“You Can’t Find Peace Until You Find the Pieces” is more than simply the title of this article. From a TV series called The Locator, it is also a comment from my life.


Having been adopted just three months before my 4th birthday, I so understood those words. We all have pieces of people, places and things that complete the puzzle and picture of our lives. Sometimes those puzzle pieces are lost or hidden. For children adopted, it can affect each one differently. Perhaps, an adoption at birth may never need the pieces as they do not have memories from the first life. For others, they are aware that pieces of the puzzle are missing and must be added. Some have been left with memories that need to be validated. 

Choosing Family

I was blessed to be adopted by the most wonderful parents and extended family. If the ability to choose my parents was possible, I could not have chosen any better. My parents wanted children desperately but due to a serious car accident, my mother was left unable to have children. The tragedy of the accident and a long recovery was very painful and difficult but losing the ability to have children was totally devastating to them.

My mother was the youngest of seven children and my father was the youngest child of six, having a family with children was always a given. After fifteen years of marriage, they were finally offered to adopt an almost four-year-old little girl, that girl was me. Tiny little blonde headed girl, scared and confused, traumatized by her previous life was very willing to be loved by these two people. For many years I was able to hide the pain from the past until a day came that I figured out that the puzzle was unfinished.

Unfinished Puzzle

Regardless of being given away or when one parent leaves, most of us will realize in time that our puzzle needs to be finished. Humans are curious by nature and sometimes we just want medical information. Please do not feel betrayed by a child who grows up and wants to know their story. If you are putting together a puzzle, often it begins on a table top and with each piece the picture begins to take form. Often in adoption or when a parent leaves, our table is just blank, no picture forming at all. The finished puzzle may not be what we dreamed it would be but it is complete and now can be put away, feeling it is done.


Recently, my youngest son asked me to help him remember some things from his childhood saying he cannot remember in detail his younger years. He was not adopted or abandoned but faced daily bouts of PTSD from the Gulf War. He was exposed to chemicals that changed his life in devastating ways. It hurts me that he has lost so much of his childhood, but I am doing my best to help him recall those memories.

When he talks about the lack of memories, it is as if he is desperately needing food or water. It is a painful loss to him. In life, regardless of the circumstances, searching is not a critique of the love we received or did not receive but a natural need to just know our story. 

Sometimes we may find that those losses were because someone loved us enough to put our needs first. 

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