"And then...they brought us our son."
I will refer to our boy as "N" for the time being.
As we sat waiting in an entrance way, with our luggage stacked by the door, a nanny appeared with a little, 3 year old, grinning, blue-eyed, ball of energy! It is difficult to describe the thoughts and emotions swirling through me at that moment. There were other people there as it is the waiting area for the treatment side of the facility as well. The adults in the room were all smiles, and they were perfectly happy to let their children interact with N.
N's caretakers kept trying to introduce us as "Mama" and "Papa," but N was too busy exploring to care. We had very few things accessible from our luggage, but I pulled out a container of bubbles. I was sure he'd be fascinated with them, but N just thought I was crazy. Why would he sit still and look at soap bubbles when there was a suitcase there? He didn't much care what was *IN* the suitcase as much as he enjoyed playing with the zippers. I just watched and chuckled as he would unzip and zip the suitcase and the outside pocket, over and over again. We grabbed a ball from the ball pit, and he discovered the hilariously fun game of, "throw the ball and watch Daddy go get it!"
It wasn't long before they had to take him away for lunch. He didn't want to leave, but we promised to be back. We dropped off our luggage at our apartment, ate lunch and bought some bananas, cookies and juice to bring to the afternoon visit. When we got back to the orphanage (after only getting slightly lost), we were able to take N outside to play. That was where we discovered the slide. I wasn't entirely sure he could climb the stairs with his cp, so I helped him up. Each time he got settled on a step, I would say, "step" and he would step again. Then, he started repeating after me, "step! step!" and taking steps each time. I loved it. Daddy was catching him at the end. It was a pretty fast little slide and I worried that he would be scared, but he loved it and kept coming back to do it over and over again.
We fed him the banana, and a couple little cookies, and gave him a juice box. He knew was juice was, but has clearly never had it in a box with a straw. Because N has a type of cerebral palsy, it was hard for him to drink the juice, but he sure gave it his best effort. We enjoyed our visit with him, and I began to feel an enormous calm about the situation.
Now, for the way this all came about.
Little N was born in a certain country that has recently banned adoptions by Americans. His parents, however, were not citizens of that country. When he was refused at the hospital, he entered a baby house there. In Eastern Europe, a person's citizenship is not so much based on where they are born, but on the parents' citizenship. There is also a law that states that citizens of other countries cannot be kept in the orphanages of other countries. And so, last year, all the paperwork was completed and little N was brought to this country and this orphanage. I do not know if his parents were from this region, or if he simply went where there was room. But either way, little N was given a chance. Had he remained in the other country, it would have been impossible for him to be adopted. In the year since he has been here, one domestic family came to see him, but could not accept his cp. And then, we came, specifically looking for a child with cp, and through the most excruciating, round-about process, ended up here. No advocacy groups come here. Most kids with special needs get foster families here...but certain disabilities are still very hard to place. The ones people can see with their eyes are the hardest. And so, little N waited. I never could have imagined how this process would unfold, but God knew.
We attend a small branch of our church here, with English speaking missionaries. Last Sunday, a woman introduced herself, and told us that years ago, she placed her grandson for adoption because she could not care for him properly. He was adopted by an American family of our faith. He is now an adult, and is coming back here to serve a two year mission. She was so very proud, and so thankful for his family. She said the same family also adopted another boy who had problems with his legs. His future was pretty grim in this country, but after being adopted, he received two surgeries and is now an impressive hockey player! It's stories like this, and more importantly, the people sharing them, that have stirred my heart and strengthened my faith beyond what I could have imagined.
Where I once felt anguish, I now feel hope....and joy. I cannot publicly show N's face until after court, but this one sums it all up. This was the first time I held out my arms and said, "N, hug Mama?" He thought about it a second, smiled, and ran into my arms. I am so thankful that my husband took this picture. It is my favorite.