I heard Ned Hallowell talk about the key to raising happy children last night. He talked about connecting with your kids – playing with them, spending time doing fun things and helping them connect with community, with their school, with things they love to do, with who they are.
If kids feel connected, they’ll grow up to be happy. It’s kids who feel disconnected who can have a hard time. Take a look at Columbine.
It made me think about adopted kids – I do quite frequently, as I used to be one. I had a loving adoptive family, for sure. But I did spend a lot of my childhood feeling disconnected from the world around me. I just assumed that feeling that way was a part of being human.
Now I don’t. Why? Because I have children of my own. Because I have found work and a community I feel at home in. Because, unlike many adopted people, I was able to find my birth parents and connect with the people I came from, which helped me understand and value the impulsive, creative, unpredictable American nature I was born with – that was – and is – so very different from that of the ordered British family that raised me.
People ask me why I feel so strongly that we should do everything we can to change the laws that still prevent adopted people and people conceived through anonymous sperm and egg donation from knowing the truth about their origins in most of the United States.
Ned Halliwell put his finger on it last night. Connection is the key to happiness. And he’s a Harvard Psycologist, the country’s leading expert in ADD and a really famous writer. So he should know.
Do I think adopted people or people conceived anonymously need to be able to connect with their birth families in order to be happy? No. But being surrounded by at least some people who ‘get’ the essence of who you are, connecting in some way with the place you came from, finding the things you naturally truly love to do – which are not necessarily the things your adoptive parents love to do – these kinds of connections can make all the difference. That’s what I think – today, anyway. What about you?