At age eight, Amelia Belchior woke up in her home in Marromeu, Mozambique to learn that her mother had passed away—a short 15 months after losing her father. She and her two-year-old brother were left without parental love and guidance. In the orphanage system, they learned to gain confidence in household work; however, in Amelia’s own words, “I thought I had things under control, but deep inside I always felt something was missing. I felt incomplete. I missed being a child and my self-esteem was low.” Amelia later recognized what was missing at the time: to truly feel cared about—“something every child needs.”
Amelia and her brother were adopted eight years later, and after years of building up self-protections, the transition to break them down and accept love was challenging. “Having come from such difficult circumstances, the transition to [our adoptive parents’] home took some adjusting. No matter how much I rebelled or rejected my new parents when I first came to their home, they persisted in showing love to me and helping me to work on the negative self-views I had developed.”
Amelia describes how her adoptive mother’s persistent, patient encouragement led Amelia to overcome her fears and self-doubts. “After living without parents for many years and then having the blessing of being adopted, I learned why every child needs parents. Through being loved I learned to love; I learned to believe in my inherent worth.” Amelia quickly acknowledges that, “Without my mother’s example and encouragement, I don’t think that I would have felt the love for my neighbors or for myself that I feel now. When I had the support of parents I did better in school and learned manners. I was healthier, happier, and treated others better.”
Today’s post and image are contributed by Seeing the Everyday magazine. Read more about Amelia Belchior’s experience in her article, “To Have Parents,” in Seeing the Everyday no. 24. For more information, go to seeingtheeveryday.com.