This is Gigi’s last night without a family. I know she has no clue about the magnitude of change that’s upon her, but I wonder, can she feel something coming? Does she sense that this was her last dinner in an orphanage? That this is the last night that she’ll be tucked into bed in the only home she’s ever known? Does she sense the change in the nanny’s demeanor? What does it look like when a child is about to leave their care? Does anything change? It must, right? Maybe they’ll kiss her one more time tonight, knowing that some of them will never see her again. I have to believe it’s impossible to care for a child for 3.5 years and not want to hold her a little closer when you know she’s leaving you forever. It’s a surreal feeling to be on this end of this kind of monumental moment, to know what’s coming for her, and to bear witness to it. As we rolled from Shanghai to Nanjing on the bullet train, as people boarded and disembarked the train in Gigi’s hometown, I wondered if any of them were related to her. Such a random and stupid thing to wonder when the city has a population of millions and millions of people, but this is her one connection to her roots. These people, in this city.
I wondered about her birth family. I wonder this every time. My Chinese kids are my only children whose birth parents will likely remain a complete mystery. What would their birth family think if they knew that tomorrow their daughter will take the first step towards not being Chinese anymore? Would they mourn what she has lost, or would they celebrate all that she’ll gain? Maybe it would be a little of both. For me, it’s a lot of both. Such a jumble of emotions.
Do they think about her? Will they happen to think of her tomorrow? Will they sense the change that’s coming for her? Such silly questions. Yet, this process makes the world feel small, as if God’s hand is guiding her to me and me to her, and has been all along. Because, if it wasn’t, and the world isn’t small at all, how did we find each other? I knew. I always knew. Tess knew she was out there, just waiting, her Gigi. So, I wonder, will they somehow know? Will they sense the loss? I have to believe it’s impossible to leave behind a child and not think of her every once in awhile. Will they think of her tomorrow as she gains a new, forever mother? Maybe that red thread will tie us all together now, the way it brought me to her in the first place. I hope so. If I had one wish in this world, it would be for comfort, for closure, for the brave people who brought my children into this world. I would love for them to know…
They are well. They are whole. They are loved.
Tomorrow, we include Gigi in all that is.
–FullPlateMom, who is as ready as she’ll ever be.