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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Beautiful flower

Yesterday Tess asked me what her VietNam mama's name was.

We talk openly about their first mamas.  Some people in this world are lucky enough to have more than 1 mama in their lives.  More than 1 women that love them that way, the way a mama loves a child, with so much of her that it hurts her soul and could never be described in mere words.  Both Papa and I have more than 1 mama and so do Tess, Jude and Mimi.  And we talk about them openly.  How more than 1 woman can love a child like that.  How Tess's VietNam mama must have been so incredibly beautiful.  How Jude's VietNam mama and papa probably have coarse thick wonderful dark hair and wonder if they are sensitive caring souls like he is.  And we wonder if Mimi's China mama is built with broad shoulders like Mimi and if she is just as stubborn as our girl.  The spirit of these women live in this home.  And I never want that spirit to leave.  I love these first mothers dearly.

So when Tess asked what her VietNam mama's name was, one of me knee jerk reactions was to correct her.  It concerned me that she spoke of this woman in past tense, like this woman was gone.  Gone from her life perhaps, but never gone from the profound impact she continues to have on my daughter.  Let's find out what her name is, Tess.  Yes, this woman is still a huge part of Tess's life, even though we know next to nothing about her.  I was so grateful I could give her a name and this piece of herself, something that is uncommon in international adoption.  I dug around in old adoption paperwork, whose edges are now bent with time, and scoured the stack of literally foreign pages for the name I thought I recalled.  And I found it.  "Mother" was listed there before me on the paper, and it had her name on the line that followed.  And her age.  And her address.  And I blinked back the tears because this is so not about me.  I told Tess I had found it.  The name of her first mother, Tess's gift... from both her mamas that love her so much that it can hurts our soul.

I quickly fired up my laptop to figure out how to pronounce the name.  Only to discover that my feeble pasty-white soccer mom attempt would never do it justice.  And that made me sad that I couldn't give Tess at least an accurate pronunciation.  Her VietNam mama's name means something along the lines of a beautiful flower.
*Sigh*
Beautiful indeed.

I told Tess her name and what it meant, and to Tess, who is now 5 and shares part of her middle name with her first mama, it wasn't a huge deal.  It was just another question in a long series of questions that she might keep asking for years to come.  As another adoptive mama said to me, a simple name can be an anchor in a sea of questions.
And I wonder how long I'll be blessed with the answers.

18 comments:

  1. Beautiful...just beautiful. You write so beautifully.

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  2. How wonderful that you encourage them to embrace all of their history. It's very selfless of you. It's downright motherly. :)

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  3. Very beautifully written Nancy. You know I have never thought of it that way and that is what I have to do, i.e. change my mindset. I have always said I don't want my 2 girls to feel sorry for themselves but honestly I feel sorry for them, so how can I teach them otherwise. :( I will never truly feel they are blessed to have 2 moms but I need to try to persuade myself to feel that way, so they will feel that way. You are very fortunate to have Tess's first mother details - what I wouldn't give to have that info for both my girls. Thanks for sharing and helping me to be more positive about all of this. I had no idea of the depth of emotions I would have as a mom, and especially an adoptive mom. And how beautiful is that Tess? Love the photo. :D

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    1. Yes, there is SO much about IA that is not just sad, but tragic and devastating. And that does make me quite sad too. But a mama's love is a blessing. I think mostly I try to think about it the way I would have liked my parents to think and talk about my own first mother. They gave me the facts, never passed judgement, and let me make up my own mind, and as the years passed, I did. I want to do that for my own children.

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  4. I'm glad to see you call her Tess' Vietnam mom. I have never liked the term "birthmother," and since my kids lived with their mother for a good period of time, I think she did more than birth them. Ayub started calling her "my Africa mom" and it just kind of stuck.

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  5. What a gift... :) and what a beautiful picture too!

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  6. I was adopted as a child and I am also the papa to adopted children and I agree with 2plus2mom I have also never been fond of the term birthmother. I have personally never found a comfortable term actually, vietnam mama in Tess and Jude's case seems to wrap up a lot in one simple phrase. My mom and dad handled the conversation surrounding adoption so well when I was a child, I hope I do half the job they did.

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    1. And the best papa ever if I may add!
      the mama

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    2. Thanks mama you make me look good. You do all of the heavy lifting. You are the best.

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  8. Beautiful Nancy - and you are so lucky to have the information that you do - you're right - so much is an unknown in IA...

    Yesterday marked 10 years since we adopted our first - Maybe the smartest thing we've ever done!

    hugs - aus and co.

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  9. Sprinkles asks a lot about why I had a belly baby, and why was he a boy, and why did I have an 'adopt baby' and why she is a girl. Her brother wanted to share what he's recently learned in his 6th grade health class (thankfully dad was there to tell him the birds and the bees probably wasn't what she was asking about). It's so hard to give the right answers whatever they might be. We know her mama's name, and a few details, but so far Sprinkles hasn't asked for them, and we continue to dance along the line until she lets us know she's ready.

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    1. Tess usually doesn't ask either... ever. Jude is the one who seems to keep that curiosity naturally. So the fact that she asked at all was unusual. I think kiddos just process it differently. And we just get to be on our toes for whatever comes up.

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  10. I love how kids are so curious and just want to learn (it seems) everything! She is too sweet! Your shot of her is so magical! Love the lighting; it's so dreamy!

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  11. I know you understand how very lucky you are to be able to tell her those treasures of information. For fun today, I clicked on the Jude Tess's adoption video to the right of the post. I watched that and then compared it with your beautiful angel with a flower halo, and tears started. A miracle indeed!

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    1. ya, the video still does that to me too. I hope I can get Mimi's done this summer!

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  12. She is absolutely adorable!!Very photogenic I see. Here is and invitations to share your blog Japanese Gardens & Geisha Girls WW w/Linky wishing you all a great Easter!!

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  13. What a lovely post!! The photo of Tess is beautiful :)

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