Monday, September 8, 2008

Ni hao li shu

Shen Lao Shi said "Ni hao."*

Li shu said "Ni hao lao shi."*

Does she remember? Do the tones evoke memories of the nannies, of her foster family, of her first mother?

Was she too young to remember? Or has she become too American over the past two years that she cannot remember China?

These were the questions running through my mind as we walked into the Cricket Academy. Bunny was there to start Mandarin classes along with nine other two year olds.

Seven of the nine, plus nine more from another class, were girls just like her who were born in China and had come to live with their forever families 7,000 miles away in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

These girls are all so different. Some are shy, some are outgoing. Some are short, some are tall. They are from different regions all across China.

But they are also the same. They share a common bond. They will all know what it is like to grow up half way around the world from where you were born. They will all know what it is like to not look like your parents. They will all know what it is like to live in a culture so different from that of your birth. They will all have questions. They will all face obstacles and difficulties.

But they will be sisters. Their shared experiences will bond them. They can turn to eachother. And that in some small way will help them through.

Bunny is lucky. One of her new sisters is from her same orphanage. They share the same early history. They were cared for by the same caregivers. They had the same experiences. They are sisters.

This is one of the greatest gifts that I can give my daughter. To let her know her sisters. To learn the language and the culture of her birth country. To let her know that she is part of our family but also is a family with her sisters. She is not alone.

*Teacher Shen said "Hello".
Bunny said "Hello teacher."


Kate Coveny Hood said...

This is beautiful. One a wonderful community for all of you.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx said...

What a great opportunity for Bunny! It will be very nice to have a community, "just for her".

Elizabeth said...

Read Anne Tyler's 'Digging to China'-it's a novel about two families who adopt from Korea and the years that follow the adoptions. Besides being a wonderful novel it gives insight into what it must be like to be an adoptee growing up in America.

anymommy said...

What an incredible gift to give her. I hope you'll write more about the classes!

Z said...

Such a great opportunity, and so amazing that she has a "sister" so nearby!

My husband is originally from China, but grew up in the States - his family all speaks Mandarin, and I'm trying to learn, but at this age, it's a bit harder... So nice for her to have this opportunity now, both for meeting with other sisters but also for learning/retaining at least some of the language! (Which, to my mind, is a beautiful language, and well worth learning just on its own!)

Kay Bratt said...

I think it is awesome that your daughter will learn her culture through her language!

Zai Jian!