We had not planned to have a party at our house Tuesday.
Until Monday afternoon.
When I realized there was no getting around it. Piper, our resident seven year-old (about to be eight, mind you), insisted.
Tuesday was Piper’s Gotcha Day, the seventh anniversary of the day we “got” her in a hotel lobby in Nanchang, China. The two-year plus wait to adopt our youngest family member was enough to wear us down. But, since the first moment she came into our lives, we have embraced each other with an unquestioning love deep and pure.
She is a joy to behold.
She believes in any cause for celebration – if she happens to be the reason for celebrating, all the better. We made the cupcakes, ordered the Chinese food and invited friends.
Presto, a party.
Piper’s ease in the world and the way she pulls people into her magic occasionally gets old for her 12-year-old sister.
But even her sister agreed that the anniversary of seven years of “getting” Piper was cause for celebration.
Piper has taught us all a lot. She’s a truth-teller and has the rare combination of charm, wisdom and impeccable timing that allows her to say what needs to be said to most anyone – leaving them facing the truth without resentment toward the messenger.
That’s a gift.
One that, on occasion, she makes me wish I had.
Sometimes her insight causes her grief. She works hard to understand how a little girl from China came to be surrounded by so many people who love her in Louisiana. Every few months, she needs to cry about the woman she calls her “Chinese mom.” I’m grateful Piper knows she’s loved enough to be able to discuss the depths of her sadness with me. I attempt to give her the right amount of information.
“China has a one-child-per-family policy.”
“Your Chinese mom wanted you to have the best life possible.”
“She loved you.”
“The Chinese government limits families to one child because there are too many people. They had to figure out a way to control the number of people so they would have enough food.”
Try explaining international politics to a seven-year-old.
For a little girl so full of love and joy, the concepts are impossible to grasp.
There is no way for us to know the circumstances of how Piper and her birth mother went their separate ways. In my heart, I believe she was a woman who loved her baby enough to sacrifice her own love and take a difficult path she believed would best serve her daughter.
There is no question to Piper’s happiness. I often tell people, without hesitation, Piper is the most well adjusted member of our family. Yet, loss exists for her — and an anonymous woman in China who must wonder how that little girl’s life has fared.
Oh, for a powerful potion to resolve their losses.
In the meantime, we do the best we can. The joy far outweighs the grief.