Suddenly I realized that I’d gone from smiling to wiping away tears.
It all started innocently enough. I was sitting in a stuffy school gymnasium with around 100 other proud kindergarten parents watching my precious one and all of theirs in her first school performance.
The first few numbers were cute enough; a celebration of family, a tribute to Martin Luther King, even a song acknowledging Chinese New Year.
Then they began singing a song titled On the day I was born. I listened with a smile on my face until I heard, “the sun rose up above, and the whole world filled with love.”
In that very moment I stopped to think, for the first time in quite a while, that I really don’t know anything about the day, week, or even month that she was born. I mean, I know what my husband and I were doing around that time here in the US.
But in early March of 2006 give or take a few weeks I have no idea what happened on her side of the world.
There are the little details that I remember asking my own mother about my birth over and over again.
Was the sun shining that day?
Was it early morning, mid-afternoon, or in the wee hours of the night when I took my first breath?
Was my name planned ahead or a decision once my face was seen?
One day, in the not so distant future I suppose those questions, or ones very similar to them, will inevitably come from my sweet girl.
And I won’t have answers for her.
Worse yet, there are the even deeper questions that will likely follow.
Was she cradled in her birth mother’s arms and cherished like she was nearly one year later when I cradled her in my own?
Was there joy that day, or deep sorrow?
What led to the moment that found my precious girl abandoned?
Abandoned. Just typing that word makes my heart hurt.
Much of the time those questions that have answers I can’t provide stay just under the surface.
Don’t get me wrong, talk of adoption, birth mothers, and China have been part of the lingo in our family from the time any of our children could speak. We have close friends who have gone through pregnancies and my crew understands the difference between babies of the “belly” and “airplane” variety (their words, not mine). Each of my four knows that they grew in the womb of another woman and that sometime after they were born I came to China to meet them.
What brought the tears though was the realization that the time that her questions become more sophisticated, and therefore more difficult for me to answer is ever closer.
For right now simple answers satisfy her curiosity. But full on discussions of abandonment, why it happens in general and then more specifically, why it is part of her story, looms on the horizon. And in something so deep, so personal, it feels
that I will be robbing her to answer that I don’t know for sure. Oh to keep her innocence just a little longer.
I was careful to wipe the tears away when her eyes weren’t locked in on mine, and praised her highly for overcoming her stage fright and participating with her class when it was all said and done.
But still, I can’t help but wonder the answers to the questions posed in that song myself. And how I long to be able to give her and her siblings the answers…