every year on our bio-daughters' birthdays, we would wake them up at midnight and carry them to our room. there my husband, the birthday girl, and i would curl up and listen as i recounted their birth story. after telling them and enjoying some snuggles, we would send that year-older-child back to bed with a sleepy grin upon their sweet face.
i placed emphasis on knowing how loved you are at the moment of your birth. no matter what happens in their lives, the last decade + has been the foundation of their being. i pray it carries them through those lonely times in life. that they understand that my love mirrors the Father's Love for us. if nothing else in life, they are loved.
when i started this tradition on their first birthdays, i never dreamed we would adopt two more daughters. i never stopped to consider how it would change our family. i just knew this was God's Will for us. we had more than enough love to give to more children.
since coming home, we have had many struggles, growth, and joy.
i guess that is why i was surprised to hear B did not want to celebrate Gotcha Day in the way we had envisioned. Gotcha is the story of how she came to be in our family. how God had moved us all. how we all became who we are today.
she stated so quietly that the day back in march, last year, was a sad one for her.
oof. mom takes one in the gut. how could i have been so blind? how could i have not thought about her feelings?
yes, they are happy to have us, but have been stripped of everything that made them them. names and friends, foods and culture. i'd be sad too. they do not understand their future if they hadn't come to us. they have this fantasy that their aged out friends went to japan. B has lots of friends living in japan. i think that might be "the old dog went to go live on a farm where it could run and play all day" thing.
i immediately asked her what she'd like to do that day instead. we could pretend it is not the anniversary or whatever she wanted. i just didn't want to be the cause of her pain. i love her so much.
she hugged me and asked if we could just have a normal family day? maybe do something fun as it was also S's Gotcha day too. just not too big of fuss.
we started off with normal OT appointments, lunch at a Chinese buffet that had REAL Chinese food, and then surprised everyone with a 3D movie. we did not talk much about that day one year ago. we just celebrated our family.
whew! we passed that milestone.
then last night happened.
B follows me around like a shadow. last night was no different. she was speaking of her teacher back in China as E came in and said, "is that the same teacher who had an abortion?" i almost fell over. danger. danger. volatile conversation approaching...
i stepped in and asked what that was about. B explained her teacher in China had had an abortion.
i asked if the teacher was married.
i asked if she had a child already.
well then, there you have it. i explained to them that in some provinces some are not allowed more than one child. i explained that the teacher could be fired from her job and her husband too if they did not abort. or they might face heavy fines. you either abort or the alternative is to send the baby to an orphanage.
B then said with a huge smile while holding up the "ah ha!" finger, satisfied detective style, (and this broke my heart), "oh! maybe that is what happened to me."
oh my sweet girl. she could not begin to imagine that she was not sent to an orphanage. she was one of those "not meant to be found."
i will let her have this new discovery for now. i cannot tell her the truth. her self esteem is already so low. how could i ever hurt such an already hurt little girl?
there is a piece of me that feels guilty for not correcting her. her story is her own. someday she will want to fill in those pieces. it is important to know your history.
i know this all to be true. remember? the birthday story tradition?
i'm doing the best i can. my therapist, who works for an adoption agency, said to me today, that i did ok. we give children appropriate information for their ages.
my soul weeps for this beautiful girl. she is so pretty and smart and funny. i am proud to call her my daughter. someday she will find out the truth and be broken. i cannot protect her forever.
after she realized that might be the reason she was an orphan. E and her went on and on about maybe finding the birth mother and what if the birth mother and i each held one of B's arms and tugged her back and forth shouting "she's mine!" they laughed and laughed, while i inwardly cringed. they thought it was all so silly. a game even. how innocent they still are. cringe.
i ended this fantasy factory by stating, "well, she is an American citizen now, her birth mom cannot have her back." and also tossing over my shoulder, "sorry kiddo. you are stuck with me as your mom from here on out."
E walked off still giggling over the image of the two moms battling, leaving B behind with me. i was hoping she'd follow her sister and let me have a good cry. and oh please child, please don't start asking questions that will further reduce me to a puddle on the floor.
but then that sweet kid leaned over my back(during the whole conversation, i was installing a new toilet seat of all things) and hugged me hard and said, "mom, you are the best mom i have ever had. i love you."
i couldn't even speak over the lump in my throat.
yes, redemption is bittersweet.