Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Adoption is Permanent

Getting Maya to do her Chinese School homework this evening was quite the adventure.

First, she tried to vamp me out of making her do her homework -- smiling sweetly at me, she said, "You're a nice mama who cares about our feelings!" I respond, "Yes, I care about your feelings. I'm sorry you don't feel like doing your homework, but you need to do it anyway."

Next, she tries to distract me with the continuing soap opera that is Kindergarten. It seems that C., the little boy Maya likes, got in trouble for kissing another little girl in the class (I thought Maya would be the first kindergartner to get in trouble for kissing someone, since my fast girl managed to kiss all the boys in her preschool class last year). But Maya claims to be OK with C.'s attention to another girl since, she tells me, she has an "extra man. (her exact words!)" What?! There's another little boy, K., who Maya claims is her "extra man," because she plays with him when C. doesn't want to play with her. "Extra man?!" Where does she come up with this stuff????

Finally, after the fourth time I told her she could not write her Chinese characters upside down (meaning while MAYA was upside down -- since she had her book upside down with her, the characters would have actually been rightside up!), Maya says with supreme confidence, "You would never give us away, would you?"

Where in the world did that come from? As far as I know, neither of my kids has heard about adoption disruption.

So Maya succeeds in getting out of Chinese School homework -- for a moment, at least.

"You're right," I say. "I would never give you away. Even when I'm frustrated with you, I love you. We are a family forever. That's how adoption works. Adoption is permanent."

Maya says, "Like a permanent marker?"

Me: "Just like a permanent marker, smart girl! You know how I don't want you to write on things with a permanent marker because we can't erase it? The mark stays forever, and we can't ever get rid of it. We can't erase adoption, either. It stays forever."

"Now lets get your Chinese School homework finished."


Jack said...

Nice post. You have a smart one there. Best of luck. And when you get a second, I'd love for you to check out this short video -- http://www.ahamoment.com/vote/kathy -- about the "aha moment" of a woman who adopted a young girl from an orphanage. It's pretty emotional, and if you like it, click and vote for it and it just might wind up being an aha moment TV commercial. And more exposure and awareness of the power of adoption would be a good thing. This round of voting ends Oct 15, so vote early and often.


Wendy said...

M still will randomly ask this as well, sometimes right after saying she wishes she lived with her first family. I am glad we get to see the wheels churning and the understanding forming, I am glad they feel comfortable verbalizing some of their inner most thoughts.

Anne said...

It’s interesting to me that when Maya said “you would never give us away, would you?”, you thought she was thinking about disruption. I assumed that she was that thinking about the fact that her first parents abandoned her and comparing the two situations, as in my first parents gave me away, but you would never do that. Which brings up the loyalty issue and the why didn’t they keep me in the first place issue. It reminded me of a conversation I had with Mae when we were watching Angelina Ballerina. Mae: “who do you think I’m more like, Angelina or Alice?” Something made me stop and ask her, “I don’t know, who do you think you’re more like?” Mae: “I think I’m like Alice, because she’s not white”. So then we talked about that. Note for those of you not intimately familiar with AB: Angelina is a white mouse and Alice is a brown mouse. I just assumed she meant personality, not race. Just a reminder to myself that we need to get them to tell us what they mean (which I know you do and will continue to do...again, again and again!!!).

malinda said...

Interesting, Anne. I didn't make that connection, but you could well be right -- it wasn't so much about the permanency of adoption but the impermanency of her birth family.

I'll have to explore that when Maya gives me an opening!

P.S. Did you get my message? We have Mae's Chinese School textbook.

Mei-Ling said...

What is Maya's Chinese homework, anyway?

I'm wondering if it was somewhat similar to mine when I was a kid...

Anonymous said...

Neither of my kids have their Chinese homework done either. They barely got their regular homework done tonight.
Sue (aka anonymous)

malinda said...

Mei Ling -- the homework for both girls is pretty much writing characters. They have to write each character 5 times, and then there are problems where they have to fill in the blank in a sentence with a character, or draw lines to match characters with a picture. Both girls are also working on memorizing a song/poem for the speech contest.

Does that sound like your homework?