Baby Isaiah and His Developmental Fight
December 7, 2005
What is a developmental crisis? Is there just one theory to explain a developmental crisis? How do we determine a sense of self? All of these are valid questions when thinking about the intersection of theory and practice. We define ourselves based on relationships, social identity, religion, profession and culture. We need loving relationships to feel a sense of worth. We require freedom to find our own unique creativity. Our racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds all contribute to the way we define ourselves. Losing Isaiah
In the movie Losing Isaiah, a young African-American child has a crisis of identity when a judge orders that he be taken from his adoptive white family and returned to his mother. The basis for the judge’s decision is the differences in race between the child and the adoptive family. At only five months of age, Isaiah was left in a dumpster because his mother, Khaila, needed just “one more hit” and could no longer handle the baby’s crying. She became pregnant with Isaiah as a result of engaging in sex to supply her dependency on crack. Following being abandoned, Isaiah was found by waste removal professionals just before the tiny baby was about to be crushed in the garbage truck. The baby was not breathing. By the time he arrived at the hospital the outlook for Isaiah’s survival was grim. When the social worker at the hospital first saw Isaiah she could believe her eyes: He was only hanging on by a thread. He was not breathing and when he finally started to breath he began having seizures. I could tell instantly that he was a precious little baby who was determined against all odds. From the very first moments I saw him I wanted to give him a home where he would not have to wonder weather or not he would get feed and that he know he was loved. It took some convincing but finally my husband agreed that we could adopt Isaiah.
So touched was the social worker by Isaiah’s plight, that she adopted him:
A few years latter all the paper work went through and Isaiah was finally mine. He was the most lovable child. I would look forward to coming home just to have his tinny little arms wrapped around my neck and that little mouth kiss my neck. Isaiah had that smile that could light up any room in an instant and that laugh made me feel like I was witnessing a miracle every time. This was not to say that things were always so easy. He got irritated easily and had temper tantrums that could be considered worse than most children, but compared to what he had gone though he was doing well.
Isaiah’s fate was not settled however. On the road to recovery from her drug addiction, Isaiah’s biological mother began seeking the return of her son: I wish people would understand that I am his true mother. I am the one who had him. I even changed my life for him. I made a mistake putting him in the trash, but now I am willing to do anything to get him back, even if it means going to court which my lawyer said was the only way to get Isaiah back. I no longer do drugs, I even have my own place and I work as a nanny for a family who has a little girl the same age as Isaiah. We are going to court this next week. I am nervous, but I know the best thing for my child is to be with me.”
In settling the legal side of this dilemma, the judge ruled: As the judge in this case, it is a difficult decision, but I believe that the child should be with his biological mother where he can grow up with his own race and culture. It seems only best for the child. His mother has made great efforts to change her life and this is what seems best for this child.
There are many different ways and theories one can use to address this developmental crisis. How will Isaiah best transition to his new home with his biological mother? Erik Erickson...