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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Unknown, China


Mimi's birth certificate came in the mail today.  Ya, I'm a little behind in the paperwork department.  I think I started a mental strike from all paperwork the moment we arrived home from China.
There on her birth certificate, right next to China, under 4a, Place of Birth City/Town/State it was listed like a scarlet letter... Unknown. 
So where were you born?  
I don't know.  

Tess and Jude were born in a hospital complete with hospital records and everything.  Not that we've actually seen those records, but they're there and document specifically where and when they were born.

Mimi however was abandon as a newborn.  Authorities then took a guess at her birth date.  And we'll never know where she was actually born.

I also just applied for Mimi's Social Security card.  In the process, the nice lady in the window asked me where Mimi was born.
In China.
City?
Unknown.
She looked up from her computer screen, quizzically looking at me, not knowing herself what to put into the blank.
Most people just fill in "Unknown."  I told her

A city.
A town.
A home.
A hospital.
A shed.
A field.
A bed.
A birthing table.
The floor.
In the company of other women.
Alone.

It's unknown.

With all the unknowns in their stories and the years we've walked the path, I was surprised that this unknown took me by surprise.  Maybe it was the fact that it was in print.  And so official.  Of course we walked into international special needs adoption knowing there would be unknowns.  Outdated files.  Missing information.  Inaccurate data and translations.  Lies.  The process is inherently scary with no guarantees.  Adoptive parent are left soul searching to determine the amount of risk they're willing to accept with lots and lots and lots of unknowns.  Ultimately it takes a leap of faith.

I totally expected the unknowns to be hard, but not necessarily surprising.  It's easier to face something head on when you know it's coming.  But what do when you the unknowns blind side you?  When I first saw Unknown written right there on her birth certificate I inhaled and held my breath a bit.  And if it takes me by surprise, I wonder what unknowns will creep up to surprise her... and make her hold her breath.

I tell my kiddos all the time that if we knew all the answers it wouldn't be faith.  Without the unknowns there would be no faith.  We'd be left with proof and science.  And all those unknowns in adoption and plain ol' life is just not how God intended it.  He wants us to take that leap without all the facts.
And with the leap comes not perfection or all the answers, but the most amazing rewards!
The gates of the center Mimi first arrived at as a newborn in 2010. 
Praying for the answers when her questions come,

9 comments:

  1. We have two adorable little ones adopted from China. We have many unknowns. Our son was left in a park wandering alone. They guessed his age, assigned a birthday and listed the city where he was found. They got the age wrong, city wrong and we know the birthday wrong (they made it the day he was found and just assigned a year). My daughter was "found" with in a day of her birth so we don't know where exactly she was born we are more confident on her age (they might be off a day or two). You are so right about the unknowns though and the leap of faith it takes to adopt and especially a SN child. The paperwork often doesn't give you all the facts or a clear picture. I think it's part of our makers plan, if we knew all the scary details would we have proceeded? I know our son has a lot more going on then we were told and if we would have known he might not have been our son...yet it is clear that he was meant to be our son to raise and love on.

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    Replies
    1. "yet it is clear that he was meant to be our son to raise and love on." Yes! This! Amen!
      ~nancy

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  2. That particular unknown kicks me in the stomach, too

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  3. I love this post. The unknowns are hard. We went to China last summer to try to fill in some of the unknowns, but came home with more. Amelia seems better now though, that trying gave her some peace and that realizing how hard chasing down the truth is may not be worth what we will find in the end. I'm sure she will go through periods when she is curious again...and we'll chase the unknowns again, but I have to have faith that if we are to know, we will know when we are both ready to.

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  4. Unknowns, mystery, blanks, that's all a part of this kind of adoption - we have many too...

    But once in a great while you'll hear a gem - for us that happens a lot at the beginning of the school year with new friends and new teachers - and often as an "overheard and aside comment" from one of our littles - things like "yeah - I don't know for sure - but I know who my mom and dad are. Let's go look at this..."

    Mostly just because they "bounce" - and only really consider it important if we do!

    hugs - aus and co.

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  5. We hit this most at the doctors X 7. "Any allergies?" How do I say,"I don't know yet," or "None that we know of," nicely. In front of my child. Unknown. Hard stuff but part of the story that God is weaving, even in this instant. I'm with you on the paperwork. I haven't gone to get Joy's birth certificate yet....and it's been a year.

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  6. And then when you look at them, and the beautiful little people that they are.....I ache for their mothers who didn't get to love them. Because how could they carry them for 9 months and not feel something for them. How could they not have a hole left in their heart with a little mimi shape?? a little jude, tess, Iley, wren and all the others.... shaped hole??? When I look at those pictures of your girls with the butterflies.....and so many of my own......and others......I just feel so sad their mothers are missing that. And blessed that we get to share it with them. Hugs.

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  7. Every time I hear a story like this, another piece of my heart breaks. i'm so glad Mimi is a part of your family now; you will all be able to figure out the answers over time, and she will know in her pain that she is loved.

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