Almost 3 years i’ve been a parent. Already you say you don’t like me,
you don’t like parents.
You run from my kisses, screech at my affection like a ghost in the room.
I know you’re just learning yourself,
learning who you are outside of me,
but still it hurts just a little to know it’s the beginning of you not needing me.

Your father doesn’t understand why I mourn those first two years of your life,
why I ache a little bit because I never got to hold you as an infant, 
never got to be your parent when you would have been so small,
and new,
and needed me the most.
I remember when I saw that photocopied picture of you in the newspaper announcing your finding.
That grainy black and white version of you no bigger than an inch.
That face i’d never known,
the one i’d never get a closer look at. 
It hit me like a punch to the gut,
the place inside me you’d never been.
I couldn’t stop thinking how empty your mother might have felt then without you curled within her.

Every day you’re different than the one before,
all bruised legs and dimples. 
I hardly remember how you were the day we first met,
you’re nearly a different person. 

I see so much of myself in you,
even more of your father.
Almost every day you talk about China,
the things you want to do there and the things you want to eat,
like a mirror image of your daily life,
just across the world.
I’m not sure i’m ready yet for you to realize how different your life there would be,
or how much you might be like your first mother and first father.
I don’t think i’m quite ready for you to start imagining what you’d be doing with them,
or whether your laugh sounds like theirs. 
I know the time will come.
I have always known you are not my child alone.
I will be forever grateful to be one of many who have loved and cared for you,
and forever longing for more time with you.
I wonder if parenting is like this for everyone,
slowly letting go of your child as each day passes, 
and months turn into years.