Guiding preferences, continued

I need to add something.  I don’t really believe that I can affect BB’s handedness or sexuality.  It’s just a weird and interesting parenting thing to think about my biases and how they affect my parenting.  I thought about it when I was reading about handedness and how many parents do give things to their children’s right hands, as if this will lead them in this direction.  I remember when I first did this it was because I thought she was leaning toward right-handedness.  Then I thought about how it seems as though the righty world is easier and I was sort of hopeful.  The next minute she was using her left hand and I realized, “nope, no dominance yet.”  On sexuality, well, I don’t think this will show itself for quite some time.  I don’t want to influence her on this.  Still, I recognize that I am influenced by my environment.  Right now I know many more people who are straight than gay or bi.  This hasn’t always been the case.  Anyway, I think handedness and sexuality are both innate, not learned.  Still, I notice behavior regarding this and I find it interesting.  I wonder if I had more homosexual friends in my life if I it would change the natural way I talk about these things?

Anyway, I’ve been thinking that a lot of this is simply a parent’s natural tendency to want her child to be similar to her.  It’s not so much that I want BB to be like me, as I admire much about her that isn’t like me at all.  Yet, I know what I am and I know how to guide in those directions.  The grooves are, um, grooven?  It isn’t about right or wrong; simply understanding.  It got me thinking about how I do this with adoption issues.

I remember a Chinese folk story about a wasp that takes the offspring of an insect from the Mulberry tree.  The wasp turns them into young wasps, by placing the young insect in its nest, tapping the nest, and praying, “be like me, be like me.”  Later, the insect emerges from the nest as a wasp.  In China, a child such as this, one raised by someone other than it parents, is called min-ling zi, which means “mulberry insect child.” 

I’d like BB to be like me in some ways; other ways not.  For instance I want her to be Chinese and I’m not.  This isn’t an easy thing, as part being Chinese is learned.  It isn’t just appearance and genes; it’s culture and language.  I didn’t give her appearance or genes (but she gets to keep those) and  I don’t know the culture or language (and we helped take those).  Hubs and I have always felt we are third best for BB.  Best would have been for her to be with her biological family.  Second best would have been for her to be with a family in China. Maybe there’s even a third best, with a Chinese family in America who can teach her Chinese culture and not have the disconnect and white-guilt issues.  But here we are and I hope this is better than an orphanage.  Although I do wonder about what brought her to the orphanage and, well, that’s another very uncomfortable adoption issue.  My heart aches when I hear of adult Chinese folks (some adopted, some not) who feel uncomfortable in China or among other Chinese people because they don’t know the culture or the language, who don’t feel on the inside like they look on the outside.  The disconnect sounds so, well, disconnected and confusing.

In what other ways do I encourage her to “be like me”?  We guide her toward skepticism about religion, because that’s how we are.  However, she does go to church with grandparents on occasion.  We think it’s important that she learn about our families’ views and our community views, especially since they are all around us.  Also, she needs to learn respect for them and exposure is part of that.  But, yes, I want her to “be like us” and we’ll guide her that way.  We won’t encourage belief in fate.  There’s bad habits – clutteriness.  Yes, I expect she’ll be like me that way.  I’d like her to get a quality education – like me.  I’d like her to be curious about people and the world – like me.  I’d like her to ask questions and consider other perspectives – like me. 

Anyway, in the end, it doesn’t matter what she does/who she is.  I’m just excited to find out!

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2 Responses

  1. i feel like i could have WRITTEN this, we are so totally on the same page. this was a fantastic post. interesting that i just touched on the same subject (brief)- that with the right supports in place, M-n-M’s best option would have been to remain in her culture, preferably with her China Mom and China Dad.

  2. I love how you and Cuzband are so informed, realistic and open minded in your parenting. I think Bing~Bing will flourish.

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