Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sterling Mei: (15) Abandoned No More

She is being held by her mama right now. The room smells of baby lotion and happiness. I can hear her breathing as she surrenders to closing her eyes, relaxing her face, pulling her thumb into her mouth… and sleeping.

Have you ever watched a baby sleep? Have you ever watched your own baby sleep? There is something bigger than the moment that seems to manifest as you watch that steady pull of air that swells that tiny body as she breaths. Nestled among pink blankets and pajamas, the world is no match for this tranquility.

Today was our first full day together, and it was a wonderful day.

We have let go of many of the eccentricities and neurosis of new parents… with number 3 we feel a bit more familiar with these days. And yet… we still get crazy and do goofy things like celebrate poopie diapers (or Good News as the Chinese call it), and make embarrassing faces, sounds, and speak in funny voices. Well, ok…those of you who know me are rightly thinking that I am pretty much acting like I always do!

Our threesome accomplished some milestones today. Some a bit mundane, albeit wonderful, such as a full day of automobile riding, lots of carrying baby while walking, and our first two public meals together (no screaming or tears either time… thankfully). Memories of our first public meal with Aleksandra still traumatize us (think square-mouth scream). Some pretty major moments also filled our day.

We sat across a big wooden desk on the 8th floor of the Adoption Center and completed our interview with the Chinese official. It was a bit of a bizarre test as we had to answer questions about our own life, beginning with, "what is your: name, date of birth, anniversary, health status, annual salary, etc." Then without warning, the nature of the questions shifted from routine to gut wrenching.

"Do you want to adopt this child?" "What makes you want to adopt a girl from China?" "Do you promise not to abandon this child again?" "Do you promise not to abuse, neglect, or mistreat this child?" "Do you promise to provide her with a secure, loving home?"

While we answered these questions, Sterling sat in our laps and gazed at us, with two-tooth smiles, and deep brown eyes of beauty. I had to ask the official to please repeat a question because my mind was stuck on this concept that this incredible child had been abandoned to die.

"Do you promise not to abandon this child again?"

We have no concept of this. We seem to think that in order for a mother to abandon her child, she must be an evil person, or at least a person devoid of a heart. But, we live in a different world. We have no understanding of the impossible choices that leads to such a devastating decision. However… we do have the power to make a difference.

"What makes you want to adopt a girl from China?"

I have no doubt that each and every person who has the ability to help others also is expected to do so. I think it is simply a matter of whether or not we stand where we are. What need is at our feet today? What choice did we make? I am convinced that the course of our lives is not determined by those BIG DECISION moments… rather; I think our character is forged by the seemingly small decisions we make everyday.

"Do you want to adopt this child?"

Our choices turn into our habits and soon we become comfortable in our routine. And then when the big choices come our way… we have already determined our path.

"Do you promise to provide her with a secure, loving home?"

This child has forever altered our path. As I listen to her sleep in the dimmed room, I think of the smile of her face and the light in her eyes as I reflected her gaze and said to that Chinese official,

"I promise."

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