Thursday, February 19, 2009

Another Birth Parent Story

As I mentioned, Zoe's last story was written at a friend's house, and her friend also wrote a story. Like Zoe, Sydney is 8 and adopted from China. I have permission to share her story, too. This is exactly how Syd wrote it, lines and !!!!!!! and all!

Once upon a time in a small town a little girl was born. Her parents were so, so happy. Their only girl. But the law in China said only one child. The parents were heart broken to hear this rule.

On the day she was born they tried to have as much fun with her but on the second day they had to say good-bye to the little girl. They wrapped her in adult clothing and put her in a basket and took her away. They put her by the gate to orphanage, which is, by the way, a very risky thing to do. They then set her down and said "good-bye" and they left and they were never seen again.

The girl was just sitting there for a long time until a guard came by and saw the baby girl and took her to his station right away. They soon found out that the girl had no parents and took her straight to the orphanage and there she stayed there for 13 months. It was a busy 13 months day and night. Finally a nice woman named Lisa got a letter from China and was asked if she wanted to adopt the baby girl in China. Lisa said "yes." She wanted a child more than anything! So she packed her bags and was off!

In China the baby girl was still there when Lisa got there. She took a hotel room and waited til the Chinese ladies came with her baby. She was going to name her Sydney. Then there was a knock at the door........... IT WAS the Baby Girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then it was a happy ever after.

The End

Did you like this story? If you did talk about it with your family. If you are adopted and don't know your story well this might be like it so read it and find out! Enjoy! I wrote this story because I like my adoption.
The End

Lisa and I are fascinated by the similarities and differences in Zoe's and Sydney's stories. The end part, did you like the story, talk to your parents about adoption part, is obviously a collaboration. But the rest seems to be each of them trying to come to terms with different parts of their stories. Here's Lisa's take:

This is how I see it: Sydney is fantasizing some, but not to the level Zoe is. . . .

Sydney appears rather matter of fact about the whole thing, as is her personality. Everything HAS to make sense. She questions and questions and questions and probes until it makes sense. Not just about adoption - everything!

The first part of the story is basically as I have told her over time as she has asked questions. Just her take on what I have said, because it isn't word for word. I have never said her birth family was "so so happy" when she was born. But, think about this - we have read On the Day You Were Born many times. And as I see her view: "who the heck WOULDN'T be happy when their child is born?"

The whole saying good-bye thing was interesting. I truly think she got that from the China Workbook, and just figured that is how it must have happened because it makes sense. In her mind, "who would drop off a baby without saying good-bye?"

She has been adamant that she got to spend a joyful day with her birth parents for 24 hours after she was born, (and then they took her to the orphanage). And she did ask me if she had to wait long for a guard to come and find her. I told her I didn't think so, since she was placed close to the guard gate and the guards walked around all night. But yet in the story she waits a long time for the guard.

I agree with Lisa's take. It seems to me that Syd is focussing on reality, more than fantasy. Yes, she is fantasizing all kinds of positive and loving responses from her birth parents, which is a normal (and good!) thing. But she's focusing more on the actual abandonment rather than the reasons for it. This is the hard part to reconcile, isn't it -- the fun, loving birth parents sad to say goodbye, who then left her alone and went away never to be seen again. In some ways, the telling line for me is "The girl was just sitting there for a long time . . . " But even with this, her story is a happy one and "I like my adoption."

And I love the mutual story writing -- they are so lucky to have each other and their love for writing to help them work through these issues they have in common.


Mei-Ling said...

"Yes, she is fantasizing all kinds of positive and loving responses from her birth parents, which is a normal (and good!) thing. But she's focusing more on the actual abandonment rather than the reasons for it."

No one is "supposed" to give up their baby. The word "abandonment" tends make adults wonder... so how on earth do kids learn to reconcile fact with fantasy?

malinda said...

What I was trying to say, apparently inartfully, was that Syd was struggling with the good people doing bad things aspect.

I agree, becoming reconciled to one's abandonment is unrealistic. But I do think part of the process for adopted kids is to reconcile their fantasy of good, kind birth parents with the reality of the act of abandonment. What has to happen, I think, is an acceptance that there really isn't a black/white, good/bad, either/or dichotomy.

What I hope for Zoe is that she will come to understand her birth parents as regular, ordinary people who did the best they could in the circumstances life dealt them. But at this age, she's not ready for ambiguity, so her birth parents have to be good, kind, precious, perfect.

Lisa said...

I don't think children reconcile fact with fantasy at our daughters' age. It is my understanding that as our daughters enter their adolescent years the responses to their own adoption situations will change based on multifactorial reasons.

I'd just like to add this -
How we discuss adoption in our family:
Adoption is about claiming and loving. We have claimed our girl as our own child. We give each other our hearts for eternity. She very much loves that discussion, and adores my heart necklace with the little baby inside that represents her. I hope her understanding and feelings toward our claiming and loving her stay constant, even though she faces the issue of abandonment.

We don't gloss over the facts of her adoption and that her birth family is out there. We give her truths, and tell her when it's opinion.
For example - she asked if her birth family were "nice people" and we told her we think yes because of all the wonderful traits we see in her that came from them. That is our opinion.

