When Zoe first came home, I started a Mother's Day tradition of writing a note to her birth mother, and as Zoe got older, she began to write a note to her birth mother on Mother's Day. Maya was added to the tradition when she came along.
The notes are undeliverable, of course. They are kept in a drawer, waiting for the day we might be able to discover who their birth families are.
But this year, Zoe wanted to add something new to the tradition. She asked if we could burn the notes, in hopes that the smoke would carry the good wishes to China and find her birth mother, or find her birth mother in heaven if that's where she is. (She remembered seeing the burning of hell money and other paper objects at Buddhist temples when we were in China.)
Zoe decided that the only proper way to do it was to put the notes in lucky red envelopes (which, BTW, are really hard to burn!). She and Maya solemnly wrote their notes, with Zoe wishing she and her birth mother could spend Mother's Day together. And then we went outside (all fire safety precautions at hand!) and set fire to the envelopes. As the smoke rose, Zoe and Maya cheered. They're sure the smoke found a wind current to take it all the way to China.
Happy Mother's Day to ALL mothers, near and far.
Grieving the Unknown.
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