Friday, October 9, 2009

Scanning faces and wondering . . .

We went out for dinner last night to our favorite Chinese restaurant, and Zoe asked me, "Do you ever look at Chinese people and wonder if they're my birth parents?"

I wasn't completely surprised by the question. We hear often from adult adoptees about their scanning faces and wondering. But this is the first time Zoe had said anything that suggested she did that. I guess I would have thought of it more as something she'd do in China, but not here. Clearly, I was wrong about that.

So I responded, "It sounds like maybe you do that, look at Chinese people and wonder. . . ."

Zoe nodded, and said, "Especially if they're really Chinese. You know, like they don't really speak English."

Hmm, so she's thinking her birth family might have emigrated to America. She's said something like that before.

Well, another conversation peppered with many "I don't knows" from me. We talked a little about emigration, and why people might leave their country to go to another one, and the things that might prevent someone from doing that even if they really want to. And we talked about how hard it is for her to want to know her birth parents and to be wondering about them. And I told her that other adoptees wonder, just like she does, if people they see might be their birth parents (I wanted her to know she was normal!).

And then Zoe changed the subject: "Let's talk about ME!" she says (What have we been doing?!).

Me: "What about you?"

Zoe: "You know! How you MET me!"

Ah, yes, center-of-the-universe girl! That's what we're supposed to be talking about at our Chinese dinner -- the moment 2,920 days ago that we met each other for the first time!


Lori said...

a long time ago, Mortimer's Mom posted about meeting a woman from China who had emigrated to Canada - the woman told her that she had left a baby in China to be adopted, and always wondered when she looked at adopted Chinese children.

Lori said...

about the same incident

Lisa said...

My thought is that I would reassure her fully that "you think" her birth parents are most likely in China. The reason for this is that if they couldn't take care of her there, surely they probably didn't have the means to travel here and live! I would hope that information may be helpful for her to understand.

Anyway, maybe you already did that and I am overreading. It just sounded like "I don't know" from what you wrote.

I think you can be very honest and reassure her you are VERY doubtful they are here. When she starts to search, probably the best place to look is mainland China!

Lorraine Dusky said...

Well, that's the view from the other side. Until I found my daughter, I always wondered, every time I saw a blonde girl her age--I wonder if that is my daughter, where is my daughter, is that my daughter. I was thinking today that being adopted, or giving up a child, is the most traumatic event that ever can occur in a person's life. No, we never forget.

And you know what is great, even in the midst of your daughter's angst over being adopted--is that she can talk to you about her feelings. In so many cases, that's simply not possible.

I think I feel a new blog coming on.

catherine said...

one of the biggest surprises about meeting my birthmother was learning that she went to college with my uncle and that they were close friends - this is before I was maybe she visited this uncle when she was on a road trip with a friend - oh, and she lived 2 blocks away from our beach house when I was 4ish to 6ish. I WAS that little girl riding my bicycle in front of her house...and nobody knew....still give us the shivers.