We don't want her to feel DEFINED by her adoption. Adoption is just ONE part of who she is.

Wendy said...

Thank you for sharing the girls stories. It is very interesting to hear them tell their story back--what they add, what they take away, and how it changes over time and with new information. I can hear M working out her ideas as the gaps in her story are filled. It is one way (just one) to keep in touch with her feelings and her processing without constantly hearing parental voices--which can sometimes overtake the real work happening within.

For Malinda--I emailed you, but if you have anything to go to Guiping let me know. Also, I have to say that as the gaps fill M has really shown great growth and confidence in herself. I hope Zoe gets those same answers--actually for all of the girls/boys; I can see first hand the difference it makes.

malinda said...

Beautifully said, Lisa!

Thanks, Wendy, I'll be emailing you.

Mei-Ling said...

Malinda - not sure if you got my e-mail pertaining to this post or not.

"Syd was struggling with the good people doing bad things aspect."

I see...

Lisa said...

Mei-Ling - Honestly, if you have insight on this post I won't be offended if you say what you think. I know you probably don't want to hurt any feelings here. I value your insight and read your blog regularly, even though I don't have access to the protected areas. Your perspective is helpful to myself and other AP's. :) Lisa

Mei-Ling said...

I'm at a friend's house right now - so I can get past to this post in about 2 days and give you my thoughts on it when I'm not so distracted.

Mei-Ling said...

Lisa: I already e-mailed Malinda on this aspect. The birth stories were bothering me because it *seemed* to represent adoption as being so simplistic.

I know, I know. They're KIDS. There's a certain level of emotional comprehension that will take a while for them to absorb as they grow older. But Zoe's story bothered me because it gave me the impression she was thinking of her adoption in a black & white manner. Considering her age, I was surprised to see how brief her thoughts appeared to be on this topic, although I must say a blog is hardly representative of all of one's thoughts!

I think the main reason why it bothered me so much is that it's just SO stereotypical of what many adoptive parents think about their child's adoption.

I know there are a lot of APs out there who read blogs, who dig into the nitty-gritty stuff and who are willing to learn. I know there are a lot of APs who try to "get it" and prepare themselves emotionally for the day that their kids will say "But why me? Why was I given up for adoption? Was I a bad child?"

(Because let's face it, on an emotional level, how could anyone give up their own flesh-and-blood?)

But there are still many APs who stick their heads in the sand, who dismiss the blogs as "angry" or "bitter" or that they'll do things differently and they're so confident their kids will NEVER have any issues, and if their kid wonders, the AP will say "Well, what did I do wrong? I don't understand!"

THAT is what irritates me, because these stories with the somewhat fairy-tale endings echo the views of a LOT of parents who will be adopting, or who have already adopted.

I cringe because they have no idea what's in store for them.

(Sorry if this comes off as rant-ish - it's been far too easy to get me all triggered lately...)

Lisa said...

Mei-Ling - You do not sound rantish! Thank you very much for your insight. It is very kind of you to think things through and give us your opinion.

malinda said...


I always appreciate the perspective you bring to all things adoption! I did get your email, and will email you back in more detail, but I wanted to comment briefly here. (Same busyness that has kept me from blogging the past week has kept me from answering emails, too!)

I agree, some of what the girls write -- about the happy aspects of their adoption stories -- is pretty stereotypical of what adoptive parents say. I will always tell my kids about the joyous parts of adoption, and how happy they've made me. I think I can do that without obscuring the difficult parts, and while still acknowledging the loss that adoption also entails.

I also think that these stories seem like age-appropriate stories about age-appropriate feelings. At this age you have to read between the lines, since they are just now dealing with some of the difficult bits of adoption.

One of Zoe's issues about her abandonment is whether it's OK to be angry at her birth parents. When she first started to express her feelings about her abandonment, she told me she was mad at them for not keeping her, but then she said she didn't want me to tell anyone she was mad. We've kept talking about it, and I am always accepting of any feelings she wants to reveal, but she still tends to suppress her anger.

I tend to find her expressions of anger in the "fiction" stories she writes, But she still hedges that anger by expressing love and positive images of her birth parents.

That's what I was talking about in saying she's trying to figure out the good-people-doing-bad-things aspect of the story. She's trying to find a way to love her birth parents and be angry at them at the same time.

Mei-Ling said...

"At this age you have to read between the lines, since they are just now dealing with some of the difficult bits of adoption."

Yeah, I was trying to do that as well, although not very successfully, as you can see by my comment.

"One of Zoe's issues about her abandonment is whether it's OK to be angry at her birth parents."

The interesting thing is that I used to be really angry that I was relinquished, too. Even though intellectually I knew it was not their fault - when I first started contacted - I was still quite pissed off that *seemingly* they did not fight for me. And then of course, finding out that my sister was born because of that only worsened it.

But I did not express my anger except through blogging, which is why a lot of my earlier entries are more rant-ish. It was sort of like saying "Well I'm angry they didn't keep me, but I shouldn't feel angry because I know why they relinquished me and I know it's not their fault."