Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My experiences with Adoption......

are few but with a recent reminder of them, I decided to share.

Natsume

The first was when I was in Hiroshima, Japan as a missionary. My companion and I would go to the local orphanage once a week and play with the babies and toddlers. They were housed in a very large room, maybe half the size of a basketball court. There were lined up cribs and beds, an area for children to play, and rooms to quarantine sick kids. There were maybe around 10 babies and at least that many pre school age kids that were usually away in activities or school. Two of the orphans I remember vividly was one covered in eczema and how I felt so sorry for him and the second was Natsume. I was drawn to her and like many of the babies, they just wanted to be held. She was 9 months old and I would hold her every week.

Orphanages in Japan are kept secret. In fact, many Japanese people including some in my own family were unaware of them and in fact flat out denied the existence of them. Koji is the word for orphan. It is impolite to use that word. And many of the kids at the orphanage actually have parents who come to visit them but are unable to take them home for reasons such as financial or medical conditions. In fact I remember one day when the father of one of the little boys came to visit him and the little boy cried and cried when he left. I can't imagine the hurt that little boy was experiencing and I was pained for him. One of the workers patted his back while he lay crying, maybe even screaming.

Well, over the weeks of visiting the kids, I became quite attached to Natsume. I did manage to snap a picture of her before I was told that was a no, no. I may get a scanner soon to be able to share the picture. After my return to America I inquired of her. A friend who went back to inquire of her for me said that Natsume has parents and is not available for adoption. And that was the end of that. She would be around 9 years old today.

Baby Angel

Maybe a year after I met Natsume I met "baby Angel." My mom was watching the news one day and heard about this baby who was found next to a dumpster. Someone had heard crying and checked it out. He was just a newborn. Being a foster parent, my mom thought "I hope they call me to take him." A couple weeks later he was brought to our home. While the paper work was filled out, I held him, for 2 hours. I didn't move. He had a terrible diaper rash from not being bathed properly.

Every night I would get up to feed him. And we bonded quite well. In fact, when I left to return to school, he cried and cried that night. He was about 4 months old and my parents could not console him. This was the happiest, most grateful little thing. He NEVER cried. When he was hungry he grunted. Perhaps that night, since my parents weren't use to getting up in the middle of the night, they didn't hear the grunting noises that would wake me every time that signaled his hunger. I don't know. But I know babies are more aware than people give them credit for.

In fact he was left to respite care for a week while my mom and I traveled to Utah. When we picked him up, tears rolled down his face, no noise or wimpers, just free flowing tears. His hair was completely matted and tangled up. The lady was an older lady with health problems and apologized for not being able to pick him up. I was really, really sad and pretty sure he was upset with us.

He was adopted at 7 months by a family he fit right into. He weighed 27 lbs. at 7 months. His adoptive father was very tall and looked just like him. I think he was really happy and felt right at home with them when they picked him up from our house. His sister who was probably in her early 20s was absolutely gorgeous and the mother was a nurse. And I just felt really happy for him. I was lucky to be there (perhaps on break from school and I think Chris was with me). He would be around 8 years old today.

Moses

Was around 5 when we met him. He was one of a few siblings who my mom took in. He was smart, well behaved, quick to obey, and in fact sought to be loved therefore quick to please and impress. Chris absolutely adored this kid and talked often about adopting him. K was a toddler when I inquired about adopting Moses. However, the agency was adamant about keeping the siblings together. We were just students living in apartments and that was out of the question. They were finally adopted. (Moses would maybe 10 years old today).

LDS family Services

While an intern there, I had the opportunity to sit in the exchange of a child. The mother of this particular baby could not take care him. She already had one child, the older sibling. Words and gifts were shared in a short meeting between the mother and the adoptive parents before they went separate ways. I was the last to leave, shutting the door behind me to give the new parents a moment with their newborn.

The last thing I saw was the father break down in a silent burst of tears. I lost my breath. What a happy moment. And what a relief it must have been to finally be through all the stress and possibility of it not going through. I have no idea how long this couple waited for this moment. They weren't a young couple and I speculate it was not an easy process.

So there you have it. I'm obviously open to adopting in my life. I've never had the desire to adopt just to have more kids or to take in unwanted ones or a certain child of a certain ethnicity but I have had the desire to take in kids that have been in my life and that I have known for a while and have fallen for.

6 comments:

Emily said...

I remember Na-chan! i have to sweetest picture of you two together... you totally wanted to take her home with you...

i felt bad leaving those kids in there every week :(

ang said...

that was a very sweet post. thanks for sharing.

Jessica Hughes said...

Thanks for sharing the post I remember moses and baby angel and sooo happy to hear theyfound love witha family. So great!!

Mom said...

I am in tears. You can do it. Your child(and children) is my grand child( and children). The right opportunity comes and you and your husband feel that is right, then you should do it. I will support that.

jkziel said...

sweet post!

I love adoption, my 2 younger brothers are adopted, my parents were their foster parents first.

CUTRER said...

With Paul being adopted is close to our harts. I would love to but sometimes I think it brings up sadness, he had a great family but would he would have liked to know about where he came from and what they look like. I loved you post.