|People's Park, Nanning, Guangxi, China|
Jingju has now been with us almost as many years as she lived in an orphanage in China. Her memories of the time leading up to her adoption are sketchy, but they are like mine, hinged on pivotal moments. She told me that one day someone walked into her classroom and asked the group of children, "Who wants a family, raise your hand." I picture this scene and imagine her little hand going up cautiously. How could she understand what she was saying yes to? What did she really think it meant to have a family? Did she understand it meant leaving her nanny and her friends and China altogether?
|Jingju and her nanny on adoption day 3/30/2009|
Jingju tells me that on the day of her leaving her orphanage, she was told to get dressed in the clothes we had sent to her. She says she rode on a bus to Nanning and didn't really know where she was going until they were underway. Her memory of this day has gotten hazy, and like most of her past life in China, we will only know what we can glean from the pictures and progress notes from Half the Sky. But I will never forget the moment she walked in with her nanny to the room where I was waiting for her. I can only guess her nanny told her to walk over to me, which she did. She took my hand and let me hug her. The qualities I saw in Jingju on that first day ranged from a yin yang of cautious bravery and bold restraint. She was so sweet and loving with her nanny, and quietly cried with such heartbreaking sadness when her nanny left. Over the next few days Jingju gradually opened herself up to me and became playful with me. It was clear what a resilient, bright, and curious child she was and that one of her greatest strengths is her ability to roll with and accept change. I am so privileged and thankful to be Jingju's mother. My journey to Jingju began with the moment I gave myself permission to honor my need to be a mother. Kevin and Jingju both said yes in turn, and we became a family.