Thursday, December 20, 2012

Saying Goodbye

I want to use this post to answer some of the questions people have been asking.
People have asked what disabilities Eyann has:  Eyann was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.  Keith and I were not sure where she would be developmentally, because her medical reports were quite vague and somewhat contradicting.  We can tell you now that she seems to be a very bright little girl.  The guides have all said she is very “clear”; that she communicates very well.  For being five years old, she has learned quickly how to show us what she wants when she is not able to tell us.  That takes some major skill and patience.  I know, because as an adult in this foreign country, I had a hard time just asking for coffee this morning.  I often feel like it is easier to just not ask at all.
Eyann has some difficulty with her right hand.  She uses it most to hold things, while using the other to do what she needs to do.  For instance, she will hold her sucker (yes, she has requested lots of candy) in the right hand but uses her left hand to open it.  She has learned to get dressed mostly with one hand;  including putting on her shoes.  While it is difficult for her to use that hand, she does not let it at all limit what she can do.  The orphanage guide told us today that had she not been given a diagnosis, she would have been adopted long ago.  I am thankful that her diagnosis means that Keith and I have been given the opportunity to parent her, but it makes me sad to know that she had to wait this long.

You have also asked about her foster “mama and baba”.  We went to the orphanage today, and it is actually a very nice place.  They recently moved to a new (huge) building, and because she has had a more difficult time with basic daily skills, they placed her in an apartment attached to the orphanage where foster parents are assigned five children each.  The apartment is small, but was very clean and welcoming.  We met the foster parents and her four “siblings” and could tell that the kids in her “family” were very well taken care of. 

I really left this place questioning if what Keith and I were doing was best for Eyann.  It seems it would be easier to recognize this as a good thing if I knew that she was obviously lacking care and food.  We just took her from the place she wants to be most.  Her foster mama was crying because she was leaving, I was crying that I was taking her. 

It was then that the guide said that the kids in these foster families are constantly having to accept change; as the foster parents usually only stay for two to three years.  Over the course of Eyann’s lifetime, she would have had to endure this heartbreaking change every time her foster parents left and new ones came in.  These parents, the ones she calls Mama and Baba right now, are her second set since she went into the foster apartments.  She has been with this particular set of parents, though, since she was two years old, and they are probably all she can remember.  The guide also said that her “siblings” constantly change, and even as we spoke, one of her “sisters” was preparing to go to Italy the next week to be adopted by a family there.  The guide reminded us that our taking her is giving Eyann a chance for a “forever family” where the siblings and parents stay constant for her lifetime.  I recognize that as a good thing, but it is still really difficult to see her go through this sad, sad time; knowing that we are partially at fault for her pain.
We were also told that the kids in China are usually adoptable until age five, and then they are usually taken off the adoption list.  Sometimes, very rarely, kids will be adopted up until the age of fourteen  but at fourteen, it is made impossible for them to be adopted.  I'm not sure what that looks like, exactly, that is just what we were told.  The kids that are not adopted can stay in the orphanage until they have finished high school, at which time they can go through the process of looking for employment.  We were told that their chances of finding a job outside of the orphanage are very low.  Often, their only chance at “making it” is to stay in the orphanage as nannies for the younger children.  Right now, I have to take some comfort in knowing that her adoption will give her a chance to be whatever she wants to be when she gets older.  I believe that with her determination, which is very obvious already, she will accomplish whatever she wants to do and will become whoever she wants to be, and we pray that what we are doing is giving her that chance.    

Keith's birthday was today, (it still is today for all of you), so if you think of it, wish him a happy birthday.  We didn't realize it was his birthday until about 5 'o' clock tonight, with all that is going on, but someone remembered (not sure who) and had the hotel staff bring him a cake.  That was a happy ending to a really emotional day.  Thanks, whoever you happen to be....??

No comments:

Post a Comment