A few weeks ago SS and I were approached at the Mall by an IA mother. She walked up to us and said "your daughter is Chinese," not a question, a statement. she introduced herself and later to her Korean born teenage daughter (she also has a bio son and Korean born son). I got a kick out of meeting her daughter E, because although very polite, she had that "Oh Mom, are you stalking parents of Asian kids again" body language. G provided her e-mail address and invited us to join her and other parents of adopted Asian children to their Chinese New Year lunch. She stated that it seems to be the only Holiday they can manage to get together.
Chinese New Year was last Sunday, Valentine's Day, but the lunch was today. It is the first time since China that we had been surrounded by Caucasian parents (except me, of course) with Asian children. The children were from China, Korea and the Philippines. We were immediately drawn to the "teen table," were most of the kids brought along a friend, because misery does indeed love company. SS was one of the smallest and youngest children in attendance. She was also the only infant/toddler wearing a bib and using a sippy cup. What's with that? Oh, she was also the only one with her own spoon/fork/chopstick toddler ware. I might have to leave the latter home.
The lunch brought back memories of China, how we did not know anyone prior to our lunch meeting and then we shared such an amazing journey. It also brought back memories for SS and we are both sure she was not in a reminiscing mood. Our social butterfly shut down in a place where most people believe she should have thrived. All around her were Caucasian adult faces with Asian children, oh joy! SS was (insert huge yawn) very well behaved, but she was not herself. She was not the flirty irresistible thing she usually is. SS was not climbing over us, or clawing at us, but she was very apprehensive about that crowd. Last time she was in that environment the proverbial rug was pulled from under her and her own private emotional hell began. We did not push her to interact, and we are so very grateful that not one single person tried to touch her, pick her up, or force more interaction than she was giving.
The restaurant is on the second floor of the airport, and we were seated by the closest window to the runway. SS almost whispered "airplane" to me, and I took her by the window. SS would usually be so mesmerized by the planes that she would allow me to stand or sit her by the window. When I tried, she quickly clung to me. Got it kiddo, your Mama is not leaving your side. P was chatting at our table but had noticed SS's demeanor. Once we arrived home, P returned to the van to retrieve something. He closed the front door and SS wailed, and great timing Sunshine, since I was in the bathroom. Well, that is why he is Sunshine.
I held SS and when P returned he reminded her that when he leaves he always says bye, and that he always comes back. Besides, I have to give P kudos, because he makes a big deal about the fact that he has to go to work, is sad to leave, but is happy that SS and I are together. We did some hugging, kissing and more reassuring. SS walked over to her rocking chair and placed a blanket over her head. It is something she does when she is overwhelmed. Remember her two impromptu naps during landing last summer? We asked if she needed to be in her crib and she said yes. We got her comfortable, kissed her, and she napped for two hours. I hate to admit this, but we jumped on the opportunity, P did some shopping, while I cleaned the kitchen and the fridge. We sure know how to make the most of her naps.
We believe that it is important for SS to be exposed to other families as conspicuous as hers. But we are also mindful that it will trigger memories, feelings and fears. How we wish we could have read her mind during lunch. We can't, but we will always be mindful that circumstances that bring fond memories to us, will not be pleasant for SS. P surprised me by how quickly he picked up on SS's distress. Although we initially had plans to do other things (P is working tomorrow, Sunday), it was understood that this was it for us today. SS needed a nap, and lots of cuddle time with us.
No pictures, because although there were about fifteen families and forty individuals. not a single camera was in sight. P thanked me on the drive home for not bringing out mine. Gee Sunshine, I can exercise some form of self restraint when necessary. Thus only pics of SS wearing a skirt that P bought for her all on his own, two years before she came home. It's only a 2T, but it only fit now, and I had been waiting for SS to rock it. She did not disappoint. Given how SS felt, we were lucky to get them at all.
I did enjoy my first Chinese New Year group lunch. What was the the lack of bibs, sippy cups and toddler sized silverware?