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When I was cleaning out my desk some time ago, I ran across something I’d written WAY back in 1988 just before the adoption of our daughter. I had kept a journal for her from the time we first contacted Holt International Children’s Service. Amazingly the journal ran out of pages the night we picked Stefanie Kavitha up in Portland, Oregon. It chronicled our legal and emotional ups and downs in the process. I gave it to her for her 16th birthday. She knows the whole story. Almost…

What I didn’t chronicle in that journal was the emotional journey I personally went on in struggling with feelings brought up during the adoption process from my own childhood due to our acquaintance with a wonderful couple who were instrumental in our decision to adopt. Very nurturing and loving, they had no idea what I was feeling.

This is one of the things I scribbled before our daughter got here. It’s very clumsy as I made my first foray into my “heart cave” and in TRYING to write some kind of poem. There is no “art” to it. It’s just pain. Thought it might be interesting to get it out and play with it again after all these years. But maybe I’ll just leave it as is.

This is where my “spelunking” career really began…

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Little Girl Loved

I can’t remember what it felt like
—–to be a little girl loved,
—–just for herself,
—–just because she is.
Now suddenly, after all these years,
—–inside I’m a child again,
——–caught up in a need for hugs and kisses,
—–words of encouragement
—–and endearment,
someone to lace their fingers with mine
—–as we walk along,
—–or stroke my hair as I take refuge from the
—–world in sheltering arms.

I thought the pain of childhood’s unmet needs
—–was buried deep and once-for-all.
Then two “significant others” came into my life,
—–and I found that beneath the layers
—––of grown-up protection,
—–behind the mask of self-sufficiency,
———I’m still an awkward child,
—–all legs and arms and insecurities,
—–eager to please,
—–yet afraid to try,
—–but with hope not quite extinguished.

And for a time I conquered the fear
—–and let the “others” deep inside my heart
—–where no one is allowed
—–except the little girl who is me.
One awakened in me a big-brother longing
—–to be rescued from bullies,
—–from snickers of “four eyes!”
—–and other kinds of “dragons”
—–like being left alone.
The other held the promise of nurturing love,
—–love that chases away tears,
—–calms quivering chins,
—–and holds back the night terror
—–with her understanding smile.

But those childhood yearnings were mine alone;
—–the “others” never asked to be
—–a part of me in that special way.
They wanted only to be friends, or even less,
—–with no room in their hearts for
—–little-girl hugs and holding hands,
After all, they have a 6-year-old son of their
own to love and cherish;
—–they have no need for someone else’s
—–36-year-old little girl.

So with aching reluctance and
—–a lump in the pit of my very being,
I’m releasing them from that “heart place”
—–where I’d hoped they’d come
—–to love me, too.

And I’m wondering if when that’s done
—–will just the old childhood pain will remain,
—–or if now there will be even more hurts
—–to leave me even more scarred
—–and longing even more to know
—–what it’s like to be
—–hugged and treasured,
—–secure and unafraid,
—–to be a little girl loved,
—–just for herself,
—–if only for a little while.

2/20/88

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Picture Credit: www.parentinginottawa.com

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