|Jingju (right), Tessa (left)|
I have mixed emotions about receiving this and other information from Beihai. I am so grateful to the Beihai and Half the Sky caregivers for the loving care Jingju received. I am also very happy for the children currently living at Beihai who now have a new building and perhaps an even better living environment. I'm so happy to hear that the nannies remember our girls. And to be receiving more pieces of my daughter's history three years later is such an unexpected gift. I have always wanted to believe that Jingju left an impression on those who cared for her. We are so fortunate to have a thorough documentation of Jingju's early years growing up in China. But while I know that whether or not her first home stands empty, or filled with the daily bustle of children, Jingju left 5 1/2 years of history behind her there. I can't help feeling a sense of Jingju having been abandoned and found again. The thought of her drawing, so vibrant with her spirit, or her dear little face fading in a photograph on a forgotten wall in Beihai just makes me sad. Yet I have these precious artifacts rescued from a fate of certain decay--I have the chance to honor their importance.
I plan to take Jingju to China in about 2 years when she'll be 10. Jingju has been starting to verbalize her questions and feelings about her abandonment and her life in China. She recently told me that she's sad she can no longer speak Chinese, and she is afraid she won't be able to communicate with her nanny when we visit. She even fears her nanny will have forgotten her. It is with all this in mind that I project my sadness on Jingju's behalf about the condition of her first home. I don't know that we would be allowed inside, or if her building will even still be standing when we eventually return. I continue to be so hungry for any pieces of the puzzle of Jingju's past, and I know there are pieces that will always be missing. Well, I guess it's not just for Jingju that I'm sad. I didn't realize how important it was to me to go to Beihai until I found out about the changes at the orphanage. But time moves us on--Jingju just keeps growing, life in china continues without Jingju, and I am just trying to hold on to what I can for me and my girl.