I must admit that after years of working in orphanages in Brasov, Romania, near the magnificent mountains of Transylvania, that of thought quite a bit about orphans.
I’m not sure what drew me there but the minute I walked in the room and saw Michael, he captured my heart. I wanted to take Michael home. He jumped into my arms and squeezed my neck. He was about six at the time.
As I held him, he pulled my blonde hair really hard. A gesture that I was all too familiar with, the gesture of love and holy violent love, and anger, all mixed in one. The orphans there slept in cribs even in the middle of the day no matter how old they were.
Even the 10-year-olds were in tiny cribs all in the same room. I asked the administrator, if I could adopt him.
“Who?” She asked.
“Michael. And his twin brother.”
“They are not adoptable,” she said, “he is schizophrenic. You don’t want him.”
Oh but I did.
As a child missing my father, anytime someone showed me love I lashed out in anger. It didn’t matter which boyfriend it was or how nice he was, I lashed out. Even when they loved me, it was hard to give love back without feeling some sort of anger inside.
John Eldridge refers to this as the father wound in the book, Wild At Heart.
It’s a book I have given many men since the first day I read it. When you have a father wound, it’s a big hole that is difficult to recover from. For men, their father is their identity.
Many times this whole is covered up by layers of achievements.
This website is not about orphans.
You may not be one and you may not even know one, but many humans live with an orphan spirit, or in orphan’s heart. Whether they were missing their father, grew up in an orphanage, or had a father in the home who was emotionally unavailable, they live with an orphan’s heart.
It is about identity and legacy. In a decade of writing books for CEOs and high achievers, it seems never to be about the book. As I sit in a high-rise office, I coach someone through their legacy. “How about we write this for your kids,” I suggest. “For your grandkids. It’s not just for the business audience. It’s not just for the bestseller list.”
Once I had a client named Michael and I encouraged him to write letters to his kids. Every client after that I encouraged to write letters for their kids. I’m writing my own which is a book of letters to my kids. And even though their father doesn’t really write I will ask him to submit a letter for the book too.
Because you can give your child love, wisdom, and affection… but there’s nothing like a letter, like words, to reflect on.
Looking back, it is the one thing I wish I would’ve had from my biological dad. I remember someone saying he left a suicide note and I looked for that for a lifetime. I’m not sure he ever did. When I was lucky enough to have a stepfather step into the role of raising me, I received a beautiful card from him.
Those words meant the world to me and I still have it out today, long after he’s gone. Those words are more valuable than any piece of jewelry, car, house, or material thing I own.
I hope this site encourages you to write a letter to your kids.
Start today. Don’t stop.
Author: Tammy Kling