And then it was just the three of us. A moment of stillness. My mom, her arms exhausted, tried to put me down. I wailed. She tried to pick me back up, but I screamed even louder. My father took a shot, but I continued going off like the victim of a murder-in-progress. At first, nothing could calm me. Not the American toys they brought, nor the Western fairy tales they read, nor the bright red pacifier they pushed toward my uncooperative lips. I only began to settle when they started to hop. How they came upon this solution they cannot, or will not, say. But the image is strong. A ten-month old Chinese girl in a hotel-issued crib, and two middle-aged white people hopping around the room in order to keep her still.I love her work, and love this description of her work in this review -- "just the right amount of resentment. Not too much; not too little. Just right."
Even after two hours, after the people below banged on the ceiling and the couple next-door complained to the desk clerk, they continued to hop. "Like frogs," my adoptive mom will say at this point. "Sometimes together, sometimes taking turns, but never stopping until you finally fell off to sleep."
"We didn't know what we were going to do," my adoptive dad will add. "We were afraid we'd made the biggest mistake of our lives."
"But it wasn't," I'll say. "Right?"
My mom will smile and say, "We had them send up the two coldest beers they had."
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
I've linked before to short-short fiction by Tai Dong Huai, an adult Chinese adoptee (see here (referencing the "Going Home Barbie") and here and here and here). Here's an excerpt from another, called Frogs, about that moment of first meeting between adoptive parents and child: