The other night the girls were watching a Veggie Tales video (in case you’ve been under a rock for the last decade or so, the Veggie Tales series features a tomato and a cucumber and assorted other vegetables sharing Biblical tales or values), and being inordinately silly and giggly while doing so. At one point in the early part of the video, the tomato turns to the audience and asks, “Any questions?”
Zoe immediately responded, giggling through the whole thing, “Yeah, do you know who my birth parents are?!”
Maya corrects her, “No! It has to be a question about GOD!”
Undeterred, Zoe addresses the screen, “Does GOD know who my birth parents are?!”
Tragedy turned to farce – it’s hard to believe Zoe can joke about it when I see her sobbing out her grief and loss about not knowing her birth parents, when she reacts with anger to the idea that her birth parents may have parented her siblings while abandoning her, when she worries about whether the earthquake in China (which was nowhere near where we believe her birth parents to be living) has killed her first family, when she buckles down to learn Chinese so she can speak to her birth parents when she finds them.
I don’t for a minute think that by laughing about her loss that she’s “over it.” I believe the pain, loss, grief, anger and fear of abandonment that comes from Zoe’s loss of her first family will always be with her. Sometimes the emotional turmoil is acute, sparked by something like a birthday or some other incident that reminds us that before adoption comes loss. Sometimes the pain seems less acute, more like background noise. I still worry about it then, because background noise can block out other thoughts and feelings, leaving one in a fog.
And though Zoe laughed, it’s telling that the first question that came to mind for her when asked, “Any questions,” was about her birth parents. It’s there, even when we laugh.