Wednesday, May 13, 2009

China Friends

Between the ages of two and three, Molly came to some important realizations that helped her make sense of herself and her world. These realizations came about in a very distinct order:
  • China is a place that is much different than the USA and it is far, far away. She pretty much got this concept on her own from looking at pictures. We have one of those digital photo frames and for the past two years it has scrolled through about 100 pictures from our trip to China. She still loves to sit and look at those pictures over and over and over and over….
  • lShe is from China. Molly figured out this concept because, well, we told her. Pretty simple.
  • Mom and Dad went to China to get her. This one went hand in hand with the whole photo thing. We have always told Molly that we took those pictures in the digital frame when we traveled to China to adopt her. That’s where we met her for the very first time. That’s where we became a family. It holds a very special place in our hearts.
  • She is Chinese. Amazingly enough, she figured out this one on her own, as well. I say amazing because it still is so fascinating to me at what a young age a child can apply logic and reason. We’ve told Molly that Chinese food came from China. We’ve told her that certain things around our house were Chinese. For instance, framed Chinese calligraphy characters are examples the way they write in China. One day Molly casually said, “I’m Chinese because I came from China.” I know she is not spontaneously spouting out principles of nuclear physics, but I think it’s kind of cool that a two year old could take a concept and apply it to her own situation.
  • Mom and Dad aren’t Chinese. Pretty much had to be direct with this one. When asked, Molly would say that we were Chinese. We had to explain that we didn’t come from China so we weren’t Chinese. Hmmm…that two year old logic and reasoning can only get you so far. Up to this point she hasn’t asked why she is Chinese and we aren’t (insert sigh of relief here). I know that discussion is coming sooner rather than later. I’ve been planning for it. I think I know how to handle it. But I have this big fear of screwing up that important conversation.
  • There are other people in her world who are also Chinese. (I have this knack for making a short story long. I hope that you are still with me! This is the concept that I wanted to get at for this post. I should probably delete everything above this, but golly gee, I worked so hard on it that I hate to trash it all!) After Molly grasped the concept that she is Chinese and we are not, she started noticing others around her. She began making a distinction between who is Chinese and who is not.

Here's an example if one such distinction Little Miss Molly has made. We belong to a playgroup of kids adopted from China. For a long time she just said we were going to see the kids. Recently, she started calling them her China Friends. See I finally got to the point! Last week we had not one but two opportunities to play with the China Friends. Molly was thrilled!

Part One: China Friends at the Park

Mia and Molly are on a roll.

All the girls looking up and smiling. A minor miracle!

Gracyn and Molly hanging out.
China Friends Part Two: At the Zoo

Molly and Mia: new buddies.

Molly and Alex wrestle for ownership of the cookies. Just kidding, it's really just a tickle war.

Not so lucky with this group shot. 12 of the 13 China Friends who went to the zoo. A few looking at the camera, a couple smiling, one missing and no one standing still. I guess we should consider ourselves lucky just to get this much in the picture!
Added Bonus Material! Molly and even more China Friends at our FCC (Family with Children From China) Chinese Culture Class.
Molly and Misha:Princesses for the day.

Chinese Zodiac Group Pictures...Girls born during the Year of The Dog . Yep, that's my kid picking something out of her teeth during the group photo. Beautiful.

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