Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What Do We See?

As parents adopting from China, I know we cherish each and every picture of the part of our child's life that happened before they became ours. Each one is a little snippet of information pertaining to the great mystery of our child's past. We yearn to find that golden baby picture or one that shows a caregiver clearly loving our child, any sign that our child will be able to be happy with us and attach to us. No matter how many pictures, though, we still meet a stranger on adoption day and must get to know and love our child for who they are, not what we read into a picture. That said, I have some opinions on the following pictures...

Sissy looks very contemplative to me, but what stands out the most is that she has her hand around the social worker's arm. For an institutionally raised child, this is wonderful! First, it's human contact, it's attachment, it's seeking something, perhaps reassurance, because by the time this photo was taken, Sissy most likely knew she was being adopted.

Here is another picture where Sissy has reached out. Is she needing reassurance? Is she showing affection? Is she merely posing for the camera?

Of course, we want to know that our child is happy! Sissy looks happy in almost all of the pictures I have of her.

I spoke today with another mom who adopted a daughter from the same SWI in February. I learned some interesting things. This SWI has a lot of technology. The kids are computer savvy and are hooked up on QQ, sort of a Chinese Facebook. 5th grade in China seems to be US third grade level. There are social workers, the young women standing near my daughter in the first photo above, who counsel the children and prepare them for adoption. Unfortunately, it seems that some are told that in the US they will have anything and everything they want and get presents all the time. The girls are also taught about menstuation through a video. The girls my daughter's age live three to a room, as do the boys, and the mattress is a piece of wood with a thin blanket over it, and then they have a pillow and thick comforter. Here is a picture:

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