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The Question I’ve Learned to Ask Myself

Shila Henderson’s 10 kids include five who joined her family through adoption, three at older ages. 

Adoptive mom Shila with her daughter Anna, who had a harder time attaching to her mom. “This was a wonderful moment where she let me put her on my back and dance around with her,” Shila says.
Shila with her daughter Anna, who had a harder time attaching to her mom. “This was a wonderful moment where she let me put her on my back and dance around with her,” Shila says.

“I now know that even children with the most tragic history miss what they’ve lost and the people they’ve left — even if that person hurt them the most. Every child was loved by someone — even if it was only their cribmate. They’ve lost their culture, language, friends, nannies and foster families. They’ve lost their birth families.

I learned to constantly ask myself if I was a person my child would WANT to bond with. Was I making myself easy to love and showing them through my words and actions they could trust me?”

A longer version of this story, “Family Foundations,” appeared in the spring 2014 Holt magazine.

smiling adoptive parents holding son adopted from thailand and baby girl

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