I've been reading the same story that I am sure much of the Chinese adoptive community has this week. It is not a pretty story of ladybugs and red threads. It is ugly. Woman goes to China for her healthy bouncing baby girl and is greeting by one very sick little child. She make a gut wrenching decision not to parent the child. Things aren't handled all that well and woman returns home empty handed...mad and sad. Child is left in China, future uncertain.
I wasn't planning on publically commenting on this story. I had planned to go on with adorable pictures of my lovely brood and snarky cul-de-sac commentary of life at preschool and perhaps tossing in light fanfare about how my 17month old is suddenly not a baby anymore...she's all about the toddler trouble these days. (Stop by again to see knive throwing toddler style.)
But, I can't. In the last few days I've dreamt I went to Guatemala and adopted a sick little boy. I've been at the grocery store staring at Livi with her runny nose and grubby hands tearing up just because I love her so much. The check out man had to ask me if I was ok. Yes, one of those days I carelessly told him as I whipped out my Visa. I won this adoption lottery was all I could callously think. Who knows what tomorrow will bring but today I won. I admit it, I thought that.
This isn't how life always turns out though. I know this first hand, being a young cancer survivor. I know what it feels like to have a baby die inside of your rotten un-working body after IVF. (How's that for ladybuggy fare?) I'm not completely unaware of how life sometimes deals bent ugly cards to normal nice folks to make them stop in their tracks and take stock in how fragile life really is. One minute you are walking along with your head in the clouds, the next you are sitting on a gurney looking at pasty white guys in white lab coats...hoping for more. Or staring at a govennment official who has all the power in asking for life's greatest favor...knowing full well you will not be obliged.
I personally know a family that could not take a child home with them upon meeting her in China. They were granted to gift of a little girl called C. 1 week later in China. I was admittedly horrified upon hearing this story from the mother the first time. It stopped me in my tracks much like the story I've been reading this week. But you know what? They are nice people. They aren't bullies, they aren't unfeeling, they aren't even self rightous, they had to make a choice for their family. I have no idea what choice I would have made if I'd been in the same position. I'd like to think I'd know what choice...but I don't...since I haven't lived it.
My thoughts this week are with the families that have to make gut wrenching decisions about parenting whether adopted or biological. I hope I have the courage to never judge them harshly for their decisions. Right or wrong, here or there.
In the mean time I hope adoptive parents are more educated through this process of learning about this story. I hope they expect that there will be bumps in the road, and when things turn up all rosy and ladybuggy they are pleasantly surprised. I hope they are committed to knowing that every adoption is in some ways a special needs adoption. Yes, I do believe that every adoption is in some way special needs. Being ever vigilant about watching your adopted child for signs of needed help and intervention is in its own way...a special need.
We will be back to our regularly scheduled girlie antics and the mother following along with bad roots and a sore back soon. All this after a short breath to reflect on life's ability to bring a breathtaking course of pain and doll out intermittent jogs of exhaulted joy all in one journey.