That said, Judy excitedly launched into the book only to come to a screeching halt on Page 4 when she read this (emphasis added):
Anna was adopted from an orphanage in China. She was eleven months old when we got her on a clear February afternoon in a hotel lobby in Nanjing. She was wrapped in a fluffy orange snowsuit decorated with little white cats. I stopped thinking about her birth-mother the same day they drove us by the spot on the street in Kunshan where Anna was found when she was just a few days old. I just couldn’t bear to think about that ghost-woman anymore. What good would it do to keep worrying about her and hating her for what she did. “I was born in China,” Anna will say. “And then you came to get me.” That’s right. That’s the story. I don’t know when to fill in the details.
I’m hoping, as I noted in a comment to Judy, that somewhere in the book Laskas comes back to that sentiment and explains it or, better yet, confesses she might have felt that way initially, but later realized this might not be the best stance to take — for her daughter’s sake, if nothing else.
Whatever the circumstances of her daughter being left by her birth mother, it seems that we must consider the circumstances and context in which it happened. Western society, even with its own issues and assumptions about adoption, is far different from the mindset in China. She can hate that her daughter was left behind, and she can hate the circumstances that may have driven a mother to make such a decision. But isn’t declaring “hatred” for the “ghost-woman” who gave birth and life to Laskas’ child burdening the girl with knowledge that her own mother hates the woman she came from? After all, her birth mother is a huge part of her history, a huge part of her. It just doesn’t make much sense.
Maybe someone has read the book and can explain all this away? If so, please enlighten me. (I know, I know. I hear you. “Respect another’s feelings and experiences, Gretchen.” But sometimes it’s just so difficult to understand.)
Maybe I’ll just have to read the book myself in search of the answer.