waiting there that she has come to take you to a new home. The friendly woman states that it will be a forever home. Not only is there a new home and family but there is a new school too. It may take a while to meet new friends and learn the routine, she counsels, but it’s for the best. This scenario is not far from the experience of adopted and foster children. In the case of international adoptions, some of this information may have been given by people speaking in a different language. The new home may be in a different climate, culture, and with people of a different race. The child may never see the same trees and flowers, smell the same smells, or taste the same foods again. Is this traumatic for children? Absolutely! However, the child’s need for safety and a permanent family often outweighs the pain and confusion of change.
Being claimed by a family is extremely important to children who have been abandoned, abused, or neglected and moved from home to home. A claiming narrative establishes the rights of the parents of an adoptive child to provide physical and emotional nurturing. A claiming narrative establishes the rights of the child to belong, to be accepted, and to be cared for by loving, responsible parents. The word “claim” is defined by Webster’s Dictionary (Collin 1999) as “to say you own [something] which was left or lost” (p.77). The experience of being accepted and belonging to a family is a basic psychological need. This feeling of belonging provides a secure base for children to learn, grow, and venture out in the world.