What was the worst thing that could happen to a kid?
The long hot summer days, hanging around with the kids, watching them play in the cul-de-sac with all the neighbor kids and the one mom me who hangs out and talks to them, as each kid is so interesting, unique and the best part of being around children is their honesty, As I love asking children questions and hearing their sweet and sometimes naive answers. One summer day sitting in the yard with a small group of kids, my own two kids were somewhere else that day, when I asked a question to these five young neighborhood children sitting in my yard with me: "what is the worst thing that could happen to a kid?".....The five neighborhood kids unanimously shouted out "being adopted", although I personally know that none of these kids were adopted. I was shocked, taken by surprise and had no idea that they would bring up such a rare or unexpected response. I thought they would say things relating to being a kid, Loosing the game controller, electricity going out watching your scary movie or cleaning out stinky garbage cans with your tooth brush. But the answer unanimously shouted out was so humble and honest
seeing such serious looks on their faces, this is what they truly fear...or It's possibility. The threat of adoption, of being told by their parents that they were adopted. I am still astonished by the children's answer some three decades later as I write this post.
This primal fear that lives somewhere deep inside of their young minds, lingering in horror, that all that they know could be nullified or erased in an instant with the dreaded phrase "you are adopted"....
Of which the children all had the same answer, but none of these kids were adopted, they had no adopted people in their families and did not know any adopted person or anything about being adopted, just that it is "bad". So bad that none of the kids wanted "it" (adopted) to happen to them, or have anything to do with "it" (adoption. It is just a bad, bad thing to a child and something that children fear in the darkness between space and time that could jeopardize their lives. This fear of being adopted that could potentially ruin or erase these kid's happy connections to their biological families.
I am still not processing the children's reaction to my question in the right way, as I am so surprised at the seriousness of their fear..of being one of those adopted children. At the time I thought it was funny, but as time has passed I think of that day and the question I asked in all silliness and how the reality of a child's truth is sometimes a powerful wisdom.