Sunday, January 07, 2007

My Cook

Nora’s one-year anniversary is coming up in three days. I’m dancing around the hard stuff. I try to express my feelings for her and can’t get the words or the tone right. I am not despairing, far from it, but it’s been a year and the number 365 has not had the magical effect I was hoping it might have. As I work through my scattered feelings about my little Guilin beauty, here’s a photo from today and a story about my 6-year-old Mimi from Chongqing.
Mimi came up the stairs with her hair stuffed in this knit cap that YuYu's foster grandma gave her last year, announced that she was hungry and started scarfing down my lean cuisine (you know, at least I'm trying, but results do vary). I grabbed the camera to capture her silliness and she piped up: "Can you do these to my fah . . . ....., my cook? The one that loved me.” She had started to say foster family, like Nora and YuYu. Seems I always have a package half started for their foster families and I try to include a lot of photos. Mimi is very aware that Nora and Mimi have something “more” than she has with regard to her beginnings.
Mimi came to me directly from the Fuling SWI in Chongqing. She was 11 months old. We had the tremendous good fortune to drive out and visit the SWI after we received our children in Chongqing. It was a two hour bus ride capped off by maybe an hour and a half, tops, of walking through the old facility (since replaced with a new building to house the children, check the link to Fuling Kids International on the side bar) with me clutching Mimi and trying to figure out how to smuggle as many babies as possible out the gate without getting caught. But that’s a different story.
While we were at the Fuling SWI, a nice looking man with a crew cut courteously showed interest in our Mimi. I asked about him and his connection to Mimi and was told, I think, it was hectic what with my open weeping over the conditions and what not, that he was the cook for the orphanage/old folks home combo and that Mimi was a favorite of his. It certainly appeared that he thought she was special and although she did not reach for him, she was comfortable in his arms. Since I’m a beauty school drop out with regard to scrapbook creating, we haven’t spent a lot of time looking at photos from her adoption trip together. And, really, saying not a lot is even misleading because that would imply any. We just don’t look at the photos, but on the few occasions that we have gone through them together, I have mentioned this man and let Mimi know that he had singled her out as a special baby. But I have not created a myth or dwelled on the story, just kind of mentioned it in passing. But she seems to need this story. She needs to know that she was loved from the beginning.

None of my kids are sophisticated enough in their emotional understanding of abandonment and adoption and what that says about their start in life to ask questions or show any concern, yet. In other families, these issues jump out early and need to be addressed and salved and lovingly handled and placed into perspective much earlier and often than we have experienced. Adoptive parents try to prepare themselves and provide their children with the tools to explore and embrace the early loss, but how each child reacts to their difference is impossible to predict. I know that when Mimi’s time comes to examine her life and how she came to live it, I just know that I will be grateful for two things: this cook who loved her and the opportunity to visit the orphanage to get picture proof that it was so.

Posted by Picasa


Yes, Minister... said...

That child has the most beautiful smile and it is so contiguous! Whenever you post a picture of Mimi – I smile – can’t help it. What a sweet story to go along with a sweet girl :-)

Anonymous said...

Yes, our girls can hold on to whatever we tell them. Whatever little information we have. That picture is worth 1000 words. It is hers, you have the minute or two exchange to share with her and she can make it her own.

Zoe, like your girls, hasn't really asked much, and doesn't have the awareness that other children have. (This, even after our summer visit to her orphanage in Qidong!)

Thanks for sharing and Happy Adoption Day (or whatever you call it in your family!) to Nora!

Maura in Boston

Anonymous said...

I just know that I will be grateful for two things: this cook who loved her and the opportunity to visit the orphanage to get picture proof that it was so.

*****Beautiful sentence and even lovlier is the sentiment, Marji. Mimi is a little bit of heaven on earth.

Happy Family Day for you and Nora. I "met" you both this time last year, as I followed your blog.

I must say, I have *never* seen Nora so happy, so delighted, so child-like and free, as when she was on Santa's lap. Priceless (and oh-so-interesting).

Thanks for sharing yourself and your life story with us. It is rich, poingnant and fascinating, made irresistable because it is real.

Eliza2006 said...

Thanks for sharing this sweet story. I tried to get as many pics and as much video as possible of Eliza with her nanny and orphanage director just so she can see how much she was loved from the beginning. Ah, it brings tears to my eyes.