Sunday, February 24, 2008

Thoughts about right now

So here we are in Hangzhou, finally. We have our appointment time: 9:00. At 8:30 we will meet our travel guide and she will escort us to the Provincial office and then we will meet Min. I'm going to let you know about some of my thoughts right now.

Today in the hotel lobby, I saw a woman with a little boy, he was about 3 years old. They were walking across the lobby towards me. The little boy was being carried by this woman, he was holding her around the neck and they were chatting about something. I started imagining that this woman walked up to me and put this boy's hand in mine and told me that he was mine now. I imagined how this little boy would feel, being handed off to a stranger and then being walked away from by this woman who he felt very happy and comfortable with. I imagined the little boy crying and struggling hard to get away from me, I imagined him crying and calling out. I imagined the woman crying and looking back at us but still walking away. I felt my own struggle with the situation of wanting to protect this child and look for his best interest. What was it? What was his best interest? It's a question I can't answer, because this was imagination. It wasn't real.

I struggle with this question of "best interest" and I know it's been struggled with before. Bastard Nation and International Abductees have very strong opinions in this area, I know. I'm feeling sad for Min because she won't know what it's like to grow up in China in her home culture. I feel sad that her life as she knows it is gone. I wonder sometimes how I would react if I find out tomorrow that at the last minute someone here in China decided that they would adopt her and that she will stay here. I know this is just a pretend hypothesis, but I wonder anyway. I would be sad at the idea of not having her in our family. I would be happy that she won't be leaving here. I would be happy that she had a family.

Family. Min has a foster family. Many kids grow up and that's all they have, a foster family. I'm not discounting them at all. I'm sure they love her. She loves them, too, I imagine. But in the end, she's still a ward of the state. The state determined that she was going to be a child eligible for international adoption. The state sent her file to the CCAA. If we didn't adopt her, for sure she would be adopted by another family. I like to think that our family is a good and nice family. We have our faults, but we're OK. We will be a family without a tag, hyphen, category or subclassifications or modifier. We will be what she doesn't have right now. Family. Full stop.

How does this weigh compared to staying in ones home culture? I don't know. Suppose I was given this choice: I can stay in lovely Orange County, home of Disney, Irvine and parallel streets, but I will never, ever see my family again. I will be in my own home culture forever and ever without my family. OR I can choose to go to a remote Polynesian Island where the people don't wear clothes, eat strange meats, talk a different language and stage elaborate dances, but my family, including my extended family will all be there and we're expected to try and absorb into the Island life. What would I choose? I don't know. Again, I don't have to know, it's pretend.
Family. Culture. Family. Culture. Little Min...I don't know the right answer. There is no right answer, for you little one. Your life has been thrust in the hands of us bumbling grown ups that don't have the right answers for everything and in the end the only thing we can do is the best we can. So, now it's 11:00 PM China time and we have only a handful of hours left until it's our turn to try and do the best we can. People will say you're lucky. We know that lucky children don't have these traumatic things happen to them. I really hope that in 20 years or so, you can look back on this and feel lucky. I feel lucky. Scared, nervous, a little bit sad, but very, very lucky.


tsforza said...

you made me cry. she'll appreciate, someday, that you took these questions so seriously and could put yourself in her shoes. i think you've already met by now...hoping hoping hoping you all fall into the groove soon.

Joelle said...

Tears in my eyes as I read your poignant and honest thoughts. I think one of the reasons Min will be lucky to have you is because you've been willing to think about these things rather than just blindly believing your family was the best thing in the world for her. She'll know you cared about China and her life there and I hope that will be worth something. Prayin' for ya.