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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Blooming Daisies, Part 2

Subtitled Only I Don't Mean Blooming (Part 2 of 2)

So there we were, walking to the bus stop, the Tongginator and me. Despite our intense conversation just 10 minutes before, the Tongginator happily skipped along with her backpack bouncing against her rear and her pigtails flying. I, on the other hand, looked and felt like Lindsey Lohan on her way to rehab. Enough said.

We made it to the bus stop.

I knew I needed to find out which mom would be leading Daisies that very afternoon. Because although I wanted to pretend our conversation never happened, I just knew I could NOT do that to someone else. I used to teach, y'all. And I know how difficult it is to navigate the whole, "my daddy's in jail" ... "what's jail?" conversation. Being blindsided with that type of information?

Not. Cool.

So I approached one of the moms from our Daisies troop who also happens to be at the bus stop. I asked her who was leading the meeting, and fortunately she said, "I am." I nodded, then told her, "I need to talk to you after the bus leaves." About ten minutes later we stood together on the corner, watching the other parents walk away and the bus round the corner.

She waited, looking at me, so I finally just dove right in. And - for the record - I think the Tongginator may be the adoptee this mom knows the best. Which isn't saying all that much, since we hardly know one another at all. Personally, I think this momma is amazing. And yes, I trust her. I felt grateful that she was the leader for this particular week (we take turns).

TONGGU MOMMA: We saw the email about today's meeting, so we've been talking about bravery and courage around our house, like we're supposed to. But the Tongginator has mentioned one thing quite often. I'm not sure if she's going to bring it up at the meeting today, but I wanted to give you a heads up just in case she does. Because it's not... well... I just didn't want you surprised with it.

RANDOM DAISY MOM IN CHARGE OF THE COURAGE LESSON
: Sure.

TONGGU MOMMA: She's shared quite a few of the standard things... you know, like putting her head under water at the pool, the first day of school, stuff like that. But that's pretty much because the husband and I keep bringing those up. The two she's consistently mentioned on her own are her adoption day - when she met me for the first time - and also the day that she was abandoned. Actually, what she said was 'I think I must have been brave when somebody left me on the street in China* when I was just a tiny baby.'

RANDOM DAISY MOM IN CHARGE OF THE COURAGE LESSON: Oh. (lots of eye blinking) Oh. Okay. (lots and lots and LOTS of eye blinking) So... how do you want us to handle this?

TONGGU MOMMA: Well... I mean... the husband and I have a policy that the Tongginator can pretty much say anything when it comes to adoption. Our philosophy is 'if she's lived it, then she should be able to talk about it.' At the same time, that's pretty personal information, and I'm not sure the Tongginator is old enough to fully understand what it means to trust someone with that kind of information. She's SIX. Plus, that's a pretty heavy topic for the other children, who really haven't had to cope with something like that before. So... I don't know... I don't want to tell her she can't say it, but I also hope she doesn't.

RANDOM DAISY MOM IN CHARGE OF THE COURAGE LESSON: Yeah. I can see how you would feel that. (more eye blinking as she processes) Okay, well, we were going to go around the circle and have every girl share, but maybe now we will just ask if anyone wants to share. That way there's no pressure to say anything. And if she brings it up, we can talk about it for a minute. And if she doesn't, then we've dodged a bullet. I can also emphasize that we are all writing down our brave acts on our flower craft. And that it's okay to share it with others or to keep it private.

TONGGU MOMMA: I can stay at the meeting if you're worried about this. But I'm wondering if she'll be more likely to say it if I'm there. And I don't know what to do.

RANDOM DAISY MOM IN CHARGE OF THE COURAGE LESSON: Well, that's totally up to you. (another pause) If she does bring it up, what should I say if you aren't there?

TONGGU MOMMA: Well, when she mentions adoption at all, I usually just ask all of the children if they know what adoption means. And - if they don't know (and usually someone doesn't) - then I explain it to them and answer questions. And then we move on.

RANDOM DAISY MOM IN CHARGE OF THE COURAGE LESSON: Umm... but how do you explain it?

TONGGU MOMMA: Well, last year in Ms. Confetti's class I basically told the children than not all mommies and daddies are able to care for their children. Sometimes grown-ups have grown-up problems, problems that they can't fix. The child didn't do anything wrong, it's just that the parents aren't able to fix a really big problem. Like, maybe they don't have enough money to buy food for the baby. Or maybe they are too young and aren't ready to parent a child. And, in China, people have to ask permission before they have a baby, so maybe the parents forgot to ask for permission.

