Dr. Karyn Purvis says that when we empower a child to find their voice, we are honor-bound to listen when they use it. Similarly, when children tell their stories, we are honor-bound to listen. To all of it. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
I often hear adoptive parents say, “I just don’t talk about it with them because I don’t want to make them think about it.” The mistaken assumption is that if a child’s story before placement is not acknowledged, then it didn’t happen. Nothing can be farther from the truth. To honor a child’s unedited story is to honor all of who they are, for their story did not begin when they came home to their loving adoptive families.
Whether a child’s story comes in the form of reflective pleasant memories from their past or accounts of profound loss, pain, and even fear – these stories are a part of a child’s truth. And when a child chooses to share their truth, we owe it to them to be available to hold it.
“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.” – Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees