Just love – you don’t need proof

Kathy Krugeradoption, China, motherhood, perspective, red thread14 Comments

There is only one photo!

Well, there are two, but they are the same photo, basically, just taken from a slightly different angle, snapped seconds apart….it doesn’t count. I will call it one photograph, as though the two images could merge into one, seamlessly, and no one would ever see the difference. See what I mean?

Liam baby two images_edited-1

There’s another photo, of a baby’s bottom and a birthmark that you might mistake for a big bruise covering his little left bottom cheek – I can’t really fathom why it was sent to us, for posterity perhaps (kind of like a birthmark)? I cannot say how much I would have preferred to have been sent another image, any other photo of any moment in a short, precious life that showed instead the handsome face of the son who would be ours.

So, so little to savour (to think the first images we received of our Little Yang were grainy, scanned, black and white copies of the above-mentioned originals – apparently government departments can’t invest in colour scanners to send the very first (only) images of future children to their prospective parents).

There is only really one photo. That’s IT. The sum total of 8.5 months.

Of our beautiful daughter, we have a priceless collection of 25 photographs as a young baby, several that are similar, having been taken on the same occasion showing a happy or bemused baby in different poses yet stuck in the same situation – an orphan being cared for by a foster family, looked after yet separate, seemingly alone. She was never snapped with anyone else in the frame – not a carer, nor another child. Kaitlyn 5 small

She was a baby whose first reaction was to smile a big cheeky grin as though she didn’t know there was little to smile about. She was captured in those images, but was she loved? (We’ve been lucky to have since met Miss Yin’s foster mother and we can only believe she was indeed loved).

Kaitlyn 6 smallThe 24 additional photos we have of our Miss Yin taken in her almost 13 months in China before we met her, can’t possibly make up for the four fewer months that we got to spend with her in our lives, when compared to our son.

Kaitlyn 8 smallI grieve those long months. Photos don’t make memories. They capture just a few moments stolen in time – but not lived by us or remembered by her ….the stuff of ether. No wonder the photo album we were given by the orphanage smelled so musty – the memories had already started to fade and mould into so much mildew because there was no-one to treasure them.

And we have NO photos at all of our children’s birth parents, no information. Miss Yin has already started to grieve this, but it’s her loss, her story to tell, so I will say no more.

Soooo – how to explain such lack of history to our children in a modern age when minute, upon moment, upon second is chronicled, analysed, face booked, tweeted? What they eat, for some people, is apparently interesting enough to be shared, at each and every meal!! Where is the room for nothing – for no images, no hashtags, no status updates?  Where is the room for (shock horror) IMAGINATION?

“We are not who we may have been perceived to be” – is my made-up quote which basically means that unless someone actually saw you, unless anyone observed your mortifying moment of supreme embarrassment in Grade 5 when you……………..or that time at 7 months old when you…………….but as a baby can’t remember, then it can’t be real – can it? Where is the photographic (or video) proof? Evidence people!

I could bore you with tales, and links to numerous videos, showing the story of moments in time I have frozen still and sweet and true for our daughter and our son.

As though obsessed, I’ve chronicled our daughter’s life, along with the lives of her China Cousins, with our extended family on holiday at Brunswick Heads, with her classmates in Kindy, with other China kids on camp, with her school class visiting the local nursing home, on holidays in Australia, Canada, the United States and China.

My video making obsession has waned somewhat with that thing called ‘crazy busyness’ so that my son is more photographed (iPhone’s make it so easy) but much less of a DVD star, yet still I yearn to tell the story of my children’s lives before time slips through their fingers (and mine of course).

But where is the ether that can’t be captured on film, where are our own individual shining auras and the connected energy between us that is unseen and yet felt? How can I photograph an invisible red thread that connects us to our children’s birthparents? How can you capture goose bumps? There are no images to prove anything let alone everything. 

Where is the map of the DNA that is my children’s and not mine?  I want to be able to trace the lines of our linked hands as we lock them together in love, but love is really the only connection.

Seven years ago I did up one of my very first videos for my Mum’s 60th birthday. I trawled though old photos, scanned several dozen, and put the video together with as much love and creativity as my novice ability could muster.  There were only three photographs of my mother during her entire childhood that I could use to tell the story of how her life began – yet that story was self-evident in the life she lived as an adult, in the love that was so obviously on show in the many photographs I was able to select from later in her life, so many featuring my wonderful Dad and us lucky kids.

