About one month ago, a TERRIFIED toddler waddled into my arms in the civil affairs office in Taiyuan. Luke and I had a really rough start. From where I stand now, it's hard to remember where we were a month ago but this blog is a good reminder to what I was feeling and experiencing.
That first day with Luke was terrifying for me. I'll be a bit more honest now than I was while in country because I was trying to tread lightly to ensure I could get out of the country without incident. Luke was given a fairly vague yet possibly very serious special need on our medical paperwork we got before we accepted his referral. We prayed and sought council from doctors regarding the limited data we had and felt confident that we should go forward with adopting this little boy. With international adoptions, you are sometimes given a lab report, a small growth report and a few pictures and you're asked to make a decision to adopt with so little information. When you ask further questions, sometimes you get answers and sometimes you don't. So with Luke, we asked for more information and literally tried for months to get some specific answers that never came so in the end had to make a decision to adopt him by faith alone. He could either be "fine" or have some serious special needs. So with that background information, fast forward to gotcha day and I was handed a terrified little boy who was showing signs of some serious special needs which I now realize were just symptoms of trauma. For instance, being unresponsive to movements, not tracking with his eyes and a generally weak blob of a kid was mostly all just trauma. So I'll be honest and say I had a bit of a panicked moment there those first few days.... some might call it an 'Oh NO, what have I done' moment.
So fast forward to a month and Luke is a happy, toddling, rascally two year old. He's messing, pulling things off my desk, ripping important papers, trying to turn on the stove and all sorts of 'normal' two year old activities. He's been to numerous doctors since he's been home. He's got a few issues he needs to work on and some overall delays physically but everyone has agreed they are from lack of exposure and he should have no problem catching up in his own time.
We've made a lot of progress since last month. While in China he hated to take a bath but now he begs for a bath and has a blast. He couldn't walk more than three steps without holding on to someone without falling over and now he can toddle across a room before face planting. He has tried so many new foods. He's drinking from a straw cup like a champ. He now seems to love all his siblings, not just Abby (although she still is his favorite person). He has learned tons of new words. He smiles most of the day and especially loves fart noises (he's such a boy).
Before I set out on this journey, it was clear to me that I should be a bit more open and public with my journey to Luke than I had been previously. One of you readers needs to know what it is really like to adopt a child. Maybe just maybe, one family will step out and save a child. So I hope my honesty in knowing that adoption is NOT easy at all but there is hope for healing and restoration when a child comes into a loving, stable home has made you consider adopting. Luke's an amazing kid and he deserves to have a family who will love him and who can give him opportunities to grow. Sadly, there are SO many kids still left in those orphanages. I can't adopt them all. There is no hope for a child left in an orphanage. Russ and I are happy to mentor families who are considering adopting. Please reach out to us if you feel like there is room in your hearts for one more.
Here's some pics from this month: