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.