May 11, 2010. My darling girl wants to live at someone else’s house, and though painful to hear, its hardly breaking news. She’s been saying this kind of thing for years. Right now it’s my friend Debbie, last year it was Sue and the year before that it was Jess. They all have daughters Sophie’s age and apparently she thinks life in their households would be easier, happier, and somehow more respectful of her need to control, absolutely, both her environment and the people in it. I’ve been in denial about this, but the truth is Sophie, like Peter, also has significant attachment issues. But in many ways, hers are more complex, and certainly more emotionally difficult to address. Peter has brain damage. Retrain the brain and the problem diminishes. Though I’m sure he thinks about his birth parents, to my knowledge the issue has only arisen once. He is happy when his world feels organized, when expectations are clear, and when we successfully keep his impulses in check. He doesn’t seek out physical affection, nor does he often accept it, but he knows we’re his parents, he understands that our job is to protect and encourage him to move, whether by inches or feet, further and further into the larger world. Don’t get me wrong, we waged a painfully long, primal battle getting him to this point, and constant vigilance will always be needed to guard against relapse, but our daughter’s problems are more emotional than neurological, and therefore more intimately personal. Sophie’s need for power and control supersedes almost every other drive, good and bad, which might otherwise occupy her mind, body, and spirit. She understands, on some level, that she’s like this but at 7 she has no clue how to alter this pattern of thinking, a pattern that helped her survive in the orphanage but is maladaptive, even self-destructive, to the interior health of a family. The worst part is that I don’t know how to help her. All I can say is that I know she’s hurting, that I know her start in life was unfair, that I realize she may never see a picture of her birth mother’s face much less know the biological comfort of peering into her eyes. I’m merely a substitute, and right now, its not good enough. She knows I love her, and that Pat does too, but she wants more, and more I can’t give. I can’t be her birth mom. Try as I have, I can’t even locate a picture of the woman, who died when Sophie was still an infant. I hold her and whisper in her ear that I wish she had grown in my tummy so that I could have cradled her and rocked her and fed her and tickled her toes from the moment she was born. I tell her this not only to make her feel better, though I pray it does, but also because it’s the absolute truth. I wish with all my heart I’d been able to carry a pregnancy to term, and if I had, that the newborns I held in my arms, sticky and squiggly, were Peter and Sophie; safe, whole, and peering, maybe fuzzily at first, into the endlessly loving soul of my eyes. How they so deserve that.