Friday, June 11, 2010

the end of kindergarten

This post is also published on our regular family blog, Living With Chaos. As I try to combine the two blogs I will start publishing regular "kid" stories, pictures and things there if it doesn't directly deal with adoption. To make sure you get all the Claire "fix" you can handle, you can follow that blog too.

Recently we attended the end of the year program for Claire. They didn't dress the kids up in cap and gowns for the traditional kindergarten graduation but this program was very cute. The kids sang several songs (we now know why she loves the song "My Country Tis of Thee") and then went through the class showing their picture and saying what they want to be when they grow up. Imagine our surprise when Claire said she wanted to be a doctor; what about all that medical anxiety?!

Here is Claire with her teacher who has been amazing and helped Claire adjust with so much patience and understanding.

On the last day of school we pulled into the driveway and as I was helping the kids out of the car I look back and see Claire crying, big crocodile tears running down her face. I asked her what was wrong and she was able to sniff out a "Ms. V..." She doesn't understand yet that Ms. V will get new kindergartners and she will be OK in a new classroom with a new teacher. I anticipate the first week of school to be a bit rough but hopefully nothing like the very first week of kindergarten a couple of months ago.

These two girls are a couple of Claire's friends; we hear their names the most. She is such a social butterfly and loves having fun with her friends.
One of her friends "N" asked me on a recent field trip "does anyone in China have blond hair?" I told her no, mostly everyone has black hair and she said "so is that why Claire loves my hair?" I had to laugh because if a blond haired person visits China you will nearly be assaulted; everyone wants to touch blond hair and have their picture taken with blond haired people.
Claire has become very aware of the American flag; so much so that she points it out every time she sees it. Do you realize how many American flags are flying just on a simple drive to school? We cannot say our country isn't patriotic if you base it solely on number of American flags flying! Claire tells us that she likes the China flag and the American flag and we always tell her that we like them both too. One day she made this picture for me to scan and email to her foster family showing both of the families she loves.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


My heart aches to go back to China.
Just as much as my heart was ready to return home after being there for nearly 3 weeks, my heart wants to go back.

I miss all of it,

the history
the beauty
the colors

the people
the children
the need

the simplicity
the technology
the two of them intertwined

the red lanterns
the jade
the porcelain

the great wall
the temples
the culture

the subway
the hot pot
the supermarket

the hackey sack dances
the exercise parks
the morning exercise routines

the stores
the language
the food on a stick carts

the river
the trust
the amazing blessing

the need
oh, the need
realizing I can't fix all of the need

I miss China at times like I miss my own home. I look at my daughter, the amazing blessing China has entrusted to me and somehow feel like I'm away from home and need to go back. It's a physical yearning that I want to be there. I've been thinking of ways that will take me back to China to experience even more of it, to help fill a need, to do something, whatever that is.

I struggle with not being able to help all the children that need it. I mentally know that I can't fix it all but I feel, hmm, almost unfulfilled if I don't try to fix what I can.

I will be back in China one day; I know I will.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I have family

Yesterday I received a quarterly email from an adoption agency granting access to a website where they list waiting children available for adoption. I don't know why I must look at all of their sweet faces; we are not in any position to adopt again and not even talking about it but I just have to look when I know a new list has been posted. Self control is not a strong suit of mine when I know there are so many children needing families.

As I was looking at the many, many sweet boys on the list I clicked on one and both girls appeared over my shoulder. Emily said "oh, he's so cute, isn't he cute Claire?"
Claire looked at the many children on my computer screen and looked a bit confused. Eventually she asked "mommy, whasthat?" in her cute accent. I told her all these children need a family to love them....just like you did. I knew when it came out of my mouth that the answer I would get back wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear but I continued anyway.

Me: You needed a family and we wanted you to be our little girl.
Claire: Huh? I have family...China.

What do you say? At the tender age of 7 and not a full understanding of English, I left it fairly simple.

"Your family in China couldn't keep you forever but we can; we will be your family forever."

She looked at me sort of confused and I left it at that. Most likely it will be years before she understands her whole story. We have good reasons to assume she didn't know she was a foster child and after six years with the same family, I'm sure she feels like the rug was pulled out from under her. The only thing we can do is reassure her each and every time that we are forever, that she will never be taken from us. We also tell her that her family in China loved her and they still do and it's OK for her heart to love two families. Right now she doesn't want any contact with her foster family and it is hard for me to tell them that but I have reassured them that we know they love her and we will keep a dialogue with them so she can have the opportunity to explore that time in her life when she's ready.