I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, but wasn’t ready to share it yet. Here it is:
Last night I heard Kai playing a game by himself. It sounded like he was a newscaster.
“And so, the Coronavirus came from China. It all started when people were eating bats. The president of China should have done a better job and told the people of China that they could not eat animals that have viruses, but he did not, and now people are sick.”
He goes on to read a “letter” from China.
Dear United States,
We are so sorry we started to eat bats. We hope we can still see you again.
My heart sank. We all know that children are sponges and take in everything around them, but I thought that I had done a decent job presenting the narrative for this first grader about the virus. Well, I know that this absolutely did NOT come from me…
I started thinking about what he must be feeling and thinking about this formidable disease coming from his own country of origin. It must be overwhelming to a kid who is already struggling with all issues adoption and China related. It gave a possible explanation for several out of the blue major melt downs and lots of tears that have happened over the last few weeks (as if we needed ANOTHER possible reason).
I asked him where he heard about the bats. He told me that he learned it at school. After hearing awful stories about what other Chinese adoptees (and other Chinese Americans) in the United States have had to deal with for the last few weeks, I thought I had been diligent in questioning him and looking for red flags, but I missed this.
He never brought it up in our discussions about the virus or when we have prayed for our world. It just came out as he was playing by himself, as it frequently does for children who are trying to work out complicated thoughts and feelings.
At least I know now, and we can continue discussing the world situation in a different way. What I want him to hear in this house is a love for the beautiful country, the rich culture, and the people of his birth. Covid-19 is a horrible disease, full stop. Horrible for the people of China, horrible for the people in the U.S., and horrible for almost every country in between. Never has it been more apparent that we are all global citizens. We will certainly continue having that conversation in this house.
(I’m going to share another post about Kai that I wrote several months ago. This guy is deep thinker and able to express complex emotions. Although I consider this to be a tremendous strength, it doesn’t mean it is easy…)