Sunday, November 05, 2006

Happy Birthday Lana

Today is Lan's birthday, and she is four years old. Four years. She's a whole person, with a whole personality and preferences and opinions and likes and dislikes. And I have NO IDEA what that little person is all about, and I wonder how long it will take for me to know her. Really know her. (Then again, isn' t it an age old conflict, of mothers and daughters and how well they REALLY know one another?)

For three and a half of her four years, Lan has lived with a foster mother, and I wonder if that foster mother has celebrated this day with her. I've read conflicting information about the celebration of birthdays in Vietnam - most of what I have read says that birthdays are not celebrated by the Vietnamese people.

Some part of me feels like a failure for not being able to ensure that she has a cake, a present, a song in celebration. I realize it is irrational of me to feel this way - if birthdays are not celebrated, certainly she doesn't know she missing anything. Certainly I do not have the power to make these things happen, no matter how much I would like to.

Lan shares her birthday with our niece Jo-jo. (A nickname, not her real name). Jo-jo turned 5 today, and we had a big birthday party for her yesterday, at a place called Joe Dumar's FieldHouse in a suburb of Detroit. They have lazer tag and bunjee trampolines and a gigantic, enormous (like 25 feet tall) inflatable slide, and skeeball and rock-climbing and video games. It was a triple birthday party, for Jo-jo, her brother M~, and her older sister, B~. All three of my brother-in-law's children have birthdays in November, within 2 weeks of eachother. Now, with Lan's birthday also in November (and the same day as Jo-jos) my in-laws will have 5 grandchildren - four of them with November birthdays, two of them sharing the same birthday. (Here is an unusual thing about my husband's family - of the thirteen people who now make up Husband's immediate family, there are now (counting Lan) eight people who share birthdays with one other family member. I think that is freaking weird. I am one of the ones who shares - my sister-in-law and I have the same birthday.) There are so many shared birthdays in my husband's family, that one of the ways I felt sure that Lan was destined to be ours was the fact that she shares Jo-jo's birthday, while I share Jo-jo's mother's birthday. (Does that make a lick of sense?)

We had a really nice time at the birthday party - we played lazer tag and jumped on the bunjee trampoline (this is where you are attached to bunjee cords on both sides of your body, and strapped in a harness, and jump on the trampoline - you can jump really high and do flips and stuff. Gabe loved this. I did it once and it was SO MUCH FUN. It was a lot of work, though, so, I didn't have the energy to do more than one three minute session.) I also made a fool of myself attempting to do Dance Dance Revolution Extreme. Oh well, such is my life as a rythymless white girl. My efforts amused my 13 year old niece, B~, in the extreme.

But, my fun was somewhat overshadowed by the feeling that Lan should be having a birthday party, that Lan should be jumping on the trampoline and sliding down the slide with her cousins and her big brother. I understand that patience is important, and that this delay between referral of a child and bringing that child home is necessary in order to insure ethical adoptions in Vietnam - it's just really, really hard. Especially today, on that child's birthday.

So, for now I am going to sign off by saying, Happy Birthday, my not-so-Baby Girl.

LM

7 Comments:

Blogger maxhelcal said...

Oh God, your post could make me cry... I have noticed that in the most recent pictures of our Bronte, that she looks older. I feel this NEED to get there and be with her so I don't miss anything else and for her to not be without her family any longer. The waiting is so hard...you have to get your travel call soon!!!

Three of my children are also November babes! Quinton will be 6 on the 13th, Nolan will be 3 on the 28th and Helen will be 10 on the 30th! What a month!

~Michelle

Sunday, November 05, 2006 4:47:00 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I eared up when I read your post. Keep your chin up and think of the future birthdays!

Sunday, November 05, 2006 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Happy Birthday Lana!

I know all too well how you are feeling mommy. I, too, ache for my little girl and although getting updated pictures is SO wonderful, it's so very difficult to see her getting bigger.

I think it's wonderful that so many family members share birthdays! I don't believe in coincidences like that...definitely fate! :)

Sunday, November 05, 2006 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I mean teared! Hee hee!

Sunday, November 05, 2006 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Hey Gretchen... finally have time to check in on your blog (it's not even 10pm and husband is asleep! I can't sleep this early!!) ... I'm so sorry you've been having such a rough go of it the last two weeks. And I'm sorry you don't have Lana with you on her 4th birthday. That is a big deal and it's okay to be sad about it. And I really really hope you get good news from her province THIS WEEK. (you know I hate the word "soon"!) If Lana's anything like Zeeb, she will transition/adjust better than you can imagine... I know we still have a long way to go but it's just amazing how well the boy is doing after only one week. I just really really can't wait until I'm reading all about your travel adventures.

Monday, November 06, 2006 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger La Turista said...

Just catching up and wanted to say sorry about the birthday. I can't imagine how hard being away from Lana is, but y'all will have many more birthdays to celebrate together when she comes home. How very exciting!
And we have that shared birthday/anniversary thing around here, too: (deep breath) My husband and his SIL have the same bday, my BIL and MIL have the same bday, and my mom and my FIL have the same bday. My bday is also my BIL and SIL's anniversary. AND my bday is the day after my parents' anniversary. AND my mom's bday is the day before her parents' anniversary. SO Peach must have a girl born the day before her anniversary. She must.

Thursday, November 09, 2006 5:27:00 PM  
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Friday, November 10, 2006 6:49:00 AM  

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