There are some things you read and they wreck you. Forever. Sometime before we were matched with our first son, Titus, I read this story about a baby girl found abandoned at a park and the lengthy note left by her heart-wrenched parents. And it cut to the very core of my mama's heart. We had lived in China and knew in theory why children with special needs were abandoned. (See my post here for more information.) But for the first time, as I bawled through these heart-broken parents' letter, I caught a glimmer of the other side of abandonment. The thousands of tears, the cripplingly guilt, the agonizing pain. And, for the first time, a horrific question took root in my mind that to this day I cannot honestly answer: "If I were in this same situation, could I selflessly give up my precious child, knowing it was the only way to maybe save her life?"
I've thought about these grief-stricken parents so much these past two years, just as I think about our sons' birth parents. My mind cannot help but add flesh to these bare facts and my heart cannot help but to grieve for their profound loss. I've replayed their story a thousand times in my head, imagining the months, days, and moments leading up to them placing their precious daughter in a garden to be found.
Please understand, I am not trying in any way to embellish an orphan's story or create a romanticized account of what happened to this precious girl or any other children abandoned. We strive to only tell our sons the facts we know about their stories. Period. Also, I am in no what saying I know what happened or understand these or any other parents' heartache. I just think that if we can pull back the curtain and put ourselves in their story, our hearts will break with compassion and empathy.
Now, let me ask you one question as you read this fictional account based on a real note left: "How will you make sure that these and thousand of other heart-broken parents' sacrifice does not go in vain?" May your compassion turn into courage: to adopt. To support others who adopt. To give to organizations that help preserve family units. And above all, to pray, that families will be able to stay together, that children in orphanage will have forever families, and that hearts who have been broken by inexplicable loss will somehow be healed.
"It must be tonight," my husband softly whispered to me.
"Why tonight?" My eyes and heart pleaded.
"It's the warmest night of the week. We've talked about this. We've waited. The medicine is running low. It has to be tonight." I could see tears form in his eyes too.
I wanted to be angry with him. I wanted to yell at him, "No!" But I knew he was right. I knew he wanted to do what was best for our baby girl. Just like me.
"Let's let her sleep a little longer. We can have dinner, give her a bottle, and then..." I couldn't finish the sentence. I couldn't even let my mind finish the sentence, think about what tonight would hold for us all.
My dark-haired, dark-eyed son sticks out in our otherwise light-haired, blue-eyed family. So, we can attract a little attention and just a few questions in the grocery store checkout line or our neighborhood park. Usually the questions range from “Where is your son from?” to “Is he adopted?” or something along those lines.
As long as the question is asked politely, I don’t mind sharing that yes, he is adopted from China. The follow up question to this is most likely, “Why did you adopt from China?” A good question and the usual answer of “Because we used to live there” was enough to satisfy many people’s curiosity of our mismatched and beautifully-created family.
Some will prod further and asked where in China we lived, to which until last month I would say, “A big city most people have never heard of, somewhere close to Shanghai.” (Which is like saying North Carolina is close to Florida!) Now, however, I just open my mouth and say,
You’d think I just said “Mars” the way most people have looked at me this month as I uttered that once heart-warming word. Because, for me, “Wuhan” is home, my China home. We lived there for two years and have gone back to visit whenever we can. But most people don’t know “my” Wuhan. They only know the HazMat suits and masked-faced crowds Wuhan. The hospitals-built-in-ten-days-and-teeming-with-people Wuhan. The “dirty”-wet-market Wuhan. And whatever-else-is-floating-around-on-social-media Wuhan.