Monday, October 10, 2011

How long?

  This past weekend, Ryan and I were a part of a dear friend's wedding.  It was beautiful, nostalgic and joyous.  Many of the wedding party didn't know us and, of course, when a stranger asks us about our family, it goes a little like this:
"Do you have kids?"
"Wow, four?! How old are they?"
"You look so young to have four!"  Here's the part where we have a couple options. We can A. Say, thanks and leave it at that. B. Explain that our two youngest are adopted.  To me, this always feels like a fork in the road.  Do I want to open that Pandora's Box?  Depending on the examiner, the conversation could go a lot of directions from here.  
  The woman quizzing me this weekend, she had small children.  And she followed her question with "Tell me what the orphanage was like."  At this point, I feel time freeze because I really feel like this is pivotal.  I know that our adoption isn't new to us, but to strangers, our story is always new.  I feel really called to the plight of the orphan.  And I know that adoption is not for everyone.  Yet I am plagued with memories of the Home of Hope and I can't walk away from that question.  So this is what I said.
I can't tell you a lot about the Home of Hope.  I can tell you that I believe the nuns did the best that they could with the resources that they had.  The first day that I picked my little boy up, he was being bathed.  On a slab of concrete, with a bucket of cold water and some lard soap.  And then they wanted to feed him before he left, so they shoveled whole sardines into his mouth.  That is how I found my little boy to be surviving.
  This answer is harsh.  It's vivid and jarring and any mother who hears that story is going to take her breath away.  I don't know if it was too much, but I felt like is someone asked such a specific question, I owe it to every other child without a family to give an honest, yet protective answer.  She teared up.  She said her heart broke to think of a child that way.  I teared up too and I always do.  I don't know how long it will be before I don't cry when I am asked about my boys adoption.  I pray, never.

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