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.