I can still remember how hard it was to sleep the night before...
I can still feel the quivering of my stomach that ride into the Social Welfare building...
I can still see Azlan's excitement about meeting Taizi for the first time...
I still remember being so shocked that 18 month old Izrael never cried, never showed any emotion of distress at all that I was holding this screaming child for so long...
And I still remember knowing in those moments...we didn't know the half of what his special needs were.
The day we met Taizi for the first time.
The overwhelming smell of something wrong when he was placed into our arms.
How extremely tiny he was.
How when we got back to the hotel ... he showed pure delight in banging his head as hard as he could on the wooden legs of the furniture.
How we knew...that first day...that he was deaf.
How much I didn't sleep that first night that he was with us.
As Dean fed him...I escaped into the bathroom and sank down on the floor...speechless. I can still see the ugly wallpaper covering the bathroom wall...I can still feel my stomach swirling...I started to cry. I cried. I cried. And I stood up...looked myself in the mirror and said "Janice...you can't ask what you have done. You obeyed God. That's what you have done. He's got this. He's got you."
Oh what a journey it has been. In the beginning we saw the most progress. Because so many of the things we taught him...were things he was simply never taught. We hit that ceiling pretty quickly.
He has never grown. He still wears the same Robeez baby shoes today...at age 5.5years ... that he wore that day in China. His feet are size 03. His clothes...he still wears those jeans and overalls that we brought in our suitcase to China.
He's had heart surgery...he's had palate surgery...he's had scans, MRI, tests, bloodwork, you name it.
And in the end...my favorite doctor ever...says "Taizi...he's a medical mystery".
What we know...?
He's deaf. He's mentally disabled. He's not growing. He's not attached or bonded to us more than he would be to you.
He's well fed. He's happy...I think. He shows no sign of happiness. He doesn't "enjoy" life. He sits. He rocks. He hits himself. He will wander to different parts of the living room, picking up a block and staring at it super close to his eyes.
His nights are not fun. He goes to sleep quickly. And wakes quickly. Screaming. He's hard to settle. We can't tell if he's had a nightmare...we can't communicate in any way. Every night we put him to bed...we sit and wait...and like clockwork we hear him kicking, hitting himself, freaking out and screaming.
And the thing I love to hear the most is...how we are special. We are better. We are gifted. We are so good at this. And how you...couldn't do what we do.
And you must...have no idea...what the daily surrender looks like in my life...if that's what you think.
I'm not stronger. I'm not better. I'm not more capable. I'm not gifted for special needs. I don't find this journey easy.
The strength it takes every day...to surrender to God's grace...is so extreme.
I'm a goal setter. I'm driven. I love a plan. I'm a realist.
Taizi forces me to have no goals. Have no plans. Know not at all...what tomorrow looks like. And every day....feels like "ground hog day". All over again.
What does tomorrow look like? I don't know.
Neither do you.
What does life look like for us when Taizi is 12? 14? 18?
I don't know.
My goal everyday...is to have a great day. That day. One day at a time.
The gift of God's grace. For one day.
One more day.
There's no five year plan.
When asked...his doctor isn't sure he'll every grow. Based on these last 2 years...it's unlikely. His nutrition is now what most 5 year olds eat. Table food. High fat. High calories. No growth.
Right now...I see that as a blessing. I can carry him. I can bathe him. I can handle a tiny Taizi.
The sadness of the reality that 2 years later...Taizi would go home with you and show no sign of distress...abandonment....rejection or anything else.
We don't know what God has in store for Taizi...or us.
But we do know that was His decision ... that day. When we signed that paperwork...I was absolutely feeling uneasy and terrified. But we knew...this was exactly who God called us to.
He's asleep now. The screaming has stopped. Tomorrow...as I stand beside his bedroom door...I'll stop and again pray...for the grace...of another day. For my goal driven personality to surrender again...to only have a goal...of a great day. Even if it feels like yesterday. Even if there's no progress.