Sunday, September 30, 2007

Yun-yun's Story: Cock-crow

Wednesday night was awful. Little Baoxin didn't sleep and neither did we, dreading the morning and the return to Guangzhou Children's Hospital. After another terrifying cab ride - the intellectual concept of "lane" appears to be nonexistant in south China and the only traffic regulation is "show no fear" - we were again inside the tile warren, again in a crowded waiting area, again before a doctor, this time the neurologist, who would determine the fate of our child and us.
--
This time the physician performed actual neurological tests, manipulating her limbs, stimulating her to crawl and stand and noting the difficulties. The original diagnosis was modified to "unspecified brain injury resulting in significant mental/physical impairment" or what in the bad old days we called "mental retardation".
--
We cried. Our hearts went out to her. But we couldn't possibly take her home, not with everything else in our past, memories of a daughter lost and worries for our own home and family. We had decided, in the dark hours of Wednesday night, that if the diagnosis confirmed a brain injury to turn her back, even thought it might mean coming home without a child. But we also knew that in doing so we probably condemned her to a life of barely surviving in the cheerless institution we had thought to take her from. We felt like heartless Judases but, in choosing, chose ourselves and our family over her good. That is a cruel choice, and nothing can disguise it. We deliberately chose our own welfare over hers, and we will have to live with that for the rest of our lives.

Having made that choice, the rest of Thursday was an extended frenzy of paperwork and phone calls. First we were told that she would go back to the orphanage that day, then that evening. We were told that we could not move to the non-special-needs category and that it would not be possible to complete the adoption in our original time period (and our travel dates were not mobile!). Then, late in the evening, with Mojo and Baoxin in exhausted sleep, Rob the guide called to say that the nannies had just got in and couldn't be at the hotel before midnight. In one of my most foolish decisions I asked him to put off the handover until the following morning.

Baoxin didn't sleep more than an hour that night, and poor Debra ended up sitting up with her on her chest, feeling every little movement, the pulse of that tiny, injured heart against hers, hating it, hating herself, hating life and the Gods of Children for their unrelenting cruelty. She passed a night so bleak I cannot imagine it, and cannot describe it. But I mention it so that you can imagine for yourself, if you can, those long, dark hours of bottomless sorrow.

The next morning we went back into the city, to a warrenlike hotel where we returned her. She was overjoyed to see her nannies, they crying out cheerfully when she appeared. The cab ride back to the White Swan was sad but not as bitter as we had imagined. We had made the decision and were willing to live with it. Another referral had been mentioned. We were starting to hope again.

But, of course, Fate had a last dagger hidden. I went to the "Garden Pool" to swim and decompress and returned to the room to find my wife all in pieces.

"Rob called" she sobbed "He says he was at the nannies' hotel. Says she was doing all the things they said: walking, talking. Says he wnts us to come and see, that it's our last chance."

I thought about all the possibilities, about our hopes that this sweet little girl had fooled us all, that we had a chance for a full and happy life, that the doctors were wrong. And then of the awful chance that these small things were all she could do, that we would spend the next twenty years hoping for a flower that would be forever a bud, worrying about every setback, every low grade, every speech problem or coordination difficulty.

We never saw her again.

I am crying now, as I write this, for our little mei-mei, for the lost love and hopes we had, for the little girl back asleep in her crib in Liangjiang. We still love you and hope for you. I'm sorry, Mei-mei, that we weren't big enough to be what you needed for a fuller life and a brighter hope. I will be sorry until my own life is over.

Next: The House Carpenter

8 comments:

walternatives said...

Your post makes me weep, too, Chief. Thank you for your courage and for your candor in sharing this with us. Absolutely, it's a story that should be told.

I've been thinking of you two - so very often - today and yesterday. I'm hoping - now and in days ahead - that you and Mojo find peace. And, looking forward, I wait to meet your daughter, Peeper's little sister. With love to you and Mojo from the Goober and I.

wzgirl said...

Oh wow, you guys. Really. Wow. My heart aches for you and Baoxin. You've *all* already been through so much.

I wish I could convey how much love and support Jzboy and I hold for you right now...words fail me.

XO

holly said...

May whatever "powers that be" God, Buddha, whoever/whatever....see fit to bring you peace & comfort.
Weeping with you ~
Holly

Dee said...

We're wishing for peace for your family.

Beeb said...

Words truly fail me, but my heart aches deeply for you. I can't imagine the surreal space you're in right now, grieving for Baoxin and loving Shao Mei.
I hope you are showered with kindness, tenderness and peace.
Love to you and Mojo, the Peep and Shao Mei.

Project Ni Hao said...

There isn't any way to tell you how so very sorry I am for all the grief you and Mojo are going through. I hope the coming days and weeks bring some peace and healing.

Journeywoman said...

I'm so sorry. Bless your courage and candor.

twoshoes said...

Found your blog through The Singing Bird. Thank you for posting this. We came home in June with our mei mei and she was not the little girl whose picture we had fallen in love with months before.

-j