Five and a half years ago, there was an absolutely perfect little baby boy that was born. On that day, he was dressed in a little white suit and wrapped in a red towel. A note was written, indicating the date and time of birth. He was found in a public location and promptly brought to the social welfare institute.
It is hard to imagine the position a birth mother is put in, especially in China. If she had no prenatal care or ultrasounds, she might not be aware of the condition of the baby. In China, she would not be allowed to know the sex of the baby even if an ultrasound was done. If this is not her first child, she and her family could be heavily fined.
Having given birth to three children, I know what an emotional day it is on the day of your child's birth. I imagine how difficult it must be to not give birth to the 'perfect' child. Did she plan on keeping him before she saw him? Did she proudly show off her baby bump or did she conceal her pregnancy in fear? I wonder if his birth mother lovingly dressed him up crying, knowing that she would never see him again. Perhaps she thought she could not financially provide for his needs. Perhaps another member of the family decided to take her newborn to a public location, and watched from a distance to make sure he was found safely.
I will probably never have the answers to those difficult questions, and I know that I will struggle with the words when he asks me about things that I just don't know.
And so, his story began. And here we are.
"Mommy, can you get me a new hand and a new ear so the other kids won't tease me?"
Oh, now THAT is a question that brings tears to MY eyes. I immediately showed him pictures of prosthetic hands that he could get, but he dismissed them immediately saying that the children would tease him even more. So, no new hand unless he changes his mind.
This week, we went to Shriner's in Boston for a consult to reconstruct his ear. This is our 3rd consult for the rib graft surgery. The 2 local doctors could do the procedures, but neither one exclusively practices the reconstruction. One even jokingly told us that he is NOT our guy and he would not recommend himself since he has only done it a handful of times in South America. Thanks, but no thanks. He recommended a doctor in NYC that is supposedly fabulous, but he does not take insurance. We would have to pay around $30,000 out of pocket. Ouch.
The doctor in Boston seems great, but recommends that we wait until Christian is at least eight years old for the procedure. Other options include a prosthetic ear, the Medpor, or nothing.
Only a handful of doctors in the U.S. are considered true artists when it comes to the rib graft procedure. Let's be honest--when it comes to something as important as an ear, you want to find the doctor that is a perfectionist. You would want a doctor that has done this exclusively and can proudly show off his work.
And so we wait. We have another doctor in mind that we are planning on meeting with, but I don't have this urgent need to fix his ear because I happen to think his little ear is pretty darn cute. Perfectly made. If he decides to keep it just the way it is, that would be fine with me. If he wants to move forward with a new ear, I will support him all the way. But it will be a difficult series of procedures.
It's hard to explain to my son that it is BECAUSE of his differences that we found him. We were not afraid of his listed disabilities, and were honored to fly half way around the world to find our son. After all, we were seeking a special needs child and he has absolutely blown us away since day 1 with his ABILITIES.
I know that more hard questions are coming my way, and that he will look at me to guide him through his questions. I want him to feel secure in himself and not feel the need to hide his physical differences. T-ball. Swimming. Soccer. Karate. Anything that he wants to try, we will support him all the way. We will work through the hard questions and I hope at some point he will feel at peace with himself and his story.
Even if he was not born perfectly by Chinese standards, he was born perfectly for me.