TITLE: Home is a Roof over a Pig
GENRE: Adult Narrative Non-fiction
The Chinese writer Zhang Ailing said that every butterfly is a dead flower flying back to look for her lost life.
Perhaps that explains why I now found myself arriving in China, with a husband, three children, nineteen pieces of luggage, and a contract to teach at a local university. Three years before, my husband Chris and I had traveled to one of China’s poorer provinces to adopt a beautiful baby girl. We named her Grace Amelie--her middle name French like her older sister’s, her given name Grace because she was a heaven-sent gift. But as we finished up the paperwork and prepared to fly home, something nagged at me.
I had begun to feel it when we undressed her that very first time at the hotel, when we took off the layers of clothes and the rag that served as a diaper, and replaced them with the cutest outfits we had brought with us and a fresh Pampers. For I knew I was changing her. And I was changing her yet again when I gave her her first bath, put her in a high chair, and babbled to her in English. Then, when we boarded the airplane with her immigrant visa, landed her on U.S. soil, and happily told her she was an American now, even though we were giving her a family that loved her and a place to belong, still I knew I was changing her identity. And she was losing something.
Yes, the truth was, I had come to China, in part, looking for her lost life.