Adoption is a funny thing. It’s built on a lot of trust after a devastating loss.
It’s been such an honor and privilege, and extremely humbling, to raise someone else’s daughters. My favorite quote on adoption is by Jody Landers. She says, “Children born to another woman call me mom. The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.” Yes. This is exactly how I feel. Yes.
As an adoptive mama, I find myself always trying to put pieces of my girls’ story together. We know so little about them prior to when they were adopted. We don’t even know their actual birth dates. Their stories didn’t begin when we received them, they began two years before that. They’re stories that we’ll never truly understand, but nevertheless, they make them who they are today.
Last week, we learned a new piece of the puzzle for Miss Madeley.
When we first got Madeley in China and then flew to Guangzhou for the final steps in the process before heading back to America, several people started telling us that she wasn’t Chinese.
I mean…that’s weird, right? We were standing there in China with a baby from a Chinese orphanage, but other American parents and the Chinese people who were there with us helping us through the process commented from time to time that she wasn’t Chinese.
We brought Madeley home and pretty regularly, people would stop me and ask about my girls and then comment on how the little one didn’t look Chinese.
I mean…let’s just pause and talk about that for a minute. It’s 2018 and people are commenting on my child’s race and/or ethnicity. In front of them. Like it’s no big deal. Can you imagine someone commenting on your kid’s race? Questioning it? In front of them. Friends, it happens all the time.
I’ve gone through a lot of emotions over the last 19 months regarding this subject. I’ve gone from: perplexed to confused to annoyed to thinking it’s comical to being pretty darn offended to laughing it off to telling people to back off to being confused again. I mean, it doesn’t matter. She is Chinese by definition because she was born in China (or so we think). She was a Chinese citizen. She held a Chinese passport. And whether she’s Chinese, Ethiopian, American, Russian or frankly, a Martian, she’s mine and I think she’s perfect. BUT…we decided to do a 23andMe test to see just exactly what her sweet little makeup is so that she knows. Because at this rate, people are going to keep asking her as she gets older, and she should have a confident answer, right?
We ordered the test, Madeley did her part (spitting in the collection tube) and we shipped it off.
Four weeks later, we got the results.
When I opened up the email, it said ethnicity: Laos.
So, there you go.
Her little genetic make up said she was in fact 44% Chinese, but mostly Laotian. And we think it’s just the coolest little thing to know 🙂 .
All week, we’ve been talking about Laos. Now, we all want to visit. We want to see the culture, eat the food, and learn more about it…just like we did China.
What does this mean? Most likely that one of Madeley’s birth parents was Chinese and the other was Laotian. Were they married? Did they live in China? We will never know. We do know that they produced the most beautiful little girl though with the sweetest personality.
I had a couple of friends/family say that this made them a little sad for Madeley because it’s just one more thing we don’t know about her. Yes, I totally see that perspective, but I’m choosing to think it’s just one extra thing we DO know about her. One more piece of the puzzle that makes Madeley Shull the unique person that she is.
I think about my girls’ birth mamas every single day. Madeley’s mom gave her up at two months old. Can you even imagine? Realizing that for whatever reason, your sweet two month old was better off abandoned than in your care? I bet she thinks about Madeley every day too. My prayer always is that God gives these women little signs, little emotional moments of peace, that makes them think their girls are doing just fine. xo
To see some other post adoption posts, just look below…
To see more about our journey to adopt Ashby, see below: