No law or politics here. Mushy stuff. Move along, nothing to see.
On August 19, 2007, in a steaming and cacophonous room of the Civil Affairs Ministry in Wuhan, we first met Elaina. She wailed for a while and then fell asleep in my arms on the bus.
Today she's seven: loud, dramatic, still dangerous, devious, and quite smart.
She's learning Mandarin in an immersion program, and apparently she's really very good at it, but she won't speak a word of it to us, probably so she can preserve the ability to swear at us covertly.
Growing up I assumed you got some sort of training to be a parent, or you got old enough that you suddenly understood how to do it through instinct. Nobody told me we'd be making it up as we go along. (Me: Is that normal, what she's doing? Katrina: How should I know? Me: BECAUSE YOU HAVE A DOCTORATE IN CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY AND YOU'RE A CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST! Katrina: Yeah, I got nothing.) This has caused me to reevaluate my parents and grandparents and, in retrospect, appreciate them more.
If we're to make it up as we go along, how fortunate we are to do so with a child like this.
The story of how Elaina came to be available for us to adopt her is hers to tell, not mine. But today, in addition to being thankful that she's part of my family, and feeling unaccountably blessed by the privilege of trying to raise her, I feel both gratitude to her birth parents and sorrow for their loss.
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