“Sometimes I wonder whether teaching my daughters about the animals of the Chinese Zodiac will help them thrive as Asian girls living in 21st-century America.”
By Jeff Gammage
Jin Yu is seven now, and lately she’s been telling me she wants to go and visit her nannies, the women who cared for her at the orphanage in China. Not so much for herself, she says, but for them. Because she is sure they must miss her and wonder how she’s doing. I promise we will try to go. “They are going to be so surprised!” she tells me.
I hope so. But the turnover in Chinese orphanages can be steep. Low pay and 24-hour shifts are not strong inducements for tenure. A friend recently sent photos from the orphanage in Xiangtan, where my daughter spent her first two years, and I didn’t see one nanny I recognized. There’s every chance that by the time Jin Yu returns, everyone who might remember her will be gone….