Zoe has been intrigued by the fact that our blogger-friend Mei-Ling is in Taiwan meeting her birth family. She's reacted positively, very curious about the whole process. The other day, though, it was too much for her: "It's just not fair that some people can meet their birth parents and some people can't! Mei-Ling can, and P. can (a friend from Korea) but I CAN'T!"
We had lots of tears and cuddling after that, because she's right, of course -- it ISN'T fair, and there's no getting around it. I know that I can't fix it, that I can only commiserate, but I had to try. I reminded her about her desire at age 3 to call her birth mom, so she made a pretend phone call, leading up to suggesting she can always "talk" to her birth family in her head. Zoe was completely uninterested in that suggestion., as illustrated by significant eye-rolling! Maya asked me, "Did I do that, too make pretend phone calls?" No, I told her, she never was very interested in talking about or to her birth parents when she was 3 (or now, for that matter).
And then Zoe pulled out another "it's not fair" -- "Maya doesn't NEED to call her birth family. She has a FOSTER family in China," she declared. Hmm, I knew that sibling rivalry/jealousy was simmering, but Zoe hasn't said much about it. Maya's foster family is good about including Zoe when they send letters, cards, and gifts. But that's not quite the same as having her OWN foster family, a real live Chinese family who cared for you and loved you and who, unlike your unknown birth parents, you don't have to imagine, wonder about, pretend about.
We pulled out Zoe's life book and concentrated on the pages about the nannies at the orphanage, and Zoe especially wanted to hear about the one called Po Po (grandmother in Chinese). We're lucky to have pictures from the orphanage, with a nanny holding Zoe while feeding her a bottle, with another nanny playing with her, with Po Po holding her. It's not a foster family, but it shows real live people in China who cared for her and loved her.
And it's not what she really wants, to know who her birth family is, to meet them. The possibility of that happening is remote.
And that's not fair.