So, if you're hoping for an adoption update, the short of it is- we're still waiting. Yes, really. I would really, really love to give some other news- but that's just where we are. Waiting on the call from our agency saying they have a file for us to review. Will you pray with me that those files move quickly?
During our wait, I've been reading/watching pretty much anything I can get my hands on that has to do with Chinese adoption- and I can't believe I just came across this book a few weeks ago- Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of Loss and Love.
This book is written by a Chinese woman, Xinran, and is essentially a collection of interactions throughout her life with Chinese mothers who gave up their children for adoption. It's incredibly insightful, well-written, and I would totally recommend it.
However, after 2 days of finishing it, I'm still recovering from it.
I finished this book in about 4 days- it was an easy, interesting read- but it was hard for my heart to bear. The stories Xinran tells are raw, revealing, and just plain hard to swallow.
Specifically, as someone who is adopting a girl from China- it was heartbreaking. Once I'd finished, I felt a total sense of loss. My heart was breaking for those mothers and their various circumstances, motivations, and actions- which were all over the map. My heart was breaking for the children who were abandoned, never given a chance at life, or were languishing without basic needs met. My heart even broke for the author, who had to witness many horrifying things she had no control over. The book reveals so much about what has happened in China as a result of the immense population growth and the one-child policy. It reveals so much about the way Chinese women live- mindset, expectations...internal thoughts and feelings that may never be vocalized.
After reading this book, my mind and my heart went to battle. I couldn't translate what I had just read into how that would "fit" into my daughter's life. It was really confusing- the China described in the book was one vastly different than I'd experienced on any of my past visits there. The book made me realize that though I've been to China several times, I am still just an American woman with surface knowledge of Chinese culture. I can learn and try to understand the deep-rooted attitudes and perspectives of my daughter's birth culture, but I'll never be her biological Chinese mother.
And that is heartbreaking and wonderful all in the same moment.
The realization that you'll never be enough. The relief in knowing you were never supposed to be.
There is so much about China that I will never know to teach her. No matter how much I learn, I will always lack the ability to raise her in the same way she would be raised had she been with her biological parents. We'll never be them.
But I believe we were never supposed to be them. I will be her mama. Shawn will be her daddy. We are the ones who will raise her. The ones who will teach her all we know about life. And that will be perfect.
Will it be messy? Oh, I'm sure. Will I probably cry at random intervals? Just prepare yourselves. However, I'm already learning- the way adoption wrecks you is like the best kind of mess. The ONLY thing that can make sense of the hurt and trauma and the how-in-the-world-did-we-get-here is Jesus. God sets the lonely in families. And he brings mamas like me into a beautiful new understanding of his purpose.