Sunday, February 21, 2010

I Want To Go Back To China.....(I'm sorry, what?)

So after church, we went to Souplantation. Kate is very nicely eating her macaroni-and-cheese, and in between bites says, "I wanna go back to China."

She has said this to me before, once or twice, very calmly and matter-of-factly.
Instead of listening to her words, I try to "hear" what she's feeling.

"What do you think you would do there, Kate?" I ask.
"I would go in my crib and play with my Chinese friends."

"Well, you actually have a lot of Chinese friends here." (There is also a new FCC activity/play group for Kindergarten and pre-K kids starting up in a few weeks that we'll be taking Kate to.)

As she puts another big bite in her mouth, I have to listen closely as she says "I'm starving for Chinese food and for
ChineseLand. I want to go back to China."

Ryan pipes up cheerfully with "You'll never go back to China, Kate." and nicely pats her leg reassuringly. Kevin quickly adds, "Well, we can go back to visit." Colton says "Won't you miss us Kate?" and (Kevin leans in and whispers "She's only 4, and you're confusing two separate issues. It's not a matter of being right or wrong, it's just a matter of being supportive of what she says and how she feels.")

"It's sad my Chinese parents live in ChineseLand. I miss them, Mama. I want to go to China and see my Chinese parents. I just miss them."

"I know, baby."
And then it was over. She went back to eating her lunch, and on to another topic,...I think it was 'can we get ice cream'.

So we have officially begun the emotional journey Kate will be on to understand her life, her heritage, and how she came to be living in San Diego with a house full of brothers.
Before when she had brought it up, I asked her who would take care of her, and she said 'the Chinese ladies at the orphange'. (Good answer). I tried to explain to her that most, if not all of her "friends" have probably been adopted and are now living in America. I pointed out that her brothers and Mommy & Daddy, Murphy, the cats, her preschool, her new ballet/gymnastics class are all here in San Diego.

How do you explain to a 4 year old that while your "life", and family who love you are here, your biological family and heritage is in another country, across the sea. Somehow, I think she already knows. It's confusing to her, but she knows something isn't the way it was supposed to be. She looks at me and smooths the hair away from my face, the way I always do to her, and smiles at me.

I'm glad she talks to me about her feelings of China and her biological parents. I don't ever want her to feel this is a "taboo" subject. I try to help her understand, without giving her an overload of information. (Like when she asked me if she came out of my tummy, and I said, no, you came out of your Chinese mommy's tummy. I don't want her to feel like she just fell out of the sky one day.)
I just began reading "Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child", and one of the points they make early on is that "a child is never "too young" to remember losing a primary caregiver who represented the world and safety when he was an infant, baby or toddler."
How was that for timing!

ps. Two days ago, Kate told Kevin and I, "When I get old and grow up, I'm going to have a Chinese baby....just like you!" What a great kid!

9 comments:

kerri said...

Wow! I just read your blog for the first time. {thanks Brendan}. Beautiful.

Kate is such a smart little girl. I think you are handling this sensitive topic perfectly and lovingly.

What a lucky little girl and an equally lucky family.

Kerri

Veronika said...

I just stumbled upon your blog for the first time. You have a beautiful family! Kate is so lucky to have you!

I attended the Chinese New Year celebration organized by a local FCC group. The book Motherbridge of Love was extremely well received by the parents there. You can find it here:

http://store.barefootbooks.com/motherbridge-of-love.html/?bf_affiliate_code=000-051a

Best wishes,
Veronika

beth bennett said...

A VERY TOUCHING STORY. I LOVE YOUR PICTURES, I HAVE SIXTEEN GRANDCHILDREN AND TWO GREAT GRAND-CHILDREN. I LOVE TO TAKE PICTURES AND BLOG.

BLOGGER BETH

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somethinkorother said...

It seems that your child is very intuitive as I think that all children are until we, as parents, teach them to think otherwise. i believe that what your little girl is feeling is something that is a gift. I think that you are handleing correctly. I wanted to say that she seems to know that her situation is a good thing and just wants to share it with the people back home. I know that right now that is probably not a possibility but in her future I see care and word with children of her same cercumstances. Foster her care for others it will help help in her future. And not that you wouldn't have to begin with but i felt the need to make it more noticable. God Bless you all for your family.

Alonia Anderson said...

You are doing the right thing by telling Katie about her biological parents and her homeland. Who knows may be you will make a special trip to China. Perhaps, when Katie reach 21 years old, she will visit China on her own. You may need to prepare for that day that she would be able to go back and have the freedom to experience her Chinese Heritage.

小沁 said...

pretty girl:)

best wishes.

jb said...

kate is beautiful............Hey can you check out my blog wwwjordansthoughts.bogspot.com

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