As an adoptive parent, I sometimes forget that my adopted children had a life before me… that their life did not start when we met in a Chinese Civil Affairs building.
The following essay was written last year by my 9 year old daughter, Mia, as part of a class assignment on “A Place I would like to visit.” It is a poignant reminder of how little I know about the first two years of Mia’s life. It also reminds me not to assume that my lack of answers makes the questions any less important. In many ways, maybe the opposite is true.
With Mia’s permission, I share it today hoping that it will spark important conversations at your house like it has here in ours.
It was spring in Feng Cheng City, China, when I was born. My tummy mommy had to leave me in a basket on the sidewalk, but we don’t know why. I’m pretty sure she cried.
She left a note, and it said, “April 1, 2005, by biological mother.” She had very nice handwriting.
A policeman found me and took me to an orphanage where I would stay. They named me Chu Chu, which is a princess name in China. I don’t know what my China mommy called me, but I’m thinking it was a beautiful name too. I stayed in the orphanage about two years, and I’m sad about that.
A husband and a wife named Mike and Anne came to adopt me in China right before I turned two years old.
One day during the adoption trip, we went to a fancy Chinese restaurant, and a funny thing happened! After we ate, they brought a big plate of watermelon for dessert. My mom and dad gave me one piece, and I ate it all. Then they gave me another one, and I ate it, too. I probably ate about forty pieces of watermelon! All of the restaurant people came around our table to see how much watermelon I could eat. I still like XiGua (shee-gua) (watermelon) today!
When I came home, everyone greeted me, and we are a very happy family.
I still have a lot of feelings about Feng Cheng City, and a lot of my feelings are questions. I wonder what it looks like there now? I wonder if anything has changed since I left? I wonder if they kept my baby stuff? I wonder if the people are kind there? Do they know about Jesus? I wonder if I have any brothers and sisters there? What do my Chinese mother and father look like? I feel sad because most kids know what their first parents look like, but I am happy for them. Sometimes I cry about my Chinese family, and sometimes alone in the backyard I sing songs to them; maybe it’s a song she sang to me when I was a baby.
If I was going to send a note to my China mommy, this is what it would say, “Dear China mommy: what is your name? I miss you. I want to know where you are? Why did you have to leave me? I would like to tell you what I can do now! I can sing, dance, read, and I have other talents, too! I hope someday you can come to where I live and stay with me. What is the real name you gave me?
Don’t worry, I have a nice family. I hope you do, too. Love, your daughter Mia.”
Maybe I will eat some more watermelon when I go back to Feng Cheng city someday, and maybe I will hear my China mommy sing our song so I’ll know which one she is.
Someday I would really like to go to Feng Cheng City again.