What Etienne's Mama saw:
So many kids and so few adults! The orphanage was filled with kids of all sizes running around, half dressed and half fed. Those sweet sisters, they are doing the best with what they have, but the smell of diapers is overwhelming. There isn't any crying. Then I see a child fall off a concrete wall, into a ditch, and hit her head. No tears because there isn't anyone to wipe them away. It is loud and hectic and heartbreaking. My beautiful boy needs held, scrubbed, kissed. I need to teach him how to wear shoes, how to leave them on. How to walk with us and not run away to climb, jump, punch and touch everything he sees. My heart is breaking with joy and with sadness but now he can come home to his family.
What Etienne saw for 3years:
I share a room with all my buddies. I roll over, and there is a playmate. I wake up and I can run. I scream, climb, jump, tackle, wrestle, skip and yell a little louder. It doesn't really matter how much clothing I wear because it isn't cold and nobody cares. Being clean is relative; pottying my pants isn't a big deal because my pants already have potty in them anyway. All day long, there are lots of friends around. I LOVE all the other kids laughing at me; friends are around to cheer me on, do what I tell them, when I tell them. All I do is to play all day! When I fall, I pick yourself up and run a little harder.
Then one day, some people come and hug and kiss me and cry a lot. They visit and bring toys. After a few days of playing, they take me with them. At first, it's exciting. Pepperoni pizza! So much to see and hear and touch! But than, I don't get to go back to my friends. All of a sudden, I am sleeping in a small, quiet, dark room. There are only a few people around. The new place has a roof and walls. Lots of things I can't do and not a lot of noise. Not too many kids around to laugh at me. There are baths, forks, unlimited water to drink and too many things. I lost my friends. My roommates. I was the boss and now I am not in charge. I lost the only home I knew.
So what kind of mama would I be if I expected my beautiful boy to jump into his new life with ease?
I have come to decide that adopting a child is a little like marriage. You have to get to know someone and it takes time. My E and I are still getting to know each other. And I am realizing, this far out from our Gotcha Day, that E lost his world when he gained his family.