November 01, 2017

To be understood

Jubilee is adopted. Sometimes that makes her feel special, other times embarrassed, and still other times confused. She wonders, Am I Chinese? Am I American? I tell her she is both! She's Chinese-American! She smiles. She likes that. I go on. You have the rich history of your Chinese ancestry, I tell her, and the bright future of your American citizenship. She likes that too. She leans against me and takes my hand, and I kiss her silky black hair. We sit in contemplative, companionable silence.

The truth is, as hard as I try, I'll not fully understand my daughter. Honestly, how can I? My birth mother packed my lunches with love notes and is, even now, just a phone call away. Jubilee's birth mother will remain a mystery for the rest of her life. My birth father threw me up into his arms when he got home from work, and grilled me a delicious pork chop just last summer. Hers?

Then again, I also don't have parents who chose me in an email. Who raised money to bring me home. Who sent me care packages to my orphanage. Who signed a piece of paper they didn't have to sign - while I sat shivering and crying in their strange arms - promising to love me forever no matter what.

Her story is layered and complex a gourmet dish. My story is greasy-spoon diner-fare in comparison. I will never see life the way she does.

Which is why I'm so glad she's had a string of people in her life with whom she can feel completely understood. I pray she will always have friends like these!

Sweet Xan, who has become something of a big sister to Jubi. Xan was also adopted by a petite blond lady. 
Cutie pie Kai. He had just been adopted in this pic. Jubi and I went to be with my childhood friend Kathy and her husband Nick when they came to adopt Kai last month. Look at the little bond between these two already!
Jubi on Halloween with her friend Lily. Lily's mother and I were talking about these two long before they came into our arms.
Jubi sitting by her friend Maggie at a princess party. Maggie is Xan's little sister.