Thursday, 27 September 2012

Asian Fusion...East meets West

Well we have had Li Lin for about four and a half months now and overall she is doing quite well.  It is interesting how her food tastes are morphing.  Once in a while I make traditional Chinese food like dumplings.  Last week I made some and instead of the usual soy sauce on them she asked for...KETCHUP!  Talk about an Asian-North American fusion meal!  I gave her the red stuff as requested but thought, Yikes! What will my Chinese friends think when they see her eating this?

She truly lives with a foot in both of her cultures.  Today she told me in Mandarin, "I am grandma and grandpa's (foster grandparents) little girl and I am your little girl."  So cute.  Her English is improving daily and with that comes a better ability to express herself.

Just yesterday she said to me, after I asked her a question about the foster grandparents, "No talk mommy, stop it."  Interestingly enough, I was just following up on a comment she made about them a second earlier.  A couple hours later, she mentioned them again and I (not a quick learner:) followed up with a question/comment to which she again replied, "Stop it, mommy, no talk."  She does not want me talking about them anymore even though she still mentions them.  This is a big change for her, just another step in the processing of things, I guess.  Up until yesterday, she seemed to enjoy discussing them with me.  I would take the opportunity to learn as much as I could so that later, when she forgets details, I can fill her in with what information she taught me.  I am glad for whatever tidbits she has shared... but I'm guessing she will not be sharing much more about this precious time of her life.  As I write, this brings a little tear to my eye...I have truly enjoyed learning about the dear people that raised her for her first three years!  I don't know these fine people, but I can truly say, I love them... they gave us a beautiful gift... they loved, cared for, and nurtured our daughter.  Hopefully one day, we can meet the foster grandparents and tell them in my broken Mandarin how much we appreciate them.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Lonely for China...

Lately dear little Li Lin has been lonely for her Chinese foster grandparents.  She regularly asks me to take her on a plane to China.  I tell her that when she is ten we will plan to take her back on a visit.  She is usually pleased with this response.  The other day she said she wanted to go now. She said she wanted to go live with her grandparents AND us in China.  Oddly enough, this was great news for us... a month ago, she would have said she wanted to go to China .....bye-bye mom and dad.  Now she wants to see them, even live with them, WITH us at her side as well.

We have no idea how much her little heart must ache to see them again.  What we do see though, is how hard she is trying to grow up so that she can be 10.  She frequently stands on stools and shows me how big she is.  This past week she also asked me to see An-An.  An-An (Daniel) is a sweet little guy that was adopted from China at the same time as Li Lin was.  He, along with his wonderful parents, visited us this summer after having first met on our agency's adoption trip.  I think, to Li Lin, An-An represents a connection to China... they met there and she clearly remembers this.  In fact, I am startled at how much she remembers of those first few days.  A couple of days ago, I was changing her into her PJs and she said to me in a mixture of mandarin and english, "You gave me these in China."

Sure enough.  These were the PJs she wore in China.

She just loves China!   Last week while driving downtown, Li Lin she said excitedly, "Zhong guo" (China)  Looking around, we all agreed it did bear a similarity to China.  Downtown Toronto is a bit of a mix of condo construction, cranes, and heavy traffic.  I felt bad having to tell her she was still in Canada.  Next we drove to the CNE and took in a dance show by some Chinese dancers.  She just loved it and clearly realized they were from China.  She kept saying, "China! China!"

Yesterday I decided  to do the next best thing to taking her back to China.... visit the Chinese grocery store.  While getting out of the van, the smells of the store came wafting into the parking lot.  She just kept breathing deeply and saying, "Ahh. Ahh"

We purchased some imported Chinese snacks, ordered fresh authentic Chinese take-out and just immersed ourselves in "pretend China".  Li Lin was especially surpised/excited when she heard an overhead announcement in mandarin.  In her little world, this was pure joy!  I think I need to make a practice of going there more often.  Oh, and I must send off and email to An-An's mom... we need a play date soon!