I’m no novice when it comes to parenting. And I’m definitely not a novice when it comes to sending my kids off to Kindergarten. But this year, there was something different about the three times I’d done it previously. This time it was my China babies.
Nothing could have fully prepared me for the first day of school. Walking up to the entrance with butterflies in my tummy reminded me of the days I had walked the entrance to the Civil Affairs buildings in their respective provinces with the same crazy nerves. But instead of wondering whether they would accept me or if I was going to be completely overwhelmed by the newest addition to our family, I was nervous for them.
All of our children are precious. But my little ones from hard places have a whole lot more to overcome than my biological kids do. Their appearance is different from that of their classmates. Their family is more conspicuous than average. They’ve got scars…both physical and emotional…that display to the world that their path has not been an easy one. We’ve learned to adapt at home, making the effects of early childhood trauma a part of our new normal that hardly gets a second thought. School is different though. The new “friends” with stories oh so different from the ones my babies tell. It’s hard on a mama’s heart to begin introducing them to the big world.
Yet when I think of what they’ve already overcome, I know they’ll be their own little Kindergarten success stories. Not everyone can lose their birth family, survive in an institution, leave their home country, learn a new language, deal with doctor visits and surgeries on a regular basis and still have the best giggles on the planet. But mine did…and do. Besides, now they’ve got something they haven’t had during so many of the other challenges they’ve faced: A mama who loves them with her whole heart and will fight to her last breath for them. A mama who waits rather impatiently for the final ring of the bell, when her life is filled once again with those smiles and the accompanying stories of their day. I still can’t believe they’re mine, and that I get to walk through all these experiences with them. Savor their joys, cry my own tears over their hurts. It’s one of the greatest honors of my life.