Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Love is….Sometimes Painful

“Mom? Why did my baby sister’s birth mom leave her in a cardboard box?” Daughter #1 has just been reviewing daughter #2’s paperwork as we get ready to travel to China soon to make her part of our family. #1 will turn eight years old in a few weeks and was adopted from China 7 years ago at the age of 10 months. This injection of information into her still young mind has started the wheels turning; I can see it in her eyes. I explain that they placed little sister in a box so that she didn’t get stepped on or hurt while she waited for the police to find her.

But why Mama, didn’t her birth mom just take her to the orphanage?” I explain that it is against the law in China to do this and so parents must find another way for their babies to be found so that they can find new homes.

Oh …. Did they at least poke holes in the box so that she could breathe?”

Don’t worry baby, I am sure that the lid wasn’t on and she could breathe.” Silence, so thick and painful I want to cry while she processes this. And then comes the question I have been waiting and dreading for 7 years.

Mama, why did my birth mom give me away? Didn’t she love me? Was I left in a cardboard box too?” This is so difficult to answer on so many levels that I don’t know where to begin. We have talked about adoption from the time she was 2 years old, she has, it seems, always known about it and slowly as she has grown and developed, so has her understanding.

Well sweetie, I don’t know if you were left in a box, but I do know that you were left in front of a Fu Dragon because I saw it. We even have pictures of it. And Fu Dragons are good luck. I don’t know why they couldn’t keep you since we don’t know who your birth parents are and there could be many reasons why they felt they couldn’t take care of you.”

Like what reasons Mama?”

Well, China allows most people to only have one or two children and no more than that.”

So I was extra and they decided to keep the older kid?”

Well, I don’t know, that is one possibility. Or maybe your birth parents were sick, or just couldn’t take care of you the way they needed to and wanted you to have a family that could do what they couldn’t.”

Or maybe it’s because I’m a girl, right?” Apparently she has gleaned this information somewhere. It isn’t hard, strangers in public have commented to me in her presence that “China doesn’t like girls, they only want boys.” And though I have tried to educate the ignorant when I can…or just walk away, you know the message that has remained foremost in my beloved’s mind.

Can we see my birth mom when we go to China?”

No, baby, I’ve told you, we don’t know who she is.”

Maybe she’s dead, and that is why she couldn’t take care of me. Yes, I think that is it, she’s dead.” To think that my daughter would rather imagine her birth mother dead than to imagine her abandoning her is heartrending. My precious one has slowly crawled into my lap as this conversation has progressed and is now inches from my face gazing intently into my eyes. “So if I didn’t get borned in China and my birth mom didn’t give me away, then I wouldn’t have you for my Mama?”

That’s right baby.”

Well then, that must have been the plan. Cause you’re my best mom. You are my only mom. You belong to me.” She says this with a fierceness and grip around my neck that is staggering.

Yes, and you belong to me too, my wisest and most wonderful daughter.” She lets go her death grip and leans back to look at me.

Do you think that she remembers me?”

Baby, you’re hard to forget, I bet she thinks of you every day.”

I love you Mama.”

And I love you too, forever and for always.”

Mama?”

Yes dear one.”

May I have some ice cream?”

Sure sweetie.”

With a cherry on top?”

Sure.”

Mom? You’re the best.”

Back at ya kiddo.”

KKW ©2008

10 comments:

Beverly said...

seems that you handled that one extremely well. I too am waiting for the day that Glenys will figure it all out.

Debby said...

Poignant.....
My youngest one (now 3 adopted at 18 months) is struggling with the fact that her sister was here before she was. Lindsi will often refer back to something we did before Jami came home & Jami will argue for all she's worth, that she WAS HERE...she just can't grasp actually BEING in China. Although, if asked, she will tell you she's from China.

Debby

Jenna said...

That brought tears to my eyes, Kim. You are such an amazing mother, and you and Lily are so blessed to have each other! You're also a great writer!!! I think you should write a type of memoir-book someday about all of this.
Has it been exciting for Lily to watch the Olympics? love you! jenna

Denise said...

Ok, my first comment didn't go, so I will try this again. I am Denise, Lily and my son Gabe are in the same grade at school. we met on the Jamestown fild trip after we had just received our referral of our daughter. Well, I found your blog through another mom who is going to China from our town and I couldn't believe where your daughter is from...Maggie is also from Chengdu! They may have been together. Maggie was in foster care up until Dec 2007, but was at he orphanage from then until I went to get her in March 2008. Anyway, I would love to talk to you. Please e mail me or leave a comment on our blog.

Denise
fourguys@comcast.net
www.journeytomaggiemae.blogspot.com

Quintus kommt an Bord! said...

love your blog!
Linked it to mine on:
www.quintuskommtanbord.blogspot.com
its only german though.....
love your blog! Go on writing! I am begging you!
Love
Heidi

canyon401 said...

Kim,
Saw your post on the SAC. Really liked this entry. Margot talks about her birth mother and such often. It is hard to stay neutral sometimes. I appreciate your sharing because it prepares me for more questions down the road.
Beth

Cindi Campbell said...

My 6 yr. old tells me I'm her best mom too. She is also just coming to terms with the fact that she was had another mother. We are also getting ready to leave for China for #3.
Blessings,
Cindi

Steve n Coco said...

Kim,
I just found your blog from your comment on LovingChinasChildren board. Your post brought tears to my eyes. In our Hague required education, we've read about stories like this and you know it will someday come up, but to hear how beautifully and powerfully you navigated the conversation is inspirational. Good job, Mom! It sounds like there is a lot of love going on in your home...
Be blessed,
Courtney

Cecilia said...

Such a lovely conversation - that's very much for sharing this. Like some others, it also brought tears to my eyes

Cheers,

Cecilia
France

Anonymous said...

Reading your post was as living again a conversation with my older daughter from China, some months ago, when she was also 7 years old. She was in my bed and said just the same words "Why my birth mom gave me away? didn't she love me? I will never forget these words, with such a sorrow!
She also frequently says to me that I'm her truly mom.

Even they live very far away it seems they share many feellings.

I loved how you are able to express it all.

Marta
From Spain