Remembering the orphanage


The two photos in this post are in Bing-Bing’s lifebook, which tells the story of the first year of her life.  This first picture was taken soon after we received her.  The woman on the right in the photo above is in charge of adoptions at BB’s orphanage and gave BB her name, Jiang Xue-Bing.  A few months ago when BB looked at this photo she pointed to each of us saying our names (or at least I was certain about three of us) – “that’s Mommy, that’s Bing-Bing, that’s Daddy, that’s …” and she said something I couldn’t understand that clearly has the “T” sound in it.  I know the woman’s Chinese name and there is no “T” sound in it.  Besides, the children wouldn’t call their care takers by their names, but something like “Ayi” (Auntie) or “Nai Nai” (something similar).  Again, no “T”.  I got her to repeat this several times and always the “T”, but I couldn’t understand it.  More recently, the name is clearer.  I think it is “Tong Ting.”  BB left the orphanage at 8 1/2 months and she remembers her.  Plus, she was pre-verbal and she remembers what she called her.  Or so it seems.


She also looked at this picture (above) where she is on the right.  She and the other children from her orphanage who were in our travel group are posing for a pre-adoption picture.  She pointed to the 2nd nanny from the right and said “Mama”.  Then she pointed to a picture of me on the same page and said, “Mama-Mommy.”   She does, on occasion, call me “Mama” and her daddy “Baba”, although rarely and we did not teach her to do that.  I have always felt that those terms are reserved for her Chinese parents or more generically for us (uncapitalized), unless she chooses them.  I’m shocked that she sometimes does.

I have tried to contact the orphanage to find out what the children call the woman in the first picture.  So far I haven’t been successful, but I will keep trying.


4 Responses

  1. She was so little? What happened to our babies?

  2. These 2 years have gone by so fast!

  3. amazing what our minds can remember. I’m a firm believer that memories from early on can be revisited if the pathways are open.

  4. Wow that is cool! I really hope you are able to find out. I can’t believe she was so little, gosh time just flies….

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