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She remembers . . .

Felicity has been in our arms for 10 months today.  And over that 10 months, I have prayed about, thought about, and felt sadness for Felicity's losses.  Mainly the loss of her birth parents.  The loss of everything she knew. The loss of her culture.  But, somewhere along this journey, I forgot that she lost one very special person to her.  Just weeks ago, I was reading a book on brain development that stated most children under the age of two will not have any memories because the brain is developing new neural pathways so quickly that they simply do not remember.  Well, the book was not exactly accurate . . .

One morning I was in the kitchen washing dishes.  The boys were in the living room. One of the boys had pulled out our family photos books.  They love sitting down and looking at these books filled with wonderful memories of our family.  Felicity had crawled into Joshua's lap and began looking on.  Suddenly, I heard Felicity say "Mama."  And no sooner did she utter my name, then Joshua said "Oh, Felicity that is not your mama.

My heart fell for a brief moment.  I knew who she was pointing to.  She remembers.  

I went into the room. I asked Joshua who Felicity was pointing to, and although he said he did not know, I could tell he and Felicity were looking at our China photobook.  

"Are you looking at pictures from Orphanage Visit Day?"

Joshua responded, "Yes"

She saw her nanny.  Joshua tried to turn the page and Felicity would not let him.  At that point, I picked Felicity up, still clutching the book, and I sat down with her with her on our other couch.  I pointed to her Nanny and explained that that woman was her Ayi (nanny).  I told her that her Ayi loved her and took care of her while she lived in China. She refused to turn the page.  Felicity just stared at the pictures of her and her Ayi.  We sat like that for about 10 minutes. Finally, she closed the photobook.  And then Felicity cuddled into me even more and put her head in my lap and we sat like that for about another 10 minutes.  

Tears started to flow from my eyes, as I stroked her hair.  Although I know my precious little daughter could not verbalize it, she was grieving.  She loved her Ayi and those pictures brought the memory of her back .  Felicity missed her Ayi.  There is so much loss in adoption and in that moment I could not believe that I had forgotten about this loss.  The woman who really was like a mom to Felicity before she even knew what a mom was.  I have been so thankful for this woman who cared for Felicity so well, yet somewhere I had forgotten that Felicity loved her too.  

After a little while, Felicity began to get up from my lap, and shortly thereafter she returned to her spunky self.  This little one is so resilient!

Since that day, we pull out our China photobook about once a week.  Felicity, now, happily, gets to the pictures of her Ayi and point and yells, "Ayi!" and smiles.  We do this now, because I do not want her to forget.  I want her to hold on to the memories of this lady whom she misses. I want those memories to bring smiles to her face for a long time to come.


  1. Wow. Beautiful and heartbreaking.

  2. I am tearful just reading this. How blessed Felicity is to have a mother who wants to help her remember and allows her to grieve instead of trying to distract her from it!

    With our domestic adoptions, Nathan had a time of intense grief when he was about 5 and one of our adoptions fell through right before the baby girl was born. He wanted to know why the birthmother changed her mind, and I explained how hard it is for a mother to choose adoption instead of parenting for her baby, and that when birthmoms do choose adoption it is really a heroic thing, to love their baby so much that they are willing to sacrifice getting to be their mom so that the baby can have what they cannot give them. And that some mothers are heroic in a different way, that they also love their babies so much that they decide to parent even if it means that life will be very difficult for them and the child.

    Nathan broke down with tears, sobbing "I wish I could have stayed with my birthmom!" I knew not to take this personally, that it was his first moment of grieving what might have been, that in perfect world there would never be a need for adoption, that of COURSE he wished he could have known her. I held him and told him that she wished that too, that I'm sure she thought about him all the time. He cried hard for about 10 minutes, then perked up to his usual self and it has not come up since (he is 12 now)!

  3. Getting a bit verklempt reading this...

  4. It would be nice if Felicity's Ayi could know that she remembers her, as unusual as it is.

    1. Barbara, I can update the the orphanage via email. It adds a strange twist to the "What are we going to do when we go get Thomas question?" Thomas is at the same orphanage and we had planned to take Felicity, especially since we did not think she would remember (even a social worker told us she would not). Now that we know she remembers, we know, too, it make be too soon for her to go back. We are still months away from travel, so we have time, but it adds some difficulty to it all. We just want to do what is best for Felicity.

  5. So profound, the minds of little ones. Continued prayers for your famil.

  6. I stumbled on your blog through a series of random internet browsing. I love family, the great outdoors, running in the woods, and adoption stories...hence crossing paths with your blog. My heart is wrung reading about Felicity. I know this is way after the fact (almost 2 years), but thank you for sharing your story of unconditional love and courage. You are inspiring. I only hope I can affect someone's life for the better even half as much as you. God bless you.


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