I just read a post by Paula at her blog here.
She brings up a very interesting topic that I never thought about before. How food is often overlooked as an "problem area" for adoptees. She wonders if food was used as a soothing mechanism, and that it was used to show how she would never have to worry about a basic need again. It really has me thinking about it.
The earliest memory I have of my grandparents was the first time my mother let them babysit me. Growing up, my favorite food at the time was fruit. I loved all fruit, even more so than candy (I actually didn't even like candy). Well my grandparents always had a big bowl of fresh fruit on their kitchen table. When my mother came to pick me up, she found a distraught grandma and me rolling on the floor moaning and holding my stomach. The following discussion followed:
Mom: "What happened??"
Grandma: "I don't know..."
Mom: "Did you feed him anything?"
Grandma: "Yes, he wanted some fruit"
Mom: "Oh ok, that's not bad. What kind?"
Grandma: "Well, grapes, apples, pears, and oranges..."
Mom (just noticing the empty bowl): "You let him eat the WHOLE bowl of fruit??"
Sheepish Grandma: "Yes....I thought since fruit is healthy that he would just stop...."
Yes, I don't know how much I weighed, but I know I was very small for my age (5 years old) because I was malnurished prior to be adopted, and that bowl of fruit was probably about 10 lbs.
My grandpa bless his heart never had enough to eat either growing up. His father kept food from him in what we would call today abuse. As a result, he can't get up from the table without knowing exactly when and where the next meal would be. He also instilled into the grandchildren what he called "Clean Plate Winners". He was always proud of his grandchildren who had healthy appetites and would finish everything on their plates. I know he did this out of his own difficulty growing up.
Looking back, I definitely think my past history has affected the way I view food. I am a self proclaimed food-ie. I love food, and I love cooking it. However, I know that I have a long history of over eating frequently. Everytime I go to order food, I know in the back of my mind I am always making sure there will be enough food. Even to the point where I will order way too much food (enough for two people) just to be sure that I have enough.
I order a large pizza (yes for myself), and am disappointed when I leave half of it. Occasionally I get the craving for Popeye's chicken; and order a 12 piece meal which includes 2 large sides and 4 biscuits (yes again for myself only) which Im assuming the company thinks is enough for 4 people. Again, I am slightly disappointed in that there is food left over.
When I cook food, its always way too much. I have never cooked and didn't have enough food. Even to the point where I'll cook 2 packages of Ramen, even though I know I almost never eat more than 1 package. But when its time to cook, I just can't bring myself to cook just 1 package.
As Paula mentions in her blog, this is a very difficult topic. Obviously parents want to make sure their children have enough food growing up. Especially with adoptees like me who were severely malnourished. It's not that I was abused, but there just wasn't much in terms of nutrition in the orphanage I was at. At the time, orphanages in Korea received very little/if any government funding and was mostly privately funded. One of the few things I can sort of remember from that time was eating rice and kimchi, besides that I can't remember eating anything else. For those of you who don't know, kimchi is fermented cabbage that is very popular in Korea (even though these two dishes are at almost every meal, there is always other dishes).
Who knows if my over-eating and the way I view food is due to my past or just psychological. It is definitely something to think about. Im glad Paula wrote about this, because this is yet another area that I will have to think through.