Monday, February 15, 2010

"I wouldn't want a Chinese mom"

The girls and I have been talking off and on about the Jim Crow era since I blogged about it. Maya has said several times that she was glad the era was over and that I was allowed to adopt her. She added something new the other day: "I wouldn't want to be adopted by a Chinese mom, she wouldn't show us all the wonderful things you have in America."

Wow, where did that come from? How to answer that? Multiple choice time! What would you have said?

A. "Well, you could have been adopted by a Chinese-American mom, and she'd show you wonderful things in America."

B. "There are wonderful things in China, too."

C. "Actually, you have a Chinese mom -- your birth mom!"

D. All of the above.

E. None of the above.

F. Other.

I'll give y'all a chance to answer the pop quiz in the comments, and then add a P.S. to tell you what (if anything!) I said.

P.S. You're all right -- I said D, all of the above, though I can't vouch for the order in which I said it! A was about reminding Maya that not all ethnically Chinese people live in China. B was about helping her value China and things Chinese. I wish I had been as eloquent as Mei-Ling, but I did make the point that being adopted in China would have been good, too. And since Maya was focusing on the wonderful things I've shown them in America, we talked about all the wonderful things I've shown them in China, too. C was about reminding Maya of her Chinese roots, that she has a Chinese mother, that she is ethnically Chinese. We actually talked quite a bit about B & C, because it's a recurring theme for Maya that she doesn't want to be different, which I'm always concerned will turn into dislike of all things Chinese, including herself.


Mei Ling said...

I would have said:

"Well, it's true you have many wonderful blessings in America. But that doesn't mean you wouldn't have had the same blessings in China, too. Because blessings can come in all sorts of different forms, not just toys - so you could have had wonderful things in China too. Not the same things, but different things."

JBH said...

D. All of the above.

and I like what Mei Ling added, too!

Wendy said...

I am going with D as well!

Diane said...

“ a Chinese mom”

Maya is referring to a domestic adoption, right?

“...wonderful things you have in America”

Can you clarify the ‘you’ here- meaning you/Malinda or you as a collective ‘we’? IOW- is she including or excluding herself with that statement?

malinda said...

Yes, Maya was saying she didn't want to be adopted by a Chinese mom in China. And the "you" is me. Apparently I show them all kinds of wonderful things in America. . . .

Joanne said...

I think I would have added a little bit of everything you listed, but emphasizing that China has so many wonderful "things" too - I like what Mei Ling said and want Mia to be SO proud of her Chinese heritage. O.k,what did you say??

Diane said...

I would have nurtured a discussion about how you are not a tour guide-but a Mom. And she is not a tourist in America- she is an American citizen. America is hers just as much as it is yours. Maya is America the beautiful defined!

Of course- she is also a part of a profoundly beautiful country & first family on the other side of the world and I know that you would never minimize that. My kids are very visual so I probably would have busted out a China photo book or popped online for photos.

We had a country loyalty issue come up during the Olympic Games.

My oldest said, during a competition with Chinese & US competitors, WHO DO I CHEER FOR?
I told her to cheer for whoever she wanted to cheer for...she said-
Ok! I’ll cheer for both!

malinda said...

Diane, we have that loyalty issue with each Olympics, and my girls also decided to cheer for both US and China -- and France, since their Mimi is from France!