RANDOM DAISY MOM IN CHARGE OF THE COURAGE LESSON: (blinking again) Okay. (nodding decisively) Alright. We'll deal with it. Thanks so much for letting me know ahead of time. I don't think being blindsided with this would be easy.

TONGGU MOMMA: No, thank you.

RANDOM DAISY MOM IN CHARGE OF THE COURAGE LESSON: It's good. It will be fine.

And then we both walked away feeling like Lindsey Lohan entering rehab.

But I was the only one who looked like it.


*The Tongginator's actual finding place is more specific than this, of course. Since the vast majority of Chinese adoptees are found abandoned out of doors on sidewalks or paths, I didn't feel this was too personal to share in this situation, especially since the Tongginator might have actually come out to say it later that day.

18 comments:

Annie said...

Wow TM! You are such a good Momma and the Tongginator, bless her heart, is just amazing!!!!

Elizabeth@Romans8:15 said...

I am dying to know if she chose to share this. This is a nail biter!

Wendy said...

Stay tuned...I think we're all dying to know...did she or didn't she?

autumnesf said...

Perfect! I know I'd like that kind of heads up with my scouts.

And then she went home and poured vodka in her coffee and said...."It's DAISIES!!! Its not supposed to be this hard!!!"

LOL!!!

kitchu said...

thanks for these first set of tools in navigating new and often turbulent waters.

you are seriously an amazing mom.

prechrswife said...

You handled that very well, and I know Random Daisy Mom appreciates the heads-up. I'm really curious to see how all of this plays out.

Amy said...

Count me in as someone dying to know what happened...

sara said...

My nephew (who is Vietnamese) was abandoned outside as well. I wonder why that's so prevelant in the Asian countries...

So did she share?

Mahmee said...

You are the best Momma...really. You handle these situations with your daughter so well. I hope random Daisy mom was able to handle the situation well too...and yes, what ended up happening?

We are going through something similar right now. I asked R's teachers if we could bring in some age approrpriate books of R's for storytime (books about China and adoption that we read her here at home). That opened up a can of worms and now her teacher would like R and I to read the book to the class and open a discussion about her history. I know our girl isn't ready for anything that pointed. She hasn't processed the fact that she was left on the side of the road, etc. She doesn't even acknowledge being Asian. Sheesh. I need to have another discussion with her teachers as my goal was just to open up her peers minds to adoptive families...not delve so far into R's personal story with them.
Any advice that you might want to toss my way would be much appreciated!
Thanks!
Mahmee

Cedar said...

Do you have any posts that won't bring me to tears or laughter? (This one was tears in case you are wondering how hard hearted I am). My husband is thinking about taking the computer so I can't read past archives and swing between the two emotions all day.

Thanks for sharing.

Holly said...

ok, so your answers are maybe easier to understand and less complicated than the ones I just gave Josiah today.
Hmmmm. We never got a picture of his finding place either. Nor did we get his finding ad...that we PAID for :(
We have nothing but pictures from his prior sponsor and I am thankful for those handful of baby photos.
I like your explanation of Grown Up Problems. (sigh) okay, filing that away for next time...

LucisMomma said...

is there a part 3?

Wow, glad the mom was not running from the possibility of this conversation happening. (I might have said, "hey, you want to trade Daisy days?? PLEASE?!" )

Briana's Mom said...

Definitely waiting for part three...

Sharie said...

I gave Amelia's teacher a heads up at the beginning of the year. I had to do it with another parent in the room because she would NOT leave and I couldn't wait any longer. I think they both had the Lindsay look when I left the room.

Lindy said...

Why was the Daisy leader blinking so much? Was she trying to hold back tears?

Patty O. said...

Wow! I have to say I am impressed by the Daisy leader's reaction. Obviously, she was taken aback, but I appreciate that she could be honest about it and admit that she wasn't entirely sure how to handle this situation. I like that she wanted your advice instead of blowing you (and possibly T) off!

And you? You are just plain amazing!

Dawn said...

You are amazing! I'm going to be bookmarking this. Thank you!

a Tonggu Momma said...

Lindy, I don't think it was tears... I think she was really just trying to process it all. Although she is not familiar with adoption topics, she does parent a child with serious special needs. Her son has CF, so I'm sure they've dealt with lots of tough stuff in their house. It's forced her to have a pretty practical outlook in a lot of ways.

She very much had a deer in the headlights look, though, when she was blinking, so I feel pretty certain I stunned her. I don't think she had ever thought of adoption as anything more than a win-win-win situation. It was a lot to process.