Ming bai

September 21, 2011 a father's perspective, Adrian, foster care, Parenting Special Needs, spina bifida 0 Comments

I love this word in Chinese:  明白, or, if you do not have Chinese fonts installed on your computer, it is “Ming bai”.

Little Lukai whom will arrive in Canada on Nov 24th!

Now, why do I love it?  Because it means “to understand”.  Or, to “see clearly”.  Literally, I think it means something like “bright” (ming) and “white” (bai).  And obviously, “bright white” is something which is clear, or easy to see and understand… not cloudy or convoluted.

Ping:  Daddy, when Lukai come?
Me:  Well baby, Lukai is going to come home in November.  Your Mommy and big brother D are going to goto China, and bring Lukai home.
Ping:  I was in China!
Me:  Yup.
Ping:  And you and Mommy and K came and got me!
Me:  Yup.
Ping:  Just like Lukai?
Me:  Yup.  Mommy is going to go to China, and bring Lukai home, just like when we brought you home.  Ming bai?
Ping:  Ming bai.
Me:  Good.
Ping:  Daddy…
Me:  Yes?
Ping:  You shave?
Me:  Yes, I will shave for Lukai.
Ping:  Good.  Because you have to shave.
Me:  Ming bai.

Lukai standing in his Foster Parents Yard

I love that Ping is able to see us as a family go though the adoption of our son Lukai.  It is amazing how many times she asks about her adoption, how she questions what happened, why we came, why she “had no Mommy” (her words!  Not mine!  Don’t no one yell at me!), etc.  I also find it amazing that she thinks me shaving will help the adoption… mmmmm…

And we do our best to explain things on her level… but of course, they can only absorb and understand so much.  But watching us adopt Lukai… where SHE is on the inside now.  Where she sits at the table and listens to to us talk about Lukai while we eat, while we play, when we go to bed and pray for him… well, now… now she gets it.  Now there is a 明白 (ming bai) understanding that she could not see before.

This 明白 (ming bai) extends beyond just the actual act of adopting, and is starting to help bring bai-ness to other areas as well.  Lukai also has Spinabifida.  And like trying to explain adoption to a 4 year old, it was easier for them to understand it when they could see it.  Ping gets to see Spinabifida now from “the other side”… not the one with Spinabifida, but the one looking in.

Ping:  Lukai have an owie on his back?
Wife:  Yes.  (making muffins for diner)
Ping:  Like me?
Wife:  Yes.  Just like you.  (still making muffins)
Ping:  And his back is broken.
Wife:  No, not broken.  See, when he was in his Tummy Mommies tummy, part of his back is missing some bone.  Do you remember what that means?
(I love the way she keeps talking to Ping about these issues without turning them “into issues”.  There is no “oh come sit over here and lets cry about this”.  It kind of reminds me of when a child falls and scrapes their knee… if the Mommy looks shocked and starts screaming, well, then the child does as well.  But if the Mommy keeps calm, so too the child.)
Ping:  Ummmmmm… yes!
Wife:  Okay, well, when he came out, his Mommy loved him SO much that she had to get him to a Doctor to fix his back.  And they did.  Now, he is all better.
Ping:  Reeeeally?
Wife:  Really.
Ping:  Can I have a muffin?
Wife:  No.
Ping:  Reaaaaally?
Wife:  Really.
Ping:  But my back is broken!
Wife:  Your back is not broken, and you are not getting a muffin.
Ping:  Will Lukai have to go Doctor like me?
Wife:  Yes.  Yes he will.  But that is OK.  And you will be able to tell him all about it!
Ping:  Reaaaaaaally?!
Wife:  You really like “reaaaaally” dont’cha.
Ping:  *laughs*
Wife:  Can you help Lukai with the doctor when he comes?
Ping:  Mmmmmm… I think about it.  (I also love the fact that she is honest enough here to admit she will “think about it”.  I was hoping for a “Yes!  I will take care of Lukai!”, but that is still coming.  She will take care of her brother, she just may not know it yet, but she has that in her… I can see it.  She talks about teaching him how to “be not rude” and to “play nice”)
Wife:  And are you excited for Lukai coming home?
Ping:  I think that maybe be OK.
Wife:  Oh good.
Ping:  Is my owie bigger?

I love that last question!  Sibling rivalry starting already!  The conversations really go on for much longer than that, but they start to get repetitive.  It is very interesting to see Ping work through her own life story by watching her brothers story unfold (granted there are differences.  Ping was in a wealthy 500+ child orphanage while Lukai is in Foster Care in a smaller/poorer city).  She can really see herself in it.  I kind of get now why people adopt more than 1 child (sometimes).

We waited 135 days for his LOA!  Uhg!

Originally, I thought 1 adoption and I’m done!  4 kids!  That’s enough for any sane person!  Maybe a single adopted child is fine… because then adoption is the “normal” (goodness I hate that word) way child come into the home.  But for us, with 3 biological children, Ping was definitely aware of the difference… and I don’t think she could connect her story to that of her siblings.  But she can do that now with Lukai.  And because she sees her other brothers and sister excited for Lukai before he even gets
home… she is starting to understand she was loved before she got here and help connect her story to the siblings.  So that makes her story less scary.

And the fact that Lukai has Spinabifida as well… well, that makes her story even a little more less scary.

Now… having 5 children roaming my house in about 50 sleeps… that makes MY story a whole lot MORE scary.

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