Monday, June 10, 2013

Updated photos of Christopher

Yesterday, we received 2 more pictures of Christopher and his measurements.  

He is about 18 pounds at 13 months, so he is small but not terribly so, considering he is living in a poor orphanage right now.

He looks sad in all but one of the pictures we have of him.  It makes this last week of waiting almost unbearable. I feel like he needs a mama right now, and I can't wait to get to him to show him what unconditional love is.

We also noticed that we have not received a picture of Christopher in which he is being held by a caretaker, or ayi.  Perhaps this is just the way they wanted to stage the pictures, or the orphanage assumed that we only wanted to see him…but still, I worry about this.  Is he bonding with anyone?  Does he have anyone who looks into his eyes and whispers into his ear?  I hope so.

I worry because both Nicholas' and Ellie's referral pictures gave me a pretty accurate idea of their true situations and personalities.  I got an intuitive feeling about them from the photos I received -- and as much as you can't necessarily trust a few photos -- in both of our adoptions, my perceptions were correct:

Nicholas looks mischievous here, doesn't he?  

And he was (and is!)
I also assumed he was smart -- he has a certain twinkle in his eyes that tell me he "gets it."  I was right on the money.

I could also tell that he was a bit neglected, from his surroundings in the photos.  I was right about that, too.  His foster parents tried their very best to give him everything they could, but they were taking care of a lot of children with inadequate support.  

And Nicholas indeed has shown us that he was neglected, and needed to learn a lot of trust and attachment.  He was also globally-delayed and had some catching up to do in terms of speech and sensory integration.  Now, I am so proud to say, he is doing so very well now.

I could see from Ellie's referral pictures that she was smart, content, and well cared for.  She is in clean clothes that fit (not always the case for orphans), in clean surroundings, and sitting in a new-looking chair.

In almost every picture over the age of 6 months or so, she is smiling.  And being loved on.  I assumed she would attach easily, as she probably already knew what  is was like to trust and to be adored.

Christopher's pictures leave me with the feeling that he is sad, a little neglected, a little lonely.  I hope I am wrong, and that he is just one of those kids who won't cooperate with a photographer to save his life. I have to remember how Olivia -- our first child, adored from the moment we discovered we had conceived -- scowled in all of her baby pictures!

I am sure that part of my concern is due to the fact that I recently heard a talk about special needs adoption in which the moderator spoke about the treatment of her son in orphan care due to his limb difference.  She spoke about how in some parts of China and some other countries limb differences are considered especially taboo.  They are sometimes considered to be bad omens, or part of a family curse.  Often, the caretakers themselves will stay away from children with limb differences, or even separate them from other children.  Supposedly, this is true even more for missing fingers, toes, arms, or legs, than it is for other special needs.

With this in my mind, I suppose it is hard to look at any of Christopher's pictures with an open mind.  I know that historically this time -- the days before I travel -- have been my "freak out" time.  It is finally dawning on me that I am going to be meeting another human being and bringing him home with me!  Worlds are colliding, and it is so wonderful but also scary.

Praying I can sleep during the next few anxious days, and that my baby boy is safe and that his heart is prepared to meet his new mama.

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