Monday, September 8, 2008


Zoe's class is working on autobiographies. Here's the one she did at home this weekend; she says it's different from the one she's working on at school. She doesn't want her thoughts on her birth parents to be in the hall for every parent to read, she said (She still doesn't mind me posting about it on the blog. She told me the other day that she wants me to post about it because she wants to know if other kids are thinking about their birth parents like she is (hint, hint!)).

In case you can't read it in the drawing, above, this is what she said, all spellings original:

My name is Zoe. I was born in Guangxi Profince of China. I was adopted by an American Women, named Malinda (Mindy) is my mom now. I think about my birthparents very much and I wonder if my birthmother's face looks like mine. When your adopted some people don't have a dad, like me. My Chinese name is Jin Yiling. I like my home in Texas, but I wonder where my birthparents live, then I'll know where they live and I'll know why they let me go.

We were driving in the car yesterday, and Zoe said we should write a note to take to the police station in Guiping. Since the police know everybody, they should know who her birthparents are and could draw us a map to find them, she said. I told her I didn't think the police knew everybody, like she thought. And then we talked about how it made her feel sad and frustrated not to know about her birth parents.


Wendy said...

It is great that she can express her feelings at home, but also sad that she cannot share at school or face judgement, questions, etc.

Great job Zoe!

zoe'sfriendsyd said...

I think Zoe may be using her WISE decision making, and choosing to say "It's private." With WISE Sydney uses different scenarios depending on who she is speaking to. Recently she said "Pretend you are someone asking a question and I'll decide how to answer." I said "I am Zoe. How do you feel about being adopted?" She said "I love it! How about you?" I answered that I did, too.
Then I said "I am Christopher, how do you feel about being adopted?" She said "It's too private, I really don't want to say." Mostly she says "It's private" unless it's someone she feels very close to or comfortable with. She is a very private person!
It sounds like Zoe is so far ahead of any thoughts Sydney has. Sydney still chooses to ask simple questions about the birth parents, and if I wax on too much she'll stop listening.

Speaking of WISE - let me just throw this out for thoughts. Sydney said today she told a girl (Kristine) that she was adopted, and Kristine said "Oh, I am sorry." Sydney said "That really confused me, why should she be sorry?" I said "Maybe she is sorry for your birth mother who couldn't keep you." Sydney then looked a bit distressed and perplexed. I was afraid I had planted a thought or feeling in her head that perhaps she wasn't ready to have. But then she moved on to discuss other items on her agenda in her usual way.
I wish I had a do-over, anyone have any ideas? Where's that rewind button?

zoe'sfriendsyd said...

PS I think I was wrong in saying "maybe she is sorry for your birthmother" because I am SURE that is not what that little girl meant. Perhaps the statement was part of the other child's "what if MY MOM couldn't keep ME?!!" I feel comfortable saying she put her heart into saying "I am sorry" but it seemed to confuse Syd nevertheless.
OK...carrying on as if it's MY blog!

malinda said...

Syd's mom, I'm so glad you posted this -- you're not taking over the blog, I WANT dialog, remember?!

I'm wondering if maybe Kristine has heard some negative things about adoption before -- maybe something as simple as overhearing someone at home talking about someone who "had to adopt" because they couldn't have "kids of their own;" that can convey that adoption is second-best. I think it's pretty clear that Kristine doesn't understand much about adoption, which is pretty typical of non-adopted kids of her age.

I think you have a GREAT opportunity for a do-over. You can tell Sydney that you've been thinking more about what Kristine said, and ask her what she thinks Kristine meant (I know she asked you because she wasn't sure, but she might have some ideas. Maybe that's why Sydney looked distressed or perplexed -- she's got some idea of why Kristine said that, and it wasn't about her birth parents, so your suggestion didn't ring true to her.)

You might explore with Sydney whether she thinks her school mates understand much about adoption, what she wished they knew or understood, and introduce the idea that Kristine probably doesn't know much about it.

Maybe it's WISE to talk to the teachers about the S.A.F.E. in Schools program again!

And of course Sydney threw this out, completely torturing you and twisting you inside out trying to figure out the right thing -- and they she's off to other things like nothing happened! Zoe does that to me ALL THE TIME!!! And then I spend weeks angsting over something that she is just so OVER!

This is just one person's middle of the night suggestions -- I might be completely off base on what Kristine was thinking. I hope others will comment, too.

malinda said...

Syd's mom, one more thought.

Some ideas for a "do-over" of the birth mother part of it -- and whether and when is up to you, of course! And I'm not sure you need a do-over of that part. It's always great when our kids see us comfortably talking about BPs, so they know they can talk to us about them, too.

But how about explaining your remark by introducing the idea that adoption is happy AND sad. Maybe saying that you feel sorry for Syd's birth mother since she doesn't get to see what a wonderful girl Sydney is, and you're happy that Sydney is your daughter forever. You might want to introduce the idea that it's ok for Sydney to be happy about adoption, and sad about parts of it, like not knowing things about her birth parents that she might want to know.

But remember -- YOU ARE THE EXPERT ON SYDNEY!!!!!!! NO ONE knows her better than you do! So you know whether she's ready or needs to have this converation!

Wendy said...

We received our WISE book and Madeline has really taken to it. We made her own printed out copy of the W.I.S.E part and she carries it with her (her idea). I think the ideas in the book are awesome and very empowering.

I looked at my first comment and I should have expanded. I do agree that the kids should have the right to say or not say, I just meant it is sad that society is not more accepting/less nosy/and judgemental.