The day I most dreaded...will be remembered as one of the most memorable days of this trip so far.
We were eating breakfast when Savor arrived so we left and went in the van. It was very dreary and foggy this morning.
We drove 2.5 hours to Taizhou City. (Ty-Joe) It took a few minutes to find the Social Welfare Center but as soon as we did...my heart started pounding. We could recognize it from the original video of Taizi.
We were met by the same officials that met us at his gotcha moment. They were all smiles. We decided to use the strollers for both Taizi and Izrael as they love them and we didn't know how long this would be. We enter the building and were greeted by a welcome sign on the tv in the entrance. It was a very sweet gesture. As soon as we entered the hallway we were greeted by a literal cold front. I was shivering. It was freezing. So much so that we looked at each other and had raised eyebrows saying what we were both thinking.
We were greeted by Taizi's nanny who got a few photos taken with him. Still in his stroller, he never wimpered.
The building was clean and very attractive. There were appropriate children's decor and art all over the walls and that surprised us. We were led to the baby room. There were small cribs in pairs of 2 all over the room. My stomach tightened. There were no lights on in the room. Warm blankets in every crib. Eyes were staring out from most cribs...many little babies stood up and just watched us as they held to the rail of their crib. Most looked fairly healthy, we saw a few with repaired cleft lips, a few with Downs Syndrome. They were all just staring right into my eyes. They never smiled. Not one. They could read my soul...I'm convinced. I didn't want to blink. I tried to wave and say hello...I bent down to a few but it was just this stare. I was so thankful deep inside of me...that they were babies. That they were not able to yet think "why not me...?" because my own heart was asking that for them.
We were shown Taizi's crib. His name was on it. His crib partner (2 cribs attached) was a precious little baby with a very deformed head. It was heartbreaking.
We were led into the next room that only had 2 children still in their cribs...they others were out doing an activity with a group or something. The one in his crib was rocking back and forth in such a determined manner. He looked 6-8 years old. It's hard to say. He gave me direct eye contact. His rocking made me shudder. Taizi does the same thing. Over and over and over. The next boy had ropes around him...supposedly to tie him to the crib...? He had a tattered blanket over his head and they told us he is so attached to that blanket that if you remove it he gets violent with himself :(
We were led to the next room.
This was looking like a play room of sorts. There was a tv on and a few children in this strange looking chairs. One was very smiley and very cute. On the left side of the room there were cribs. 7 or so. In each crib there were 2 children. One head on each end. There was a large comforter over both of their bodies. Each child lay lifeless in the cribs. One had intense eye contact and when I smiled, he smiled. His teeth were completely rotten. My stomach was tighter and tighter. I began to feel claustrophobic. We were told these children in the cribs have no muscle tone. THey are very very delayed. It was heart wrenching.
I looked at Dean and told him I wasn't doing well. I felt like I was in a concentration camp. Yes it was clean. Yes it was organized. Yes the walls were pretty and friendly and the toys were organized. It was FREEZING and the lights were off and there was baby after baby after baby just laying in their crib...at noon. Each one longing to be held. Longing to be interacted with. Longing for someone to love them...
Then it happened.
I just got goosebumps down my arms as I pictured the moment.
We walked into a room I recognized right away.
It was the room where Taizi's video was taken. Where the rocking horse was. Where the ball pit was. It was a friendly room. Lots of high tech excercise equipment was there. High end high chairs for babies with special needs. Padded mats on the floor. Trampolines.
It was almost instant.
Taizi started crying. Within seconds he was screaming. Completely panicking. He was kicking his legs so hard. Dean took him out of his stroller the moment he started crying b/c we were watching for any signs of trauma. This little boy adores his daddy. He was in full blown panic mode. We switched, I took him. I was humming so he could feel the vibration in my chest since we are unsure if he can hear. He was now thrashing back and forth. Dean and I locked eyes and we knew. Whatever traumatized him...happened here. In this room. We left and went outside. I took him outside and left the crowd. I walked and walked holding him tightly and trying to hum through my broken heart. I was praying the tears wouldn't start ... though it was too late. Azlan climbed a tree in front of me and I pretended to go talk to him in the tree when really I was trying to hide my tears as my baby boy screamed louder and louder. He was now sweating and his legs were stiff and kicking with all his might. We switched again. Dean took him. Dean said he was literally clawing at Dean's neck as he screamed. He's never done that with us before. This was terror. The officials were saying he's hungry. Dean shook his head. His belly was full. We took a few photos that they requested (yes with a screaming baby) and we got back in the van. Dean wanted to hold him. Within seconds he had stopped crying and rested against Dean's chest.
I need to say this was by far his most traumatized cry since Monday. And definitely the longest. It had to be over 20 minutes off just terror :(
Few words were exchanged between Dean and I.
Few were needed.
We don't know what cognitive abilities our little boy has but we know that he knows...something happened in that room.
I made him a bottle in the van. He didn't even put it to his mouth. He wasn't hungry. It wasn't til much later that he drank a bit and when he did...his hand automatically went up to his Daddy's face and rubbed his chin.
I felt like the entire core of my being was shaking. What happened in that room...? He didn't react to seeing his crib. His nanny. Or the freezing temperatures of that building. It was instant when we walked into that room.
Dean said that was such a monumental moment for him as his Daddy. The reality of the rescue was crystal clear now. Facing the difficult trip the orphanage was so healing for both Dean and I.
