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The Found Child

There is a child that is easy to love.  I want to embrace her and tell her that she is “well behaved” and a pleasure to be with.  She is a compassionate child, with oodles of empathy, loves other people, is non-judgemental, care-free, innocent and everybody loves her.  She is a child that knows herself, has emotional intelligence, knows what to say and the right way to say it.  She made all the right decisions, at the right time, with the right people and for all the right reasons.  What a pleasant, likable child, people all say.

This is the child who, at age 12, upon viewing a documentary about starving people in Africa, set about collecting goods and chattels and crocheting rugs and selling them at school recess and sent ten dollars off to World Vision.

This is the child who rescued stray cats and brought them home to be loved and cared for.  Who rescued native birds from her stray cats, cried when they passed away, and buried them in her garden.  This is the easy to love child who volunteered her Sundays to work at an animal shelter.  This is the child who cared enough for a stranger, twice her age, to talk him out of suicide. 

How proud her parents must be that she loved books and wrote poetry, even if it was about the Bay City Rollers.  How grateful they must feel to have a daughter who once offered them her pocket money when they were having financial difficulties.

She lived a life full of joy and fun, loved being with nature, with her friends, out in the bush, who rode her bike for miles just because she could, who would search for tadpoles and frogs, swim in wide rivers, surf the ocean waves and who once brought a blowfish home to keep as a pet.

This is the child who knew who she was, where she was and where she was going in life.  She is the found child, the one that is loved yet somehow resided next to the lost child.  She has the wisdom and kindness to befriend the lost child and to heal her with loving touch.  They are so close as to be merged.  It is difficult to tell one from the other.  The reviled, the hated and the loved, the lovable.

But these are not two children.

They are one and the same.

They are doppelgangers.

Each others nemesis.

They live in the same body.

They can be friends.

Opposites attract.

The lost and the found.

The loved and the hated.



Because we are one and the same.

They are both me.

The Found Child

Sonia Neale

Sonia Neale was recently awarded the Inaugural Barbara Hocking SANE Australia Fellowship to study and research Borderline Personality Disorder overseas in the USA, Canada, UK and Ireland. Her previous Psych Central blog was called Therapy Unplugged. She is the author of two books, The Bad Mother’s Revenge and Death by Teenager, both published by ABC Books/Harper Collins. She lives in Western Australia, is married with three adult children, has studied psychoanalytic psychotherapy, has a Certificate IV in Mental Health and is studying for a Psychology/Counselling degree. She currently works as a peer support worker in the mental health field. Please email her on davson at

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APA Reference
Neale, S. (2010). The Found Child. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 May 2010
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