From an adoptee's perspective, a link to a previous post -- another story by Tai Dong Huai, the adult Chinese adoptee who writes fiction related to adoption (I posted her story, Backwards , last month). In Chinaman's Chance, her 13-year-old self thinks a Chinese woman her mother brought home might be her birth mother:
This is her , I think to myself. A billion-to-one shot, a near impossibility, yet here she stands. In our kitchen. As if hell just froze over.And thanks to Lori's link in the comments, scanning faces from a Chinese birth mother's perspective at Mortimer's Mom's blog:
"This is Mrs. Lim," my adoptive mom says. "Mrs. Lim, my daughter Leah."
Mrs. Lim's is as razor thin as I am. Her hair, like mine, is very dark brown, black by most light. My 13-year-old nose, uncustomarily long for an Asian girl, seems to be reflected in her middle-aged face.
* * *
I hear my mom on the front porch and I know my time with Mrs. Lim is almost through. My adoptive dad, were he here to give me advice in this situation, would probably say, "Go for it," or "Swing for the fences." So I do.
"Are you my mother?" I ask.
Mrs. Lim stares at me for a few long seconds, and I'm afraid at first that she doesn't understand. I'm sorry, I'm about to say. Stupid question. But she interrupts my thoughts as the front door opens.
"Your mother," she says, "just came in."
This afternoon, I was at Reno-Depot (Canadian home depot, except green) with Dumpling, picking out paint for her attic playroom.
There was an Asian couple also trying to select paint, and I could tell the lady wanted to talk to me but was too shy.
* * *
They did turn out to be Chinese, . . .Then he told me his wife was having a hard time because she didn't speak either languages, but also because in Montreal there are really a lot of white families with chinese girls, and it's very hard on her.
At first I thought he meant she was opposed to international adoptions or something, but the rest of their story brought me to my knees, right there in the paint department. They have a six year old daughter. But they also have a 3 year old daughter. They lived in Shanghai at the time of their 2nd daughter's birth and were unable to keep her. They had to give her to an orphanage. 6 months afterwards, their papers came to allow them to travel to Canada. After he told me this, he told his wife what he had told me and she began to weep openly, while caressing my daughter's face.
* * *
The part that was the most thought provoking to me is this: I read Lost Daughters of China, I've thought about my daughter's birth family often, but this had never occured to me before: some of these parents will emigrate. Some of them will come to Canada and the US. They are confronted with happy families caring for Chinese children and must wonder if their own daughters are here in North America, if they made it, if they have families now....
How is it that in this entire process, I have never once given the thought to these parents ever leaving China? Why did I assume they ALL stayed there? I realise that the numbers who do emigrate are low, and the chances of any reunification for ANY of the daughters of China are astronomically small, but that woman today, she is looking for her daughter in the faces of every tiny Chinese girl with white parents....
Wow! Even knowing how little chance there is that my children's birth parents will/have emigrate/d (which, by the way, I told Zoe), that encounter still gives me chills. And thanks to Lorraine's comment, we know that there is little to separate American birth mothers and Chinese birth mothers on this front (and I'm looking forward to your blog post on the topic, Lorraine!).