Thursday, July 4, 2013
Transformations in China
I ran out of time to post about the amazing transformations that Christopher made while we were still in China. And, believe me, he has made even more strides since he has been home.
One very cool thing about adopting kids out of orphan care is that you get to see them go through the usual developmental milestones but at mega-speed.
Christopher spent most of his life in his crib or in a baby walker. When I first met him, he was most comfortable being held or lying flat on his back.
He wasn't putting weight on his legs and his trunk muscles were weak. He would flop over easily when sitting in the tripod position. I am sure there is a huge range, but I have read that kids can master this by 10 months of age, often much sooner (Christopher is 14 months old).
By Day 3 with me, he could sit up steadily.
By Day 4, he was putting weight on his legs, with me holding him up. And boy was he proud of himself.
He also starting crawling and climbing all over the place. When I first brought him to the hotel, he was afraid to leave his spot on the floor. Part of this might have been because he didn't know me and the hotel room was unfamiliar. But, I also think he had never been given the freedom to move around.
I got down on all fours and demonstrated that it is okay for him to go wherever he wanted. No, I do not have any pictures of me doing this - LOL!
Christopher quickly got the idea, and starting crawling everywhere. At first, doing the "army crawl" and, after me first helping him pick up his trunk and putting the pressure on his knees and outstretched arms, then he started the typical crawl.
And the he started getting into everything!
And then, when I was looking away for a moment, he pulled himself up! Crazy!
And he was so happy when I cheered for him. Melts my heart.
By the end of our trip, he had started 'walking' while I held his arms.
I truly believe that the caretakers at Christopher's orphanage loved him and did the best they could. But nothing can beat the love and encouragement and time that a family can give a kid. I just wish that all those who criticize international adoption could witness this kind of miracle (or this much more dramatic example).
Yes, in a perfect world, it would be better if all kids could stay with their birth families; yes, it would be best if kids could stay in their birth countries. But, right now in certain regions, kids with disabilities or differences -- for so many complicated reasons (some legitimate; some not IMHO) -- just do not get a fair shot or the acceptance they need to thrive.
Until they are wanted and treasured in their own countries -- or until those countries' policies change in ways that support and encourage parenting kids with special needs -- I just cannot concede that international adoption is bad.
Just look at him!