ABSTRACT

Orphans, foundlings, children in need of substitute parents are an ineluctable piece of human history. A brief consideration of mythology, fairy tales, and literature, especially for and about children, underscores the power of the parentless child to stir both the conscious and unconscious fantasy; attempts to understand the meaning and importance of these fantasies have occupied a pivotal place in psychoanalytic theories. This idealization of the biological mother was evident in the expert's emphasis on the mother's struggles to overcome her addictions so that she could reclaim her child, with relatively little focus on the fact of her abandoning Deanna. Freud's 1909 essay "Family Romances" provided a brief but powerful contribution to our understanding of the Oedipal resolution and the child's wish to cling to the imagined bliss of the preoedipal relationship. However, Deanna and Bobby's stories, in particular, also point to the second important motive, namely, the transformational power of the child.