SS and I were talking and cuddling this afternoon when the conversation turned to China. This is a common occurrence, we are always open to talk about China and how SS came home. I frequently read the book I Love You Like Crazy Cakes to SS. It was written by a single mother who adopted from China, and upon being unable to find books that dealt with her particular circumstances ended up writing her own book. Talk about a gift to a child. When I read the book to SS I tailor it to her story. After two years of doing this I am glad we started early, because the more we talk about her story, the easier it becomes to talk about adoption.
The conversation (if you can call it that with a 3 year old) went something like this:
SS: I love China, Baba loves China, Mama loves China, JJ loves China.
Me: Yes, we all love China (way to state the obvious K!)
SS: I China, Mama and Baba on plane to China.
Me: Yes, you were born in China and waited for Mama and Baba to take a plane there to bring you home. (What I really wanted to say was, do you have any idea how much I love you to get in a hunk of metal that defies the laws of physics?)
SS: You and Baba came.
Me: Yes, you were waiting for us at the Civil Affairs Office and that is where we met you.
SS: And you brought me my bear.
Me: What did you say?
SS: You, Mama, you brought me my bear.
SS then went and retrieved the bear Grandpa gave her from the bottom of a pile of stuffed animals. I sat, open mouth, like a freaking bass out of water. When we tell SS her story we keep it simple. She is only three so we focus on the fact that she was born in China, how she waited for us at a house with many other kids, how much we loved her and how happy we were to meet her and bring her home. That is a lot for a three year old to process. Thus, the bear has never come up. I was holding the bear when we met, and when SS reached for me I held her and the bear in an embrace.
I was taken aback and actually texted P "Holy sh*t I think she remembers family day!" When P got home we were discussing this and he said that if SS really remembers it scares him. He is afraid that she remembers the SWI, not having a Mama, a Baba and a JJ (and a throng of relatives) who love her. I am not afraid, and if she remembers she does. The way SS views her adoption will depend largely on her personality. We are acutely aware that SS is very sensitive and we do not expect that to change. All we can do is try our best and answer her questions honestly. We all have issues about how we grew up, our perception of how we were treated. SS is not exempt from that very normal part of growing up. What we hope to impart to our daughter is that even negative perceptions of the past can be turned into lessons for the future. We will never be able to compensate for or erase SS's fifteen months in a SWI. Our job is to make her feel safe and loved by not only us, but by her extended family. We know she is loved, now we have to help SS figure out what that means.
Aunt Court, thanks for the return phone call, I really enjoyed our conversation. Relax, you are not a hoarder, if you were your house would not be in such immaculate condition. Plus you would have been featured in a TLC episode. :)
A few days ago P said that he missed the days when SS would use the sign for up to be held (instead of demanding), and when she used to do her Baba is home happy dance. I'm reposting that video, and let me tell you that it made us a bit sad to see how much she has grown.