Every year I do a small photo album of Might Mouse to send back to her orphanage.
Originally, it was meant to be sent out on her birthday. That just didn't work out. I read all the books on "anniversary grief and birthday grief", so I expected that. But I didn't expect that I would suffer from it also.
So, it takes about 2 months before I can sit down and sift through some pictures to put together. I send the director and nurses/nannies a snapshot of our little girls life. They were so good to her. She was well taken care of. She was more fortunately than so many of the orphans are.
I keep it small and portable so I can find someone traveling to receive their new child to hand deliver the album. This way I don't have to worry about it getting lost in the mail or the orphanage being charged some kind of duty or tax on it. So far it has worked perfectly.
MM asks questions about where she came from. She likes to watch the video of our visit to the orphanage. She knows they took care of her when she didn't have a family of her own. She also knows we don't know why she no longer had a family. She understands that China selected her for us and told us we could come get her and give her a family.
So far, we haven't seen any grief manifestations around her birthday. Maybe that is because it isn't right? I don't know. The birth date is a guess. One day, all too soon, she is going to figure out that she has LOST so much. Then, we are prepared for the grief and feelings of being unwanted by her parents.
For now, I feel those pains for her. I wonder WHY. Was it the one child policy? An unmarried woman? The grandparents being unhappy that she wasn't a boy? Does she think of MM? Does she ache with the memory...or has she replaced her with another? Is she the first and only that they have left? Or does she have other siblings living in other adopted homes while they try for a boy over and over?
I don't know.
What I do know, is that our lives have been enriched beyond measure. Our family is forever changed for the better. We also have complicated our lives by adopting a child of another race, that we have taken from her culture and birth land. We took it all from her.
My daughter is anxiously attached. She must touch me, sit on me, be right by me about 50% of her day. But this is better. Its not as frantic as it used to be and I believe she is ready for school and the day away from mom. It took alot of work to get here; but we are here.
If I am cross with her or raise my voice to her.....she comes apart. It is not funny. It is not pretty. It makes me angry - that she has lost so much, so many times, that she has no confidence that it won't happen again. Adults did this to her.
So doing this album every year is pretty much gut wrenching for me. It brings alot of thoughts and emotions to the forefront of my mind.
And I'm thankful for this. Why? Because when it does start to sink in, and she does start to ask those questions, I will have the slightest glimmer of what she's thinking and feeling. And I hope this lesson teaches me to handle her with the grace, love and understanding that she deserves.