Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Two books

Yesterday Grace stayed home sick from school. She seems to share the severe allergies and sinus problems I have known for so long. I can even predict when it will be the worst and when I will finally have to let her stay home so she can get well.

This left Annabel with plenty of time to talk on the drive to and from school.

Only we did not talk going.

They are reading a new book in English called, "The Giver" by Lois Lowry. Reading is still so difficult for her that I bought the book on CD, or tape or DVD, all of us call it something different!

It is really interesting, so much so that I listened to the first chapters by myself today.

It is a futuristic society where everyone knows the rules and everyone follows them in a very structured identical way.

Also today we had our book club for our older adults.

I chose the book this time and so we read, "The Lost Daughters of China" by Karin Evans. It explains why there are so many "daughters" who are available for adoption. It discusses the Cultural Revolution, the time in Chinese history between 1966 and 1976 when Chairman Mao tried pretty much the same thing as the story in "The Giver".

The book discusses the remarkableness (if that is a word) of the common characteristics between the parents and their adopted child. It discusses the "matching room" where the China Center for Adoption Affairs matches babies to their expectant parents. All eerily similar to the book "The Giver", where the babies are produced, then nurtured by the nurturers, before being placed with their family at age 1.

The "matching room" is used to match those who have applied for adoption and primarily are waiting for babies.

When I adopted both Grace and Annabel, I chose them.

For the older, waiting child, their picture and background are sent to the different adoption agencies. From there, the agencies each handle it a little differently, but if they have someone who has applied for a "waiting child" and the child "fits" their criteria, the child is offered to them. Which really does not sound right as I write this, but basically what happens.

Before Grace, the agency I used sent files from several other children. Each had medical issues that I did not feel I was prepared to handle or they were too young. I knew being single I could not "raise" a toddler or a baby.

But when they sent me Grace's picture, the second I opened it, I knew she was my daughter. Karin Evans discusses the exact sensation and realizing that the match had to be at that very second, in that very place, or you would have missed your daughter.

Grace and I could not be more alike. Physically we share so much, but more than that, our whole sense of being is so similar. If the physical traits were not different, you would have trouble knowing we did not share DNA.

Grace and I also cannot see a purpose in doing any more than we really have to and would be pleased to be left to lay on the couch and read all day.

That is where Annabel comes in.

When I decided to adopt again, I was fearful of choosing an agency, because I would be dependent on who the CCAA sent to them. I wanted to be free to "find" my daughter.

And I did.

There is a website called www.rainbowkids.com and one day I happened to look at their site and the featured child was my daughter, my Annabel.

For Annabel and I it has been a little different, but she has helped me find a side to my life that has probably always been there, but needed to be found again.

Physically we could not be more opposite, she is small and petite, and I, well I am not!

But for Annabel, it is going to take a long time to "find" herself as well. She spent the majority of her first 11 years being the "caregiver" for younger children, one of the jobs given to 12 year olds in the book, "The Giver", and robbing her of the ability to be a child herself. She is bound and determined to get a shot at it this time and I encourage her to do so. Tonight when she should have been doing homework and I should have been cooking dinner, we somehow got a beat going between us and she would clap and hop on one foot as I clapped and stomped on the other. So we are working on our rhythm but if I had been Grace, I would have screamed at us to be quiet!

On our ride home from school though, Annabel had lots to say, and I did as well.

I had received an email from her math teacher notifying me that she was failing. That she had problems on some assignments and had not completed some work.

I do not have to worry about her hiding this from me and she quickly tried to explain before I even told her about the email.

We made an agreement that I would devote 30 minutes to helping her with her homework each night. That doesn't sound like much, but really about all there is.

Last night we tried to do her math together.

Miss Childers or was it Ms. Childress, in 10th grade scarred me from ever thinking I knew how to do math! But now I am having to learn it! We worked on those math problems for two hours! The exercises are computerized and you don't get to finish until you make a passing grade. By 9:30 we were both so punchy and exhausted we just kept hoping our "best" guesses would be correct.

Tonight we had to write a paper on Sir Isaac Newton. I did not know he invented the refractive telescope! I thought he just got hit on the head by an apple.

The two books were alarmingly similar in so many ways. The role of the government in trying to structure people's lives, yet if it had not happened the way it did, I would have missed my daughters.

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