We were invited to lunch by all the orphanage officials. Taizi was now totally calm and we opted to use his stroller for the restaurant. He sat beside me and Izrael and was an angel. He even slept.
The meal was amazing. It was 5 star Chinese meal in Taizhou City. It was also an opportunity to let our hearts see the hearts of these people. You know...they are just doing what they do. They only do what they know to do. I don't believe they have ill intentions. This is just what you do. It's a job. It's life here. They love our family. They gave us email addresses and asked us to please stay in touch and send them family photos. They told us to please come back to Taizhou City in the future and know we are always welcome there.
They said many times how grateful they are for us and the love they know we were shower on Taizi. There were at least 15 cheers in that meal. More cheers than I had seen in my life collectively...were all within that meal period :) Azlan loved it. Clanking wine glasses filled with orange juice.
When we drove away we both had so much peace.
And were so glad we went.
Seeing Taizi screaming in total terror deep inside his spirit was horrific. If you were there..you'd be sobbing. It was awful. In the pictures after that you can see Dean and I trying to force a half smile. I felt sick. I just wanted out of there. It felt like a cold, dark, dreary prison and it was my child's life every moment of every day.
God have mercy on each child there. Father send them someone to love them.
We then drove a few minutes to the hospital gate. It was here we stood and looked at all angles of the view his tummy mommy would have seen as she laid a small shoe box...a shoe box with a brand new baby boy laid inside. It was dark. The guards would have had to be sleeping we were told...b/c it is illegal. They cannot be seen abandoning their child. The guards would have woke, heard the cries of a precious little boy...and called the police.
We stood in the spot where Taizi was left.
I can make it pretty for you and say this beautiful act of selflessness by his birth mother.
I'm not condemning her.
I'm looking into the eyes of my son.
He was abandoned.
He was forsaken.
He was left in a shoe box in the middle of the night. Next to a very busy street.
He had deformed ears. A gaping cleft lip. A head of black hair.
My God saw that moment. I did not. I was not there.
And every single moment between then...and now.
Taizi when God told us specifically to rescue you...we took it literally. We didn't know from what. We didn't need to now then.
Oh my beautiful child. You have been rescued.
Now we know ... from what.
Every evening since Monday...I get very emotional. All the "what if's" hit me. All the miles between our children and us become so very literal. Everything ends in tears.
Tonight there was none of that. I mean none of the what if's. None of that "but...what about...?". You have to understand while we value and appreciate every bit of advice other adoptive families have given us...none yet have been on the same level as this simply b/c we do not know of his level of mental disability. By appearance on Monday...it was very severe.
Tuesday...? Very severe. We didn't know if he could hear. Understand. Focus his eyes.
Is he just a shell of a child that could have been?
Is it a disability or such extreme trauma from being institutionalized that he made a choice somewhere along the way to go deep inside himself. To only ever comfort himself. Hands. Rocking. Hitting. Crossing his eyes. Singing his little song that is so mournful.
Is he really in there...?
Will we ever see him...?
Today is Thursday. Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday.
We are not sure what capabilities he has. We do know he knows his mommy and daddy and was so at peace to get in that van and know he was not going back.
The progress in the last 3 days are almost off the charts. That's Dean's words. He came to us in either fits of giggles or fits of tears. He only focused his eyes to stare at his fingers doing weird motions just inches from his face. He sang in mournful repetitive tunes that chilled me. He rocked back and forth. Over and over and over. He hit himself in the head. Hard. If you laid him down he rolled his head from side to side as he stared at his hands.
On day three....he has played with his hands about 80% less. When he does...it's for seconds. Then he stops and looks around and watches out the window. He didn't rock at all. He didn't sing at all. Except when we were almost home today he started humming. A different tune. It was amazing. He only hit himself in between bottles. He sat with Daddy on the way home, beside him. perfectly relaxed on the chair willingly laying his head by Dean's side. Dean clapped today in the van and he took his hands together, by himself, and clapped 5 times.
We are blown away.
In the van with Daddy
Doing his hand motions on the way there
Izrael sleeping on Mama and Azlan's lap. Yes...she is. No there are no carseats here.
Taizhou City Social Welfare. Taizi's home for 3.5 years.
Taizi. And his Mommy. No longer an orphan.
His nanny. He connected with her for a moment but showed no emotion.
Azlan standing beside his baby brother's old crib :(
Dean and I are trying to look pleasant...we are actually more focused on trying not to cry. Taizi.... :(
Mama walking away from the pack with a screaming Taizi :(
Daddy's turn. He even laid on Dean's shoulder but screamed and screamed.
Again at the entrance to the orphanage.
Moments after getting in the van. It was instant in that room in the orphanage how he started panicking and it was instant when the van door shut and he was being held by his daddy how he just plain...stopped.
Azlan doing cheers at dinner
For you Kristina. It was a fish. Head and all girl. There were so many more food pictures but each photo takes So long to load :(
With all the officals at the door of the restaurant.
One of the orphanage officials.
His "finding spot". Likely where his shoe box was...right here in the corner. :(
You have been found my boy. Found once 3.5 years ago...but now truly found.
Left here....fatherless. Fatherless...no more!
The hospital where he was found at the entrance of.
I love this picture. Sitting so content in the van. By his Daddy that adores him. And look at Daddy's shirt. We came...Taizi...we came.