Our Kid's Stories


From a Toddler's Perspective

My child was adopted at age three from China. She learned English fairly quickly and has intact memories of the adoption. I was quite surprised (dismayed really) to hear her view of events.

She told me that in China she thought

  1. That I was *stupid* because I could not talk!! My English must have sounded like gibberish to her. And apparently my attempts to speak Chinese were not successful.
  2. That I was *angry* at her in China. That she tried and tried to talk to me and I refused to answer her. (Her toddler Chinese was gibberish to me.) She simply could not understand why I refused to speak to her and attributed malevolent motives to it.
  3. That I looked "ugly and frightening" to her (she had never seen a Caucasian before). She told me that she thought her nanny had turned her over to monsters.

(In hindsight we should have had our facilitator do more in the way of explanations with our new daughter.)

As an aside, my child grieved and grieved the loss of her nanny for months after we got home. It was pathetic. She kept looking for her nanny and insisted her nanny would come back for her. Insisted also that she saw her nanny down the street, or that her nanny lived in a house across the way. One day, about 5 months after we got her, Lia asked me if the reason her nanny had given her away to strangers was because her nanny "no longer loved her." I had understood in an abstract way that my child would grieve, but I was not prepared for how heart wrenching it would be for Lia, and for me, to live with it on a day to day basis.


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Lynne Lyon, LCSW

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Staring at a heart-red tree desperately in love with a woman he could not risk loving because he could not afford to lose her.

from Tar Baby Toni Morrison