But we don’t know his beginning, do we? We weren’t there.
Once upon a time, a beautiful, healthy baby boy was born to (no reason to think otherwise) loving parents in China. On that very same day, on the other side of the world, my first niece was celebrating her second birthday. The wildest of imaginations could not have concocted the storyline that would someday bring that boy to join the grandkid lineup she started. She was my parents’ grandchild #1. He will be #18, though he’s older than most of his future cousins, and older than all his own future siblings but one.
It is possible he wasn’t healthy on that day he was born. We haven’t heard when the first signs of epilepsy appeared. But it was his own mother who weaned him. It was his own Dad who held his hand when he learned to walk. He left for his first day of school saying good-bye to his own parents.
Then Dad died. Grandfather had passed, too.
And Mom left.
Her six-year old son had no idea she would never come home.
Eventually, desperation––or hunger––drove the panicked boy to the streets. A policeman found him, wandering and crying.
We ourselves were only a few provinces away on that day, at a time when we had not long been matched with Lily. We didn’t yet fear she might not come home. While one baby girl struggled to get out of one orphanage, one little boy was dropped off at another.
And he’s lived there ever since.
“Mom,” we heard that our new son asked his foster mother just the other day, “Why have all the other kids been adopted and I haven’t? They’ve left, and they’re all younger than me. I’m the oldest; it’s my turn for a family!”
He’s as old as you can be and still get adopted. No one gets adopted out any older. The abandoned six-year old turns fourteen next spring. Fourteen marks the end of hope. In province after province, fourteen-year old orphans know that their destiny now lies with the infirm. They’ll be scraped out of sight and the key will be thrown away. They’ll be warehoused with the old, or perhaps the insane, more likely everyone and anyone in between. Lifers, sharing just one thing in common: forgotten.
Unless they run away. If the boys escape, almost without fail, from what little I understand, they turn to crime. If the girls do, they turn to…well, what else could they turn to? Together they form nameless, hopeless clans. No families, no advantageous relationships, no education possibilities, no job prospects.
“Won’t it be a difficult thing for a 13-year old to be adopted by foreigners after living his whole life in China?”
Good question, really. I understand it.
Yes, at times it will.
He will be deported from all he has known for 13 years and plopped in a foreign land (though this will happen later for him than it does for most, as we still live here in China). He will have parents with big noses, bug-like eyes, and hair that isn’t the color hair is supposed to be. He’ll have to answer questions on occasion about why he doesn’t look like them. And they won’t even understand what it’s like to be him, or what it’s like to go through what he goes through. He’ll have a Mom who never nurtured him through his childhood years and memories of other women who did. He’ll have a Dad who’s supposed to teach him to be a man, yet he’s almost there already.
Sure he’ll have difficulties.
And I would love nothing better than to see Chinese families, and Chinese society, step up and adopt more and more Chinese kids. Especially thirteen-year olds who have been passed over year after year. There are more, you know; we’re not stealing this one from anyone. His time was running out. He needs a family––from anywhere. Because The Adams Family would be better than what waits in store otherwise.
Without further ado…
We’ll share his English name as soon as we’ve chosen one.
Enoch made that video six weeks ago. It was part of a batch of videos he did for kids’ files we were helping to update.
But that’s getting ahead of things…to Our Beginning.