The Orphan’s Call

Review of the Real Mother Series

I’ve been writing about real mothers, mothers who authentically fulfill not only the letter of the archetypal laws of motherhood, but the spirit of it as well. I used the child adoption realm to discuss the wounding that people carry with them, wounds that sometimes obscure truth and may keep a person stalled during his or her quest for individuation or wholeness. I write about these issues because I encounter more people stuck in their individuation process who have histories of abandonment than any other sort of stuck person. While most are not adopted (ironically enough), many were. The adopted stuck seem to remain stuck longer, and I think one possibility is that they remain stuck because they receive so much support for being, and remaining, stuck. They are told that they are wounded, and thus stuck, forever due to some primal wound caused by separation from their birth mothers, a wound that cannot be healed, really, making them perpetual victims and always children who cannot be in control of their own destinies.

Well, of course I think this view of being adopted is hogwash. But it does illustrate one view of over-identification with an archetype, and so next I’ll be writing about what this means, what it looks like. As I’ve explained before, I believe that healing is spiritual and much of what needs to be undertaken to heal the broken-hearted is spiritual work, work with the unconscious. What we need is a shaman to shake the rattle, a dance danced around the fire, an ecstatic experience, rosaries prayed, prayer wheels spun, someone to slap us on the forehead and shout, “BE HEALED!”

After introducing my subject, I next  turned to commenting briefly about the insatiable desire for a child that is created by the barren womb, using a Biblical basis to do so. Perhaps later I’ll write in depth about this, for those who cannot have children often identify with the Mother or Child archetype, and it may be useful to some to understand this theoretically so that they can try to avoid the pitfalls associated with identification with an archetype. They can become more whole and authentic if they’ll do this. But since my first aim was to differentiate between “real” love and the appearance of love, I merely touched on the high cost of infertility in emotional and financial terms, and commented about the adoption industry.

Next in this series, I pointed out that adopted people have often been raised by adoptive parents, mothers in particular, who are not whole people themselves, and whose wound of infertility expanded to swallow the adoptee alive, when the adoptee became the solution to the problem. As many of us who are adoption involved have pointed out, when the adopted child is the second choice for a couple, the child knows it. What sort of a pain is created when we know we’re second choice, second best? This is the wound out of which adoptees struggle to grow. It is their wound that needs healing, but because so many adoptees are raised by emotionally and spiritually stunted adoptive parents, once they have reunions they are in poor positions to judge the inadequacies of their birth parents. They will accept statements such as “if I had it to do over again, I’d choose an abortion rather than adoption” without confronting the fact that their mother has just admitted she would kill her own child rather than suffer through relinquishment again. It is still all about Mother. But, because the adoptive mother has already trained the adopted child in caretaking, the adoptee is still stuck, suspended between two mothers and two families, everyone with their demands on him or her, unable to break loose and individuate and so suffering like a prisoner for years, even a lifetime.

Finally, I arrived at my point about what real love is, and about how it behaves. I know that I sometimes need to remind myself about what real love is, or else I may become awash in a sea of sentimentality that sounds right, but acts wrong. Recalling to mind the characteristics of real agape love is one way of taking care of the inner waif. In the end, we ourselves are the only ones who can restore to the waif the lost parents, hearth, and home, and give the orphan a place from which to leave on her grand Quest to individuation.

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