If you asked any child to name a basic human need, chances are the word “food” would be one of the first answers. It is essential to our well-being, isn’t it? And so naturally it is an issue that often comes front and center for children who have lived in an institution and who have possibly never known what it means to feel “full.” Parents frequently comment on adoption travel blogs with astonishment at how much their new children will eat, refilling their plates again and again at every meal. Just as many new parents, however, worry when their child won’t put any solids in her mouth or when they return to their new home and then find food hidden under their child’s bed. Today I’d like to discuss some of the reasons why food issues are often a very common part of international adoption.
I will never forget taking a group of older orphaned children out to a restaurant shortly after I started working in China. I sat there amazed as they ate every morsel, and we kept ordering more and more as it all disappeared once again. At one point, however, we realized that the kids were ordering food and then secretly putting it into their pockets for later. My excitement turned to sadness as it hit me that the kids were trying to protect themselves from the hunger they would feel the next day.
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