My reality is that I was born in Washington, DC to two teenagers named Sandy and David. A summer of dating and a forced sexual experience left a 15 year old pregnant. That young person was my mom. Many of you know that I was adopted as a baby, especially as I’ve been more outspoken about my experiences in my work, in my new book, and online.
My mother held me for 3 minutes before I was taken to the orphanage located at St. Anns. That was May 9th, 1970, just over 49 years ago. I stayed there until July 22, 1970. For 74 days I lived in that place with many other little ones who had no family.
Many adoptees don’t know where they were between relinquishment and adoption. It’s not uncommon for records to be lost. I do know where I was and it really didn’t mean much to me when growing up. It wasn’t until I had my first baby and my mom sent me my christening gown that it really hit me. With the gown, she also sent the picture of the day they picked me up from Catholic Charities. On the back of the picture was the date they picked me up.
JULY 22nd!!!! WHAT????
I actually fell back on the chair in my baby daughters room it hit me so hard. I had spent almost every waking minute with my daughter during those first 74 days of her life (way too many waking minutes if you want to know) bonding, feeding, soothing…and here was a reminder of my own first 74 days.
Did you know that according to researchers, the brain grows the most during the first 90 days of life? Our brains experience an average increase in size of 1% per day! At the 90- day mark brain growth slows down drastically to .4%. According to the field of infant psychology, the younger we are, the more significant the impact of the events of our lives. Why? Because we are built to survive and adapt. Our brains are hungry for data that informs our understanding of the world we live in. Early tracks of information are laid down in our brains and then built upon as we learn and grow.
What happens if your first 74 days of life are spent in an orphanage (as mine were) or your early life included other distressing experiences? Say a mom with post-partum depression? A death in the family? A war? Poverty? Violence? I’ll tell you what! Data goes into the hidden control panel of our brains (implicit memory). Data that helps us survive and cope. Data that was originally set there to help us, but is often the very thing that can cause roadblocks now in our adult life; roadblocks to amazing success in business, love, and LIFE!
Ever hear the saying “Trial by fire”? It means feeling the heat as a means of growth and evolution. Going through something (or many things) that will try us and make us struggle so we can grow! Is it any wonder that many of the most successful people in the world are survivors of horrible experiences?
These horrible experiences actually train our systems to stretch and grow and evolve—if they don’t break us completely, which sometimes they sadly do. Highly successful people become successful by getting rid of any left over brain codes from trauma experiences that have, or are now, getting in the way. How? By rewiring their hidden control panel (implicit memory).
Many people feel hopeless because they actually don’t know what happened in their early life, yet they are experiencing distress symptoms as an adult. This is because traumatic experiences that occur before age 3 are encoded in our brains hidden control panel, our implicit memory, and they affect our behaviors, performance, and wellbeing.
If you wonder why you can’t succeed at something, adopted or not, it may be because there is a code in YOUR hidden control panel getting in the way. Codes that say, “You don’t matter, you are unloved, you aren’t wanted, you aren’t worthy, you aren’t safe, you are alone.” The codes may not even be true (then or now), but they wreak havoc nonetheless. And they are codes that can be changed! We know SO MUCH MORE about our brains and our body’s ability to recode.
For 74 days I stayed in very suboptimal living conditions in an orphanage and have since worked through my own seemingly nonsensical struggles with being an adoptee. I want to remind you that you do not have to consciously recall or even know what happened to you in order to recode what’s holding you back now.
If you are looking for more information on how you can remove your own personal roadblocks and rewire your implicit memory, my book Live Empowered! is a great resource for creating the life, business, and relationships you desire.