Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ummmmm, no.

We have some great friends who are white, who have adopted a black girl.
Their picture hangs on our fridge, with pride.
A Shining example of how adoption can work!
Should work!
Does work!
This family is close knit, loving, their adopted daughter has flourished and grown and never seems to be in doubt or questions as to her place in her family, or her place in her parents hearts.
So I found it quite amusing when this last week, Ping finally noticed the picture on the fridge... :-)

Wife: *pointing at the picture on the fridge* Thats your friend!
Ping: 朋友!
Wife: Yes, you play with her at Sunday school!
Ping: Yes, school.
Wife: And that is her Ma ma.

Ping looks at the picture... black daughter... white mother...

Ping: No.

And with that, the conversation was done. With the utmost certainty, she has assessed the situation, and brought resolve to a conflicted messed up world.

Wife: Yup, that is her ma ma.
Ping: No Ma ma.
Wife: Yes Ma ma. She is adopted. Like Ping is adopted.
Ping: No.

It was irony defined as if our precious little daughter could look at another child and say with such certainty, that black daughter and white mother did not make sense... yet blissfully unaware of her current family. :-)

At least, I hope it was a picture of irony.

Because if it isn't irony, then the truth may be that Ping looks at herself, the same way she is looking at her friend.
  • Is she looking at herself as obviously different than the rest of the family.
  • Is she looking at her Ma ma and thinking in her head "Not the momma!".
  • Is she looking at her brothers and sister and thinking, "not my family".
  • I'm already pretty sure of what she thinks of me.
What IS going on in that little head of hers.

We make so many assumptions that we know what is rattling around in the heads of our children. Ever meet a teenager? I think its pretty apparent that at times, we as parents can totally miss the signals by our children as to what is really going on in their lives.

For example, looking back at the Referral Photos we got of Ping, we thought initially that she looked "Happy" and could not look more "Excited". But now knowing her, looking back at those same pictures, I think we see it more clearly and can tell that there was some hesitation and reservations in her look.

Were our "filters" affecting the way we were viewing her at the time? And if so, are our filters affecting our view how she is fitting INTO the family? We think she is doing great... but what about what she thinks?

I know she loves being with us, cuddles, playing, crawling into our bed every night when she wakes up at 1am and is scared.
  • She knows safety.
  • She knows vulnerability.
  • She knows joy.
  • She knows grace.
  • She knows peace.
  • She knows rest now.
  • She knows love.
  • She knows UN-conditional love (or at least is figuring it out).
But, dose she know Family?


  1. We just went through something similar with my daughter and her two friends/their Mama.

    I wonder if when Ping was saying "No Mama", she meant "No, that lady in the picture is not Mama". Because to Ping, Mama is the name for Roberta.

    It is interesting when they suddenly realize other kids have someone they call a Mama too. I think that is when they learn "what" a Mama is, not just "who" she is.

  2. She'll get it - it will all unfold, beautifully.