Because she's our "leader of the pack," she may often appear to be tough as nails. Actually though, she's a tremendous softie and is as tender-hearted and sensitive as they come.
That's why I worried last week when she chose Sweet Moon Baby for her birthday book at school.
(Our school has a new birthday policy this year. With so many allergies and special diets that come wit them, instead of bringing in cupcakes or cookies on your special day, you bring in a favorite book for the teacher to read to the class instead).
And what I appreciate about the story is exactly what brought me hesitation in her taking it to school. It brings up a choice that was made by at least one member of their extended birth family. And while my crew has been learning and processing little bits of what may have caused the decision that eventually landed them in our family ever since they began understanding the English language, their classmates haven't.
Can I just tell you how many times I've heard, "Oh, they just don't care about girls over there" or "It's so sad how those people can make a choice to give up their baby" or even "I heard they throw away their baby girls." And those comments have come from so called grown-ups...
Today my crew, especially their jie jie (Mandarin for elder sister), is proud of their background. They are proud to be adopted, and proud to be able to call themselves Chinese-American because their Daddy and I can only claim one heritage title, American.
So my heart sank a little when she chose to take that specific book to be read aloud to her class. When she asked me to find it for her on the bookshelf, I instantly had an internal struggle going on.
Do I go to "look for it" and tell her I can't find it? (a big, fat, bold-faced lie)
Do I slyly try to get her to choose another title? (but what other one does she choose more on her night to pick the bedtime story?)
Do I come right out and suggest that she not choose that one? (but I don't want to cause her to doubt her favorite book)
Do I just go get it and pray for the best outcome? (and remind her how much she is loved in the process)
I went back and forth several times in the amount of time it took me to go upstairs to the bookshelf. But in the end I decided that it was (almost) her birthday and the decision was hers to make.
Believe me though, I had her on my mind all day.
What if...her classmates really realized for the first time that she was adopted.
What if...they started to single her out for being different because of it?
What if...they were cruel about the new information they gleaned?
It was a long day to wait. But when I saw her smiling as she skipped down the hill toward me at the crosswalk that afternoon, I could tell everything was okay.
Her first words?
"Mommy, Ms. N and all my friends loved my book today!"
My girl put herself out there. It may have been unknowingly on her part, but still, she put herself out there. She was well received. And for now, all remains right in her world...and therefore mine...