“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.”
“Yes dear one.”
“May I have some ice cream?”
“With a cherry on top?”
“Mom? You’re the best.”
“Back at ya kiddo.”