This week I posted on Facebook looking for help on how to make international reservations to China. Thank goodness I have friends in the travel industry and even more that travel often and they were able to help. Some are wondering about our trip so I thought I would explain.
Recently I walked with my daughters and my nieces to a store in the neighborhood. As we walked, it dawned on me that I was probably walking on the exact same sidewalk in front of the store that has been there since we walked to the exact same location as kids. The store has changed but it is the same route we knew by heart from a very early age.
That started me thinking - I work each day at the hospital I was born in. I drive the streets that my parents did from before I was born. I visit the house I grew up in. I live next door to that house! The schools I went to are still in the neighborhood. I look in daily on my classmates lives on Facebook. My church is still standing in the same place.
But it is more than that.
I could drive the route to my grandparents' home in my sleep if needed. I can show you the houses they lived in. I can show you the place where my parents met.
Of course I know my siblings and their children. Beyond that I know my cousins, my aunts, my uncles. Thanks to Facebook, I know my 2nd and 3rd cousins as if we still got to go to Grandmommy's house for visits.
I know my history from before I was born. I know the doctor's name that delivered me, my pediatrician's name, my dentist's name.
My whole life story can be remembered.
But for my children, we know none of that.
We don't know where they were born or who was there, because we do not know their birth families. We don't know if they have siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, or grandparents. We don't know if they were born at home, in a hospital, in the city or in a village in the country. We don't know any of the circumstances of their birth and some
thing that still makes me cry is the space on their birth certificates that asks for parents' name and it says "unknown".
Both my daughters were older when I adopted them, Grace was 6 and Annabel was 11. They have a history in China. They had streets they walked to go to the store, friends in the neighborhood, classmates. But because they were children, they don't know where these people or these neighborhoods are. They come from a city of four times as many as Dallas. How is a 6 year old or an 11 year old supposed to know where those places are?
But they need to look, they need to explore, they need to talk to people. They need to see familiar sights, smell the smells, taste the food. They need to reconnect with the foster families that loved them.
Will we even find any of those people from their past? I don't know because I'm not sure they want to find them.
What I do know is they need this connection with the past to face the future and that's all I know for sure.