the counted

February 25, 2013 adoption realities, Chinese Culture, Kelly 3 Comments

Forever changed by the experience of being adopted and adopting, Kelly Raudenbush is a stay-at-home mom to 4 children and a professional juggler, juggling her calling as wife and mother with her secondary callings (editing professionally and serving adoptive families through The Sparrow Fund). You can learn more about their adoption story, how they’ve been changed, and what life for them looks like as they seek to serve God and others on Kelly’s personal blog My Overthinking.

I’m a reader more than I am a writer. The stories from China I likely will never see — they draw me in, show me things in a new way. Some make me wonder; some make me laugh. And, sometimes, my casual blog reading while I sip on my morning coffee makes me pause and somehow changes the way I see things. Sometimes, they change me.

He’s a Western doctor in a very Eastern hospital. On one particular day, he witnessed something that didn’t seem all that unusual at first. About once a week, a group of people will come in, angry and looking for someone to blame. There’s yelling, a big scene, police come; 30 minutes later, it’s business as usual. A ½ hour malpractice suit, and then it’s over.

But, on this day, it didn’t end so simply. The protestors numbered 60 people, and the yelling turned to physical fighting. Their passion and grievance turned to blood — all over a baby.

Their baby had been born that day, a baby who no doubt held many dreams. And, he was born without an arm. They shed tears, raised their fists, and demanded compensation, yelling, “How can our baby live without an arm?” Unlike every other riot like this, they were actually protesting a life, not a death.

This baby would be nearly 2 years old now. I wonder where he is and what his life is like. I wonder if he is hidden away by a family ashamed and afraid. I wonder if he is well cared for or served resentfully. Does he live still with the family who protested on his birthday or does he live with another? I wonder if he is a big brother now to a “more whole” child. He lives in a place where children like him labeled as “severely handicapped” don’t count. With a signature from one of those doctors, his family would have been granted permission to break the one-child policy. When a family has a child severely disabled, they are given a free pass to try again. And, that precious child, their first born, no longer counts. They are zero, do not exist. Even in perhaps the darkest time in U.S. history, African slaves counted as 3/5 of a person.

The way I see it, the birth families of children like this precious baby are faced with a decision I cannot fathom — very simply put, (a) keep their child and raise him or her in a place with no acceptance of a special need, where he or she will always be looked at as crippled and unable or (b) let their child go to maybe, just maybe, go on to count somewhere else.

I look around at my blogroll, at the families I now call friends 3 years into this adoption adventure. I look at the pictures of their sweet babies and silly children, read the stories of funny things they say and the trouble they get themselves into. They so much more than count.

3 responses to “the counted”

  1. Stefanie says:

    You have so much wisdom, Kelly (maybe all that *overthinking* you do ;)) and I am so grateful that you’re going to share it regularly with us here on No Hands But Ours.

  2. Christine says:

    Sadly true, but beautifully expressed. My thoughts exactly when I look at my daughters hand. I am grateful to be her mother now, but my mind still wanders to the birth-parents before me and their struggle between love and culture. Thank you for your insights…always!

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