Near Nutella Incarceration: Adoption Diaries

Alyza LeBlanc

I went through training to become a foster parent before I adopted my daughter. There was a section where they told us to be prepared for food issues. I really had no expectations but quickly learned what they meant when they refer to food insecurity.

Food in her early years was a challenge. Unfortunately, her parents did not take advantage of food pantries and their priorities were clearly on purchases other than groceries. She told me stories of sitting close to the trash at school so when the "rich" kids discarded the items from their lunch they didn't want, she could nab it off the top of the garbage to eat. One benefit that came of this; she is not a picky eater and actually loves veggies.

Of the regular visits of police to her home, the funniest of these related to her desire for something to snack on. Occasionally, Nutella (one of her favorite treats) would appear at the apartment. One day, my girl was home alone and discovered some Nutella in the pantry and the urge was simply irresistible. With no one to ask permission, she decided to help herself. A short time later, she heard her parents entering the apartment. In fear of getting in trouble, she quietly tucked herself into a corner of the pantry closet. After searching the house and no response to their calls for her, the police were called. Imagine their surprise when the pantry door flung open and a young child was discovered with face covered in Nutella and a finger still stuck in the jar.

Four years later with full pantries, and never a shortage of options to eat, it is still habitual for her to stash treats in her room, her backpack, travel bags and her purse. I’ve reassured her she has no reason to hide goodies as she can help herself to whatever she wants when hungry, however, I understand this is security so I don't bother even bringing it up anymore. I do know she's thankful that her sweet treat addiction does not come with fear of doing jail time and she no longer goes dumpster diving for Twinkies.

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Lifestyle insights on work, parenting, and relationship balance from the perspective of a business professional and solo parent to an adopted teen.


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