Monday, September 15, 2008

Dear Birth Mother, Dear Foster Mother

They tell us Maya was born today; you know for sure, her birth mother. Is today the day you think of her? Are there any days you don’t think of her? She was only 4 pounds when she was found. Was she born early? Had she been sick? Is that why she was taken to the Women & Children’s Hospital and placed at the gate? Did you have a hand in that? I think that decision saved her life.

She struggled in her first two months, gaining only 2 pounds. Was she grieving? Was she sick? Was she over-looked? Were the nannies overwhelmed? The people at Guiping SWI were worried about her, it seems – they sent her to Mother’s Love Orphanage, because they had doctors and better food and more nannies. They saved her life. And odd how things happen, it was on my birthday that Guiping SWI gave Maya her second chance at life by transferring her to Mother's Love.
She grew and thrived at Mother’s Love, and when she was healthy enough, at age 8 months, Mother’s Love found a foster family to take care of Jin Bing Li, our Maya. Foster mom, I always think about the letter you wrote me, telling me of the first time you saw Maya. She was in her crib, and her hair had worn off in the back because she spent so much time lying down. You cried, and whispered to her, “Mama is here to take you home.” You took her home and taught her what a family is, what hugs and kisses are. You showed her, with your love, that life is worth living.

You asked me if she cried the first night I put her to bed. I told you yes, but only for a few minutes. She let me comfort her in her grief, and let me rock her to sleep. The next morning I woke up to her patting me on the cheek, wanting a hug.
We thank you, foster mama, for your loving care. And for sending Maya a birthday gift each year. Thank you so much for keeping in touch. I’m glad we got to see you again when Maya was 3; she often asks if we can go back to China and see you. I tell her we will. I know you are thinking of her today.
Today, Maya turns 5. She is a miraculously happy child. I was worried when I got her referral – 3 days with her birth family, 2 months at Guiping SWI, 6 months at Mother’s Love, 10 months with her foster family – how does any child handle so many changes? We’d be her 5th placement. Would she be broken? She was, miraculously, whole.

She was and is so strong, so loving, so laid-back, so smart, so funny! She loves to play dress-up, to spin and spin until she falls down, to draw, to dance. She's working hard to do a headstand and a cartwheel. She hates to clean up, and always needs to go potty when it's clean-up time -- what a coincidence! She’s my cuddlebug, and always ready to snuggle. She’s decided she only likes “boy things,” and is having a dinosaur party today. But she still wanted to wear a flower dress! She says “I love you, Mama” three or four times a day, and my heart swells each time. She and Zoe love each other so much. She completes us as a family. She fills our lives with love and laughter.
I can hardly remember a time when Maya wasn’t a part of us. But I know she was once part of your families as well. We all share in what she has become, each in our own way. Today is a day for all of us to remember, to cry, and to rejoice in this child.

Love,
malinda
regular mother

3 comments:

Wendy said...

Beautiful.

Happy Birthday Maya! May you always be a combination of all those who came before and who influence and care for you now. Wishing you all the best!

zoe'sfriendsyd said...

Malinda, What a lovely and heartfelt letter. God Bless Maya on this birthday and here's wishing her so many more lovely days!

Anonymous said...

jdmHappy Happy birthday Maya!
Blessings to you and family!
Liz