Every so often I get caught up in the world of blogs and find myself spending hours sitting at my computer, reading. These windows into other worlds are so interesting. Often soul baring, always interesting, I can't turn away. Today I was reading "She in China", a blog that is always thought provoking and often quite humorous. The post I read was about the tradition of taking glam wedding photos before the big day. The bride and groom hire a photographer and take these professional "model" shots- it is often an all day event, complete with many wardrobe changes, makeup and hair, the whole nine yards. This post made me think of our trip to China, as we saw these types of photographers throughout our trip, in little storefronts, and we saw many brides and grooms having their time in the spotlight. At the time, it seemed strange, surreal almost. Brides in beautiful western wedding dresses and tuxes, standing in the tropical heat, a young boy or girl holding the lights or some prop... we saw these couples everywhere. Standing by a brick building, or in a small garden. What made it so surreal, I think, was the western wedding attire and the fact that if you looked past the camera lens you would see laundry hanging on a line, or fish sitting outside of an open air market. These photos are staged so that the local flavor, the buildings in disrepair, the poverty, are not captured.
This reminder of our trip made me think of China. I wanted to read more, not about life in China in general, but instead about life in Dongguang City, where the orphanage my son lived at for 15 months is located. A simple search later I was engrossed in a blog about a visit to that very orphanage.
This couple was in China in March of 2008, and visited the orphanage two and a half months before we did. They wrote in their post, written the day of the orphanage visit, that they toured the rooms where the special needs infants were "housed". They spoke to the caregivers and learned facts about the daily lives of these children that we suspected but did not know for sure. They mention specifically a baby that we also remember seeing on our visit. Then it hit me. If they saw that little one, they saw our son. Two and a half months before we met our precious baby boy this family wandered through his world.
They saw his crib, where he spent so much time. They saw the playground where the older children played and where our son's first photos were taken. They saw the play room, and also noted that it was empty and sterile. They saw everything we saw. They probably saw him. They may have looked into those beautiful eyes, those eyes that plead so well that I can not deny him. I wonder how many American eyes saw my baby boy? Do others remember him like we remember the other child?
You share your child with the world, it seems, when you adopt. he belongs to us, he belongs to America, he belongs to China. He is my son, but he is also a topic of conversation for many of the people we cross paths with everyday. And I do not mind this. I don't even notice it unless I am with someone who has not experienced it. I remember what it was like being an American in China, having strangers take my picture, point me out as different. It was a feeling I did not enjoy but needed to experience, in order to help my son as he grows. So I do not mind sharing my child with the world. But as I sat there today at my kitchen table reading this blog about this very specific orphanage visit I was reduced to tears. These people were right there. They may have held out a hand to my little guy, or looked into his eyes. What did they see? Did they see the bright light we now see? Or did they see what we first saw? Our little guy has come so far from that place that to suddenly be reminded of his shaky beginnings was startling to me. I suppose it is not a bad thing though. We all need reminded of the road that brought us to our happiness.