Thursday, May 30, 2013
On the wall to the left of my desk, I tape pictures of Elijah. They have been there for about two years, and I add pictures whenever I am lucky enough to get another. I keep them up to remind myself to pray for him and to advocate for him.
As if I need the reminder.
Looking at his face just makes me smile--not unlike the faces of my other children. I feel like Elijah is "mine" in a way I can't describe to anyone. He's not mine through birth or adoption; we've only met once, yet I love him.
Last August, right before Elijah turned 6, he left his foster home for a few weeks in order to undergo surgery and casting for his club foot. What he did not know was that he wouldn't return. He was transferred to a different foster home. His foster parents were not informed about this in advance either, and were shocked and saddened when they got the news. The couple's son, Paul, and Elijah had become best friends and felt like brothers. They didn't get to say goodbye, either.
Luckily, Elijah ended up going to a wonderful group home for kids with special needs, called An Orphan's Wish. John and I found him through some detective work, and some good friends' connections. We were able to become one of his sponsors.
So, even though his day-to-day life and all he knew and loved were abruptly taken away from him, at least we knew where he was. I could forward news and pictures on to his former foster parents. We could keep track of his life.
I can't stress enough how awful disruption is for young kids. It makes kids learn to not trust, to not love too deeply because you never know when those people are going to disappear from your life.
It makes you hyper-vigalent, looking for signs and clues that another change might be coming. Because no one told you about the last big moves in your life, there might be another one around the corner.
It causes learned helplessness. Because you don't feel any control over your own life. A "why bother" attitude develops over time, a depression.
If you are lucky enough to get placed in a family, it is so very hard to believe that this is forever. It is so very hard to let yourself trust and love, after losing loved ones so many times before. It's easier to push people away before they push you away or leave you; that way, you never have to risk getting hurt.
An Orphan's Wish recently announced that due to political and social pressure against foreign-supported foster group homes, it is closing.
Elijah will be moving again.
We are just heartbroken for him.
It brings up again all of the frustration and anger about the fact that we have wanted him for so very long and he is still without a family.
Our only consolation right now is that there is a very small chance that he will be allowed to go back to his former foster parents, the ones who were so very devastated to lose him a year ago .
Will you pray for that with me?
Another tiny glimmer of hope is that our adoption agency directors are visiting China right now, and are requesting that Elijah's file be assigned to them. Then, we would be able to adopt him. As of now, he has not been matched through the Italian adoption agency that has a one-to-one agreement with his orphanage. These requests are not always granted, but it cannot hurt to ask…
Even as we are jumping up and down in excitement about meeting Christopher in just two weeks, we are saddened by the thought of our other little boy, about to be moved again. We wonder if he knows that he is moving. Have some of his friends already left? Does he just feel the tension in the air? Kids are so intuitive. Especially ones from "hard places."
Even as we plan my trip to China to bring home our baby boy, we keep completing the paperwork for another older boy's adoption. Its a huge leap of faith; our agency has stressed again and again that this will probably not happen.
But, if a miracle occurs, we want to be prepared.