My post is late. My brain feels like mush much of the time.
Life is just plain hard right now. For many reasons.
I have really struggled with this post. Even going back and forth on a possible topic.
I thought it was going to be about foster care. Then attachment. Then our new normal at 10 weeks home.
But no. None of that. Not this month anyway.
Our “baby boy” as he loves to be called is 6, almost 7.
On paper. He became someone’s baby boy—our baby boy—at 5 years, 18 days old. He is but 23 months old in our family … as our son … and in many ways, I see a 22-month-old in him.
August 2006, a visiting American wrote this about our son, who was 14 months old at the time:
There were two special needs babies there. One was a little boy—cleft lip and palate—both unrepaired. He was tiny and had obviously not been thriving. However he blossomed under attention. …What was hard to witness—even though we knew it to be true before we went—was seeing the special needs kids ignored. They were never picked up that we saw and we were even discouraged from picking them up at first. Very hard to take. I think they were a little shocked at our interest in these children. On our team was a family that had adopted a CL/CP boy and when they showed before photos of him to the nannies, and then they could witness how great he looked after, they were amazed. They had no plans to get surgeries for either of these kids. I think access to healthcare there is a big issue.
Please excuse me while I piece back together my shattered heart.
How could anyone do that to a precious baby? Our BABY BOY—truly a baby at that time. Just 14 months old and “ignored” because he had special needs.
And how do I lay to rest the fact this little boy who with cleft lip and palate is now our precious son was IGNORED, never picked up one single time by the caregivers who were the only care he had when no one else was there?
Never picked up.
Shocked that anyone is interested in him.
How have I missed this all along?
I say a lot that “he seems to have been loved.”
But honestly, I now wonder as I notice the little things that are not so little. And then I read this, and I’ve talked to some of the people who were on that team. And they saw it with their own eyes.
I had formed an ideal of his reality in my mind. I’m not sure why. I guess I wanted it to be so, but that doesn’t make it so.
I had read this account above before, but lately, I’ve been seeing things in him, things that point to past neglect … at best. So I’ve been rethinking my earlier thoughts that our “baby boy” was unconditionally loved.
How could I, a seasoned adoptive parent, have been so naïve? So unaware of what was right in front of me?
He is such a precious and loving soul.
And he is so very tenderhearted. Just today out of the blue, he said, “I wub you so much, Mommy!” and came over to wrap his arms tightly around my neck.
He knows he belongs now. He knows food is always available.
He knows he doesn’t have to hover over his plate, averting his eyes to the left and to the right, protecting it like a animal protects his freshly killed prey.
He knows no one will take it from him. He knows he will not go to bed hungry.
I have never seen a child of 5 eat like an animal until we brought our baby home.
He weighed just 24 pounds when we met him in China. He had just turned 5 years old. His age is not off, or at least not by more than a few days, because we have photos and video of him from as early as when he was one. He looks about one, so I know he was around 5 when we met him.
And he weighed 24 pounds. He was skin and bones as they say. He is not now.
How do I reconcile it though? How do I accept that he was treated with disdain? IGNORED?
How do I get over that? I know I can’t.
My heart is broken right now over it. Why did he have to wait so long in those conditions? Why could we not have found him sooner? Why, why, why?
It is so unfair. And it makes me more than a little angry.