Almost all of us have that story. That story where we show off our childhood scars, sharing the daring and dangerous activity that resulted in the permanent mark on our skin. We look back at them with laughter and commodity, reminiscing of a seemingly more simpler time.
Mine is on my elbow, but the scar isn’t a reminder of young adventures, it’s a reminder that I was a liar.
My neighborhood cohort and I spent countless hours amusing ourselves on the play set in her backyard, doing our best versions of flips on the trapeze bar and biggest jumps off the swings. During one of our play sessions, I grabbed the trapeze bar, preparing to hang upside down, holding myself up with my knees.
But instead of the trapeze bar being firmly wedged between my knees, it started to slide; past my knees, my calves, my ankles, and I hit the ground with a force that knocked the air out of me. A surge of pain enveloped my arm and in shock, I screeched out in pain. Cradling one arm with the other, I ran down the block to my house, yelping the whole way home.
My parents struggled to calm down their hysterical child, until finally, I was able to tell them what happened.
“I fell. On a rock.”
But that was a lie.
It wasn’t until after the doctor had relayed his stark confusion as to how a rock could do such damage that the truth came out. I sheepishly told my parents and the doctor about the play set, how I had landed on my elbow after falling off the trapeze bar.
I had been so ashamed of messing up on the play set, so afraid of getting into trouble for being reckless on the playground. So afraid of not being perfect.
Many fellow adoptees understand the ease of childhood lying; a subconscious way of coping with trauma. I didn’t lie out of deception, I lied out of protection. A learned way of molding my answer to what I thought would ensure my love and acceptance.
I’ve grown to know and embrace that telling the truth is not there to hurt me. I’ve learned to speak with honesty, regardless of the consequences, holding onto the knowledge that I am still loved. I’ve learned that it’s okay to not be perfect.
My hope is adoptive parents out there will see from this perspective; that they will look at their child and see a soul trying to protect themselves instead of one that is full of deceit. Tell your child there is nothing they can do to make you not love them. Ensure them they can speak truth in absence of fear and rejection. Tell them they are accepted. Important. Deserving.
Give your child a chance. Then give them another one, for they deserve the world.