In this digital age where a sandwich is sometimes snap-worthy, how will I ever explain that no-one stopped to take photographs of my beautiful baby kids? I mean how will I explain it to THEM?

Perhaps in watching their grandmother’s video my precious children will realise that images are superfluous to the memories that are preserved in our hearts, encoded in everlasting love. Not in DNA maybe, but the love story continues, through the generations just the same.

We are not what others see of us, or even the sum of all that others see in us.

We are (usually) much more than we see of ourselves.

Perhaps if we could photograph love we might come close to capturing who we really are. All the same really, regardless of how we look in photos.

Now check out this montage of our two kids as babies – don’t you reckon they look so much like the siblings they ended up becoming, despite their different biological parents.

Love your comments below – linking up Jess for IBOT…..Kathy X

Our two kids_edited-2


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Kathy KrugerJust love – you don’t need proof

14 Comments on “Just love – you don’t need proof”

  1. Lydia C. Lee

    That’s so funny you say that – I have a friends, both adopted who I think look like their siblings, and one looks like his dad (adoptive) – it’s so weird. Maybe I project it, or I’ve always known them that way, so I see the mannerisms as features.

    As for the photos, we’ve become rather less snap happy, so I figure I’ll say we lost the albums in the house move…bad mumma.

    Also, my parents only have one or 2 shots of their entire childhood. I think we’ve gone a little over the top. I’ll be very surprised if that is an issue for your kids. I may be wrong, but we are heading into very narcissistic territory, so you may find they are actually spared. Who knows? (mind you, I’m the wrong person to talk about this – if the house burnt down I wouldn’t even grab the photos anymore.)

    1. yinyangmother

      Thanks for the reassurance that I’m not seeing things and also that my kids won’t miss a few photos – you are right with how narcissistic people are becoming in documenting their every move – I do feel that blogging can be self-indulgent but I hope people can relate and get something for themselves out of what I write, at least some of the time.

  2. Me

    If you hadn’t of told me they weren’t siblings I wouldn’t have known !!!
    We have photos of K but I often wonder why we don’t have more – maybe because it was back in the day of having to take film in to get developed and we didn’t really have the money – I don’t know.
    What I do know is that even now, I am very camera shy and much prefer to be behind the camera instead of in front of it – and my family are much the same !!!
    Have the best day and keep those photos coming – I love them !

    1. yinyangmother

      I don’t know how much I’m compensating in taking so many photos/video and I do think our society now is obsessed with recording things for posterity – hey we blog. Of course my children are so beautiful, its hard not to capture them!

  3. kim @ spirited mama

    a number of years ago my daughter’s dad and i were moving and in the process all of my photos – more than 1500 were lost. I don’t know what happened but with it went all the memories on celluloid I wanted to show my daughter of my youth, my grandmother, my father … it hurts when i write about it like now … but those memories and stories are etched into my heart and others just fade and like you said the proof is in the love xxx

    1. yinyangmother

      Kim – so sorry to hear that you lost all those photos. We actually lost heaps of photos and all the video we had taken of adopting our son and the nine months we’d spent living in Canda when we had a break-in (laptop, video camera and still camera all stolen). It really compounded things for me because we had missed the first part of his life. Sorry to have made you feel sad thinking of your loss, but it does help when we realise that the memories and the sense of love stays.

  4. coloursofsunset

    Beautiful post. True love knows no boundaries, and adoption certainly fits that saying I think. How wonderful that your little family has come together. It doesn’t matter HOW, just that it is. Much love to you all xo (stopping by for #teamIBOT)

  5. Pip (@BubSweatTears)

    Beautiful post. Your story of your parenting so far is so unusual and shows me so many angles of parenting that I’ve never seen before. It’s true – every minute of her day for a year and a half while I was a stay-at-home mum has been documented in some way shape or form. I think the thing is it’s a celebration and the fact that they’ll see your compete and utter celebration of their life documented will show them they are surrounded by love.. I love the way you say it’s her story to tell – it is isn’t it.

  6. Have a laugh on me

    Isn’t it amazing what love can do? Your babies look so similar in these photos. To me it’s all about love, it conquers most things, especially from a mother/father to a child. A very special post xx Em x

  7. Trish MLDB

    They are very alike and adorable.
    Our adopted son , though not a secret at – it was just not mentioned to every single acquaintance. It was oft remarked how much he looked like his father and his non biological little brothers , they have some of his quirks and similarities.
    Our adopted son had very few photos of his infancy (13 months old too when adopted) – his foster family didn’t take many either.

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