La La How The Life Goes On

Was Lost But Now I’m Found

Posted on: July 23, 2011

July 20, 2011
We went to Bambina’s Finding Spot today. Much more specifically I will not say, since it is not my story to tell. The BabyDaddy and I have never told people where Bambina was placed (Bambina likes the term “placed” instead of “found”), mostly because we believe–for any child–that an adult’s choice of location says absolutely nothing about the child. We’ve always tried to make it a value-free location, simply because–again–what if a child were placed out of necessity somewhere people might gasp at? What would it say about the baby who had been found? Less Than Zero. So we never wanted to say, “Oh, the place is pretty, so your birthmom must have loved you!” Because what if someone she knows has a not-so-pretty spot? It invites the comparison, and an invalid one at that. Who knows what the birthparents were up against? Who knows what their options were? Who are we to attach some ex-post-facto value to any decisions birthparents make? Trying to create meaning out of something like a finding spot speaks volumes about the person creating the meaning but still says nothing about the child. More importantly, being all giddy about a spot puts the adult’s feelings about the place front and center for the child, who will experience that spot in a very different way than you will.

So when we got there I was sure I’d be a weepy mess, but as in all things adoption, I take my cues from the Bambina who was not seeming like she needed me to get all worked up in the moment. I asked her how she was feeling about “all this” and she didn’t reply. I offered that it is okay to have no idea how to feel about it, to decide later, and to change her mind several times even after that. I knew I’d nailed it because she immediately wanted to play one of those endless 2nd grade girl hand-clapping games “tic tac toe, gimme an x gimme an o, gimme three in a row…” Bambina always wants to move onto the next, unrelated thing once she has garnered all the information she needs to think something over. Which I’m sure she will, over the next weeks and months and years.

The key, I think, for adoptive parents (and really all parents in matters of family emotional events) is recognizing that your journey is different and separate from your child’s. I see her placing spot and I think with three minds:

Her mama: So this is where your journey to me began. I could kiss this ground.

Her mama feeling for her birthmother (whom Bambina calls her Chinese Mother): I can’t put myself in your shoes. I don’t know how you found the strength to say goodbye to her, but I thank you. Today your daughter has returned to you here, full circle. I wish you peace, mother friend.

Her mama watching her: I now know why you prefer “placed” instead of “found.” Because this little piece of ground is as far back as we can go in your life history, and that life history begins with your Chinese mother who placed you–not with the person who found you. All you have about your origins starts here. Just you and your mother. An ending and a beginning.

There is a book Bambina likes called, “The Three Names of Me.” It’s about a Chinese-born adoptee who likes soccer and playing with her family, etc etc. She tells us all about herself, including the fact that she has three names: Her Chinese name, given by her orphanage. Her family name, given by her American parents. And her First name, the one her birthmother whispered in her ear before saying goodbye. She doesn’t know the name but it is part of her forever. Bambina loves to believe that she too has a name whispered to her by her Chinese mother.

I decide, standing in this placing spot, gazing upon flowers and plants and the amazing human who is my daughter, that I believe it too.

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