Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Birthday, Sweet Baby!

Our foster son turns one on Tuesday and I've been thinking about his mother.  I actually think about her a lot and wonder where she is and what she is thinking.  I want her to know that her son is loved and cared for.  I know she will never read this but I wanted to write her a letter.

To our foster baby's mother.

Your son turns one on Tuesday and I've been thinking about you.  I am a  mother and you are a mother and that gives us a strong bond.  I wonder if you are from a village.  I wonder if you are from the city.  I wonder if I have ever seen you on the streets of our city.  I wonder if you think about your son.
Sometimes I look at your son and I think "Who are you?"  He has a name that was given to him by the orphanage- what was the name that you gave him?  Who is he really?
I wonder what it was like for you.  Did you notice that something was a little off?  Or did you find out what was wrong with him when you took him to the hospital when he was two months?  Did you think that going to the orphanage would give him a better chance?  That maybe he could get some help there?  Or did you just see the hard reality in front of you- that you had a child that could not get help or be educated in this country.  That your son would never be able to take care of you in your old age.  In this country of only children , that is a hard reality.
Most mothers would go down with their children if the ship was sinking.  But somehow you jumped off to save your own life.  I have to believe that you felt desperate.  I choose to believe the best of you.  I believe that your heart aches for your son.
Your son has a condition and it is called Down Syndrome.  It's not contagious or dangerous.  It's a condition that not many people in your country seem to know a lot about.  But your son is not the sum of this condition. He has issues associated with it- low muscle tone for one.  He has some unique physical characteristics like lower set ears and wider set eyes.  He'll learn differently than other children.  Yes, he can learn if he is taught in the right way.
But he is so much more than that.  He is fun and sweet and cuddly.  He loves music.  He loves being held.  When he wakes up in the middle of the night, I love holding his sweet little body.
He loves peas and carrots.  He loves his bottle.  He needs to nap!  He wakes up every morning happy and talking.  He loves our cat.  He loves his Jie Jie.
Things have been hard for your son. He was near death when we got him. He became very small in the orphanage and has some lung damage due to inhaling formula.  We have to watch him closely when he gets a cold.  We spend a lot of time making sure that he is getting enough oxygen.  He spent five days in a hospital because of a pneumonia that led to an oxygen deficit.  We don't want to go there again.
Maybe the most important thing that I want you to know is that we love him.  We love him because he is very lovable.  We love him because he is worthy of being loved.  We love him enough to know that he needs a younger family who can care for him long term.
We are committed to finding him a forever family when the time is right.  For now, we are doing all we can to keep him safe, help him to be healthy.  He has a group of loving people in his life that think he is very special.  His doctor's will come to our house to make sure he is healthy.  Other people will watch him for us so that we can go out occasionally.  Our neighbors ask about him.  He is surrounded by a community of love.
So happy birthday to our sweet baby.  You (and many like you) are truly the boy who lived.  We pray for you and we pray for your mother.  You are a gift in our life.

Ni Hao Y'all


Amy said...

Happy Birthday to a sweet boy that I love even though we have never been able to play or cuddle. You are a blessing to me! I think of how wonderful it is that you are living and thriving even through difficulty and it makes my heart sing!
Sandy, you are a wonderful mom and his mom would be blessed to know how very special her dear son is to many.

prechrswife said...

Wow, what a post! Big (((((hugs))))) to your little one on his first birthday.

Tarasview said...

happy birthday sweet boy!!

Anonymous said...

Wow! He looks great! -Gary

beth said...

Thank you for this glimpse into what you are working through. I think that she appreciates you and would do the same thing if her situation was different. Thanks for sharing this with us and thank you for loving this little guy!

margee said...

I find it hard to swallow with the lump in my throat as I read your post. It truly makes me want to smile and cry at the same time. May you be as blessed as this sweet baby has been blessed to find your tender, caring, competent arms that have embraced him and supported all of his needs. Happy Birthday and loving greetings sent from some dear friends who know your capacity to love.

Pam Terrell said...

Well, you made me cry (although it's not very hard to do). I love reading about him and it thrills me how you guys are being Jesus to him. He is blessed indeed. Happy Birthday!

Deb said...

I found your blog on a link from Jacob and Carrie yesterday, and think I've read it all the way through. What a post to start with! Almost 4 years ago now, we adopted our son from Shenyang. Although he (and his younger sister, also a SN adoption from China) is the light of my world, I think every day about the parents who had to walk away from them when they were babies. My heart just breaks. Such is the reality of adoption: if the world were just, my incredible kids would have stayed with the parents who SHOULD have had the chance to see them grow into the delightful people they are, and I never would have known them. I dont know, and I expect I never will know, exactly why they made the choices they did, but I've chosen to believe it was in the hope that someone would give their children what they couldn't.

How I wish my son had had someone to love him during his orphanage years as you love this little guy! It is such a joy to see him blossom through your photos. What an incredible witness to the power of faith and love your family is living. If your incredible daughter decides she wants to check out SDSU in Brookings, SD, let me know-- I'd be honored to show her around!

Finally, Thank You, from the very bottom of my heart, for this glimpse into life in my son's home city. We were there in December, and it was so bitterly cold we didnt get to see much. I do remember that statue of Chairman Mao, though, since it was in the circle right outside our hotel!

Walking to China said...

Thank you, Debbie. That just brought a tear to my eye. It's thrilling to know that some children from our city have found homes.
The foster care movement is growing here. A family is a much healthier place for children than in a group setting. Pray for the foster parents and for those who are working to set up this program in a more official way.

Sarah@EmergingMummy said...

Happy, happy birthday to a much beloeved boy with familiy all around the world! And your letter is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.