Dominick and I were talking with one another this weekend, and we were chatting about "T" and all we had to do to prepare. As we talked, our conversation became more subdued as we began to grasp the reality that our new son would have to face. So often, people...adoptive parents included...tend to focus only on what their new child will be gaining by being adopted by an American family. The benefits are huge overall, no doubt, as a child is always better off with a loving family, enough food to eat, a chance at a good education...a future. But what about what they are leaving behind?
Those of you who are parents, imagine your child leaving behind all that is familiar to go to a new place that is totally foreign to them, a place where no one speaks their language, they'll never have the same foods again, they know absolutely no one. And it is forever. How would your child handle it? I think of Matthew in the same circumstance and I know he would be terrified, and would feel so lost and alone, regardless of the good intentions of the people he might be with.
What some people fail to recognize is that regardless of how much better his life will be, he is leaving the only family he has ever known. He has been in the orphanage since infancy, and grown up with the kids that are there. They are his brothers and sisters, and he will be leaving them forever, most likely never to see any of them again. He will leave his home to go live with strangers, knowing that he will never return. What panic might he feel? What all will be happening around him that he doesn't understand? What will he wish he could tell us but won't have the language to do so?
And what courage must a tiny 8 year old boy have to jump off this virtual cliff? Surely more than I could ever muster.
I hope that somehow I am able to convey to him a sense of security, I hope that I can ease his mind at moments when he might feel like he wants to explode with feelings he can't yet express. I wonder if there will be moments when I question the wisdom of what we have done, if we have taken away too much from him. I wonder if I will have the wisdom to be the mother he needs me to be as he goes through the grief and adjustments he will need to face.
I have an inkling that when all is said and done, I will come out of all of this with a great deal of admiration for a young boy who just might be willing to risk his heart to embrace a new life. And if it takes him awhile to get to that point, than we will be right beside him as he takes those tentative first steps into his new world.