Please sir can I have some….more?

Child begging


I used to love Oliver Twist and so do my kids!  They especially like the part where Oliver bravely approaches his keeper to ask for more of the disgusting gruel they give to the work house children. Food is one of those things that seems to unite adopted children everywhere.  Many times I hear adoptive parents talk about their children’s struggle with their relationship to food. Stories of fussy eating, gorging, hoarding, stealing, anxiety around when food will appear, that inner drive to get food whatever the cost.

I’m sure this topic is a familiar one for all of you involved in the adoption world – recently I’ve started to really think about this whole area more. I’m forever bewildered by the immense hold it has on our children, the depth of anxiety at the core of their being. Whatever their early starts in life we can assume food was inconsistent, lacking at times, or inappropriate to their ages. However for many, even after years of receiving three meals a day, they still have that anxiety deep down inside.

I recently read a book that I’ve mentioned to most people I’ve met as it’s had such an impact on me. ‘The Kid’ an autobiography written by Kevin Lewis speaks of his horrendous start in life. Born into poverty to an abusive father and mother, Kevin struggled all his childhood with the stigma of poverty, the pain and horror of domestic violence to himself and those around him, and the harrowing existence of continuously being hungry. Not the kind of hunger we feel when it’s an hour past our normal meal time, or even the hunger pains of missing a day of food – but the emptiness of constant lack of food – never feeling full. Kevin talks in the book of days when he and his older brother would creep downstairs in the night to steal whatever food they could find in the fridge – cramming it down so as not to be caught.

This has made me consider more the basic needs we have as humans. The need for food, water, shelter, air.  Without these needs being met it’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible to concentrate on other things such as making friends or being able to learn at school.  Kevin Lewis also goes on to say that in later life he develops bulimia from gorging on food and them making himself sick. The speed at which he ate food as well was a throw back to those days of being afraid to be caught! Even after many years of being able to eat what he needed and wanted, the hold food had on him was still so strong.

So today I’m asking for comments on this blog – the specific questions are – What can we do to help our children come to terms with food?  What will help them know they will be fed? How can we help them have a healthy relationship with food now and in the future?

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