Six years ago we moved to China. I was so overwhelmed trying to make sense of everything I was experiencing that I just had to write it down. I needed an outlet. I emailed my jottings to many of my family and friends, and they graciously replied that they enjoyed my writing. Some of them even suggested that I write a book.
Well, I did. And I sent it off to New York City with high hopes. But it was continually rejected, for months, which then became years. But last summer I received an email that a publisher was interested. Overlook Press accepted it, and I’m happy to announce, that Home is a Roof Over a Pig: An American Family’s Journey in China, is released today.
In honor of Home is a Roof’s Publication Day, here’s an excerpt of the first page. Enjoy!
The Chinese writer Zhang Ailing said that every butterfly is a dead flower flying back to look for her lost life.
Perhaps that explains why I found myself arriving in China with a husband, three children, nineteen pieces of luggage, and a contract to teach at a local university. Three years before, my husband Chris and I had traveled to one of China’s poorer provinces to adopt a beautiful baby girl. We named her Grace Amelie—her middle name French like her older sister’s, her given name Grace because she was a heaven-sent gift. But as we finished up the paperwork and prepared to fly home, something began to nag at me.
It started at the hotel, when we took off her layers of clothes and the rag that served as a diaper, and replaced them with the cutest outfit we had brought with us and a fresh Pampers. For I knew I was changing her. And I was changing her yet again when I gave her her first bath, put her in a high chair, and babbled to her in English. It nagged at me when we boarded the airplane, landed her on U.S. soil, and happily told her she was now an American. For even though we were giving her a family and a place to belong, I knew I was changing her identity. And she was losing something.
Yes, the truth was, I had come to China, in part, looking for the life my daughter had lost.