This New Year’s Eve, I’ll be giving my teen a link to her past and giving her information about her adoption.
My daughter is growing up faster than I ever imagined. She’s a teen now, a full fledged adult in training. Yes, she’s got the mood swing and sometimes surly teen attitude, but she’s also becoming more interested and curious about her adoption.
Now that she’s a teen, I’d like to give her a gift this New Year’s Eve. I’d like to give her more information about her background.
She’s never been interested in knowing more about her adoption. Of course, she knows she was adopted. She’s Asian, her father and I are whiter than white. We’ve been a part of many adoption groups and events. Several of her friends are adopted. We talk about adoption openly and often but she’s never seemed to care. She’s never seemed curious about her birth family or roots.
But since we adopted my daughter from China when she was a year old, I’ve kept the topic alive. Wondering out loud if she got her thick, beautiful hair from her birth mother, if her birth father liked to draw too. Just in case she wanted to discuss her adoption, I’ve kept the doors open. Kept a space open for when she was ready.
She now seems ready. A few weeks ago, she didn’t change the subject when I brought up her biological parents. She asked questions. I’ve kept the doors open for these discussions, and I feel with all my heart, that she might be ready to step through that doorway to her past.
And so, on this New Year’s Eve, I’m going to give my daughter a special gift. Tonight, we’ll mark the New Year by looking back. I’m going to haul the big box full of
Tonight, we’ll mark the New Year by looking back. I’m going to haul out the big box of mementos from China. The many documents and dossiers we had to prepare to adopt her.
And most importantly, I’ll open the small box of her adoption treasures. The few items that link her to her past. Her past before us. Her life in an orphanage in rural southern China.The tiny pink onesie she was wearing the day we adopted her. The layers of baby shirt and leggings that hid her thin frame. The trinkets we bought in Guangzhou. The Baby Gap denim jacket she wore. The finding ad from the newspaper with a tiny black and white photo of an abandoned baby girl in a row of many other female infants.
There are still some documents I’m holding back. I don’t know if I’m ready to discuss the exact details of my daughter’s finding place and circumstances. Maybe when she’s 15 or 16, we can talk about larger issues. The one child policy. The importance of sons. She’ll let me know when that time is right. She’ll let me know when she wants to learn even more about her adoption story.
I don’t know when the time will be right to wade into discussions of culture and discrimination. But I know, my daughter will guide me. She’ll let me know when she’s mature enough and ready to process that.
And so on the eve of 2017, we are welcoming in the new year with a look back. Not to the past year, but to her past life.
In order to move forward, we are embracing her past.