Friday, April 9, 2010
I Recommend: Goose
From time to time, I stumble upon a book about adoption that I'm not expecting to be about adoption.
GOOSE by Molly Bang is a wonderful example.
I picked it out randomly at our library. It sat for a few days before we got around to reading it. When I did read it, though, I was touched by its simple, poignant story.
A goose egg rolls into a woodchuck hole. The egg hatches and the gosling is raised by the woodchuck family.
I thought at first this would be a retelling of the Ugly Duckling story. But it isn't. The woodchuck family adores the gosling. They raise her well. They teach her everything they know: how to swim, how to build.
Goose is happy for a long time, but not complete. When she reaches maturity, she deals with a depression she can't explain. Because of this, she sets out on her own, wandering aimlessly through the dark night. Accidentally slipping off a cliff, she's sure her life is over. But during the long drop down, Goose learns to fly.
This is a beautiful coming of age story. It's in the epiphany of her darkest moment that she discovers a talent that distinguishes her from the rest of her family. She is able to fly home to the woodchucks with a sense of completeness.
I don't know how this story will apply to a human adoption story. I'm thinking, of course, of my daughter Olivia. I don't know what the future will hold, what her personal struggles will be. I wonder if someday she'll find a talent that was given her by nature and not by nurture, one she'll share with her birth family (though she may never know for sure), something that delights her soul and makes her spread her wings.
There's also a lesson in here for me: that there's a time to let go, to let a child find their wings. Not yet, though. But I know that day will come.
I'd be remiss at this point if I didn't talk about some great news our good friends in China just received.
I was with my dear friend Megan the day she first saw her daughter Rose. Rose was an orphan who'd been sent to the orphanage as a baby. A British woman took her as an infant and raised her for several years. But when this woman's visa expired and the government forced her to leave China, she had no choice but to send Rose back to the orphanage.
Rose only spoke English (with a British accent!). The orphanage director asked if any English-speakers in our community would be willing to provide foster care for her. My friend Megan and her husband Mark offered to help. I remember seeing Rose for the first time in the four-year-old room, sitting at the table, playing with playdough. Megan and I were both stunned by how beautiful she was. Poor sweet thing! She must have been so confused being back at the orphanage surrounded by people who didn't speak her language!
To make a long story short, over the course of the last four years Megan and Mark thought they were going to lose Rose twice. The Chinese Adoption Administration matched her paperwork with two different families at two different times. My friends had to fight to keep Rose in their home. But just this last week, they received their official referral for Rose's adoption. After four years, they will be able to officially adopt their daughter.
Of course, this mirrors our family's experience in many ways. Two years ago, around this time of year, we received our referral for our then six-year-old daughter Olivia. It had been a wait of six and a half years to receive that paperwork. I remember that insane feeling of disbelief and joy and overwhelming thankfulness ... I know my dear friend Megan is feeling that now!
Congratulations, Mark, Megan, Rose, & Grace! We are so happy for you!
And I'm so thankful for adoption, I don't even mind being the woodchuck in the equation.