I can’t visit my child.”

Oné of the worst imag­in­able things is to be sep­a­rat­ed from those you love. Some par­ents are in prison, oth­ers lose their right to see their chil­dren for years. They were not grant­ed vis­i­ta­tion rights by a judge. In abuse cas­es, one par­ent may ask that the abuser refrain indef­i­nite­ly from see­ing their child.

Clients enter fam­i­ly coun­sel­ing, mourn­ing this con­tact. Of course they miss see­ing their chil­dren grow up. Still they can main­tain and grow in their iden­ti­ty as a moth­er or father. A wise friend of mine, mis­car­ried a child and nev­er was able to have anoth­er child. But in those months of car­ry­ing a child, she became a moth­er. Her ten­der­ness and her out­look towards oth­ers changed for­ev­er, even though she nev­er had phys­i­cal con­tact (well, con­tact out­side) with her child. Still, she iden­ti­fies as a moth­er.

If you are sep­a­rat­ed from your child, you can still work on your­self as an active par­ent. You can do many things to build your mus­cles in car­ing for the vul­ner­a­ble; in shar­ing your tal­ents with oth­ers. You’d be sur­prised how many guys are need­ed to coach Lit­tle League, or how many vol­un­teers are need­ed in a pub­lic school near you.

If you grieve for your child and rage with feel­ings of impos­si­bil­i­ties, just con­sid­er the Dalai Lama for a minute. He’s a holy man, seen as the head of Tibet. Yet he has lived in exile for 30+ years. He has no sec­re­tary of state, no army, no monastery. He has no fam­i­ly, yet he has an amaz­ing life. Because of the man­ner he refers to the Chi­nese, he has dis­armed his oppo­nents, and has won many fol­low­ers.
In fact, despite los­ing his inher­i­tance in Tibet, the Dalai Lama has gained world­wide atten­tion. The world lis­tens rev­er­ent­ly to his words because he car­ries much stature in how he treats the Chi­nese. May this atti­tude pre­vail for all who’ve lost rights to raise their chil­dren.

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