Sweet, sad girl
Waking in your new mama’s arms,
Familiar faces gone.

Abu! Abu zai nar?”
“Auntie! Auntie where are you?”

Oh that I could kiss away
Your frantic cries,
This storm of grief

Can you imagine?
I loved you before I even met you.
Danced and laughed,
Your tiny picture held under my heart.
Longed for you before you were born.
Dreamed of your wondrous eyes,
Your toddler courage,
Your baby strength.


And now, my beautiful little one,
With your delicious laugh
And your busy hands.
Do any yearnings still haunt your dreams?

China cried, they cried, Abu cried
And then smiled through their tears.
Love this child they said.
Guard this child they said.
She is your treasured daughter now.
You are her family
As she is yours.
Your family is American.
Your family is Chinese.
We would not steal your sorrow.
But we will add sweet joy,
And shining songs, and tender, patient, love.
Hold fast to your history, my rosy child.
Together we look to the future.
We are American.
We are Chinese.


Marybeth Lambe and her husband Mark Levy live on a dairy farm with their eight children. On good days she remembers all their names – Brendan, Austin, Sara, Emma, Rose, Danny, John Patrick, JinJin, MeiMei, and Shen Bo. When she is not milking cows or chasing children, Marybeth works part-time as a family physician and writer.