This note has always been a bit pesky for me. Zoe's orphanage director said it was found with her. Getting such a note is amazing, consequential, meaningful -- if you believe what the orphanage director said.
But these notes are rare. And all three families getting children from Guiping SWI got notes, and no one else in our travel group with children from other orphanages in the same province got notes. And all of the notes were on red paper. And all of them were said to have no more than the date of birth. We looked at each other's notes, and the handwriting seemed different to us on each note, but what do we know about reading Chinese?!
I don't have any specific reason to disbelieve, beyond what I've already told you. And I don't think there were evil motives on the part of the director -- I sort of think they discovered that such notes made adoptive families happy, so they decided to make even more adoptive families happy by making more notes.
But I don't know, so I've always told Zoe exactly the truth -- "Mr. Gan gave me this note and said it was found with you. I don't know who wrote the note. Mr. Gan says he thinks it was someone from your birth family."
I learned something new about these notes from Jane Liedtke at the OCDF Great Wolf Lodge weekend -- she said that oftentimes adoptive parents were not given the original of notes left with a child, but were instead given a hand-transcribed copy. The SWI workers don't think these notes are as significant as we do, it seems, and don't get why adoptive families would be interested in the original! They figure we just want the information, not this small paper connection to birth family!
That information made me wonder if there might have been an actual note, and maybe the reason all of ours were similar is that a worker transcribed them all. So maybe it isn't all made up . . . .
Maybe because of my doubts I haven't concentrated very much on the note. I accepted that it said nothing more than Zoe's date of birth -- 2000-11-6. But when Zoe was looking at it last week she noticed something I didn't see, and asked, "What's the 3 for?" 3? What 3? That's the number 3 and not some Chinese character? "What's the 3 for?" Good question!
I took it to Chinese Camp today and asked a teacher to translate it for me, and the 3 is the TIME of birth -- 3 a.m. NO ONE told me that in China.
Somehow, this information makes me more inclined to believe the note is genuine. It always struck me as odd that there was no time of birth, since the reason this information is usually left is so that these children can have an accurate horoscope done for purposes of marriage, etc. You can't get an accurate horoscope without the TIME of birth.
So now I'm thinking this note is from Zoe's birth family, and that we now have an additional piece of the puzzle that is her life before we met -- that she was born in the wee hours before dawn.
But who knows for sure . . . .