Hands and house

Hands and house

Monday, September 27, 2010

Birthmom Story Continued....

  Last week I wrote here about some things that were bubbling up in Ravenna's heart...deep, painful longings to see and know her birthmom. She was and still is grappling hard right now with her story, as best as her 6 year old mind can fathom. She brings up her birthmom almost everyday, sort of as an aside....
   "Mama, can I have more pears?" Then when I bring them she looks away and at almost a whisper says, "I wish I could see her..."
   Her.  We have somehow come to an unspoken agreement...she always calls her, her...and I know what she means....and my little girl's hot tears always seem to follow.
   I have been praying hard for an answer, something to help ease the pain that seems to be pressing her from the inside out, showing itself through her silent crocodile tears.
    I have in passing gently suggested that she give her birthmom a name to which Ravenna responded, "No Mama I just want to know her real name."
   I brought up drawing a picture of her birthmom which got me, "I just want to see her for real Mama!"
   Each time I hugged her and honestly just ached at the tears I saw rise in her soulful brown eyes seemingly so much older than her young, young years. I debate on whether I should just totally let it drop, just go back to focusing on the fun, goofy girl full of sparkles and twirls...but she kept bringing up her. So, I just kept searching and praying for an answer of some kind really not sure what to do next.
      Then, the notice came home from school that they were about to start a lesson on families. She is in first grade and I am so new to all of this 'school' stuff...and this is really her first 'public' discussion of family. I talked with her teacher quietly as the students milled around storing their backpacks and gave her a general gist of what Ravenna has been pondering. She is at an incredible Christian school and her teacher is such a gift. She is working closely with me and with the other adoptive mom in her classroom to learn how to best honor the ways God has created our families...
    I have learned with Ravenna that it is best to float something in passing and then re-visit it after awhile so I told her that this lesson was coming up and that I wanted to talk with her later about what she would like the class to know....which at first got the quiet response of, "I don't want to tell them anything Mama." So I let it drop and once again prayed, not even sure of the words or what to ask just aching for her heart.
    Then in the midst of the whir of fixing dinner, Georgia hanging from my leg yelling "noodles, noodles! noodles!!!" Ravenna came in and said, "I want to know where in China she is from." So the noodles went on low and I figured we might have PB & J for dinner.
   We sat down at the computer and I pulled up a map of China. I showed her again where JiangXi is and where Jingdezhen is inside of it. I showed her pictures of the beautiful mountains and lakes and rivers, of the villages and we talked about how people go there from all over China because it is so beautiful. We looked at where Georgia was from too. She wanted to know what was special about Georgia's province and then, "What about her birthmom, do we know her name?" She asked for every tiny detail about both of their stories so we talked and the noodles turned to glue.
   I mentioned that there every year I send a package to her orphanage with pictures of her in it and that they have promised that they would send them on to her foster family...and that there is a chance that we might be able to see them when we go back to China. I was not for sure but there was a chance. I told her that she could draw them a picture and we could mail it if she liked. Then Georgia wailed in the background as Parker used his feet to 'keep' her off of his bed and we all got distracted by bring back peace to our house. I went back to figuring out dinner (new noodles) and the happy chaos returned.
      As I stirred in macaroni, I felt a tap on my elbow. It was Ravenna asking for paper. She took that paper and some markers to the table and intently started working on something. This is not unusual at our house, she will draw for hours. The other night at bedtime she made me 6 masterpieces to hang by my bed...the girl has a gift and delights in making art. When I asked what she was making she said, "A card Mama...a card for her." I held my breath and prayed that maybe this would ease a little of that pain.
     About 30 minutes later this is what she shared with me:

"A rocket landing on Mars with Chinese lanterns swinging above it"

Dear Birthmom
I love you
Frum Ravenna

On this part she left the 3 people colorless and said, "Mama, I want you to help me color them in." I asked her the colors of the dresses and she knew right away red for her and pink for me (her two favorite colors) and then for the third, she sats grinning and said, "Mama, you have such a beautiful sense of style, why don't you choose." to which I said, "but you are the artist my dear."
Ravenna smiled and replied, "Well...I was thinking it should have flowers, but I want your idea." I said I had thought of rainbows so she decided that this dress should be half and half...
Then came the hair which she described as "One with beautiful brown hair, mone with beautiful black hair and yours with just blond." (whic honestly made me smile) 
Here is the finished product

                                                      Ravenna, her birthmom and I

     At the end of all of this, she seemd lighter than a feather as she danced through the house with her masterpiece. Over and over again while coloring she said, "Oh I love this Mama, I just love this!" She wanted me to take photo after photo of it and placed it high on a shelf away from Georgia who is learnign to use scissors and to wait for her Daddy to bring home a big envelope from work big enough to put 'all of her art for her birthmom'. I know this is only the beginning, that there are much deeper waters ahead, so many unanswerable questions still to come...but something happened tonight. Something healed a tiny bit in both of our hearts.
   I am planning on adding a small glass heart to my Memorial Box in honor of this answered prayer too!


Cedar said...

How sweet! So glad she is finding a way to process through this.

Rachel said...

So thankful for the grace in which she is letting her little heart be opened and mended all at the same time.

So grateful for a Heavenly Father who gives us love for one another - even BirthMoms in far away places.

(p.s. - can you just imagine? maybe this BirthMom has no one to pray for her except your family... what a blessing you are!)

Valerie and Jeff said...

Oh your sweet girl! I am so glad she has your understanding and patient praying heart to guide her questions! Have you read the book "Motherbridge of Love" by Xinran? It's such a beautifully illustrated book. I think of it every time you post about Ravenna and her birthmom.

I pray that the families unit goes well and that she continues to journey toward coming to peace with not having a name or face for now. Being such a visually gifted artsy gal I can imagine this is hard for her on many levels!

The Richerts said...

Thank you so much for sharing, Shannon. I am so very interested in hearing how families are helping their adopted children process at different ages and stages. Yours is a beautiful account of lovingly walking your sweet girl through this journey.

The Milfords said...

Wow. I have not yet had these conversations with our daughter, but I know they are coming. I dread feeling helpless, and I dread seeing her hurt. But oh how I pray that it brings us closer just like it did for you and your daughter. What a bittersweet time, and you handled it so well.

Adrian Roberta said...

Amazing how God knows just how to help R process this on her own sweet 'level'. Wow, I'm just sitting here taking this all in, wondering when these moment will come in Ping's little heart and mind.

Deb said...

What a beautiful story -- and, I was taking notes for my own kiddos in a few short years!!

Ben and Rach said...

That's so great!! I can't imagine. You are doing a great job helping her through this Shannon!

Heather said...

I get so caught up in adopting our kids (we are still waiting) that I forget that one day down the road we are going to have much more to deal with than other parents. Praying your little girl as she processes this information now, and later.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Thank you for sharing such a personal moment.

Gretchen said...

This was beautiful. Love you all.


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