The Missing Months

After I was born, I was placed in an adoptive home that already had 6 children.  It has been told to me that I was in a large Catholic family to help save the parent’s marriage.  This always seemed like a strange story and an even stranger way to save a marriage!

Well, this family did not care for me properly and I was eventually removed.  I was in an “orphanage” for 2 months.  Then placed with my adoptive family.  This is the first picture I have of my baby self.

6 months old

I have looked at this baby-me for a long time.  I have noticed and have learned a few things:  I see a totally disengaged baby, despite all the toys and items around her, a baby who, at almost 7 months of age, could  not sit up alone, nor did she try,  a baby who did not know how to play or to reach for toys, a baby who did not want to engage with adults, a baby who made very few vocal sounds, a baby who would not try to feed herself, and a baby who weighed only 11 pounds.

Now, as Marriage and Family Therapist who is very familiar with child development,  I know what milestones a 6 month old should have reached, or close to reaching.  I was not anywhere near those milestones.   I think I really dodged the Reactive Attachment Disorder diagnosis (RAD).

My mother has told me so many times that my first trip to the pediatrician was enlightening.  My nose was runny all the time, my weight was well under where I should have been, my head was flat in the back (still kind of is flat) and I was not yet eating many solid foods.

It took some time for me to begin to eat.  I was fed beef hearts, oatmeal, pears, peaches and other foods that I could easily digest.  I am told once I learned about the “hows” of eating, I began to EAT!  To this day, I get anxiety about not having access to food.  And, I have grown to be a “foodie.”  I love to eat out and I love to try new things.  I am one of those annoying friends who posts food porn on Facebook.

My need and love of food has some genesis in my anxiety about food. I struggle with weight.  I struggle with the idea of weight loss.  I struggle with the idea of exercise.  And, I struggle with mixing up showing love by feeding those I love.

The adoption trauma of my infancy is still  present in my 52 year old self.

I have often wondered about that family with the 6 children and the marriage on the rocks.  I wonder what every happened to them.  Did the marriage survive?  Were the other children OK?  I will never know.  And, I will never know what truly happened in those months in their home.   I can guess, but none of those guesses give me warm feelings.

Bottom line of this Blog writing – my parents got a child who needed help.  They helped me and I am thankful that God was in charge of my life’s road map and I ended up in the home I did.  I needed them.

And now, I need to eat some toast…..

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Robyn Gobbel, LCSW

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