As if I am not emotional enough right now, this post from a mom over there right now was the icing on the cake. I read it on friday, and cried and I can't stop thinking about it. I cry every time I think about this or read it (which I keep doing).
A little background to the story...the family now has custody of this little cutie Evan, and they are waiting for her visa to come through to take her home for good and this is what they experienced the other day as they took her to do some of that paperwork.
"Evan cried today......I knew it would happen, honestly I did. She is just the happiest little girl - so full of life and fun. One almost begins to think that she somehow by-passed the effects of orphanage life. Some would even say that because of her Down syndrome she might not even be capable of knowing what has happened over the course of her life.
We left the hotel room on Thursday afternoon and headed for the cab. She had the biggest smile on her face and was laughing as we got in the car, almost like she was thrilled to be riding in a car. She sat in the back between Clark and I - all smiles. As we were driving, she slowly became more and more somber and grabbed each of our hands and wouldn't let go. I noticed that she was biting her cheek and little bits of blood were evident in her mouth. How do you reassure a little girl that everything is going to be okay? Especially one who only knows Russian and how much of it she knows is a mystery - since she is nonverbal.
We kept leaning down and kissing her and squeezing her hand, but her eyes were wide with uncertainty. We stopped at the train station and everyone started exiting the vehicle and she lost it. Unsure of whether she was being returned or we were leaving her didn't really matter at the moment. I AM sure that either choice was not one that she wanted. She cried and she cried hard. How do you tell her or explain to her what FOREVER means? I held her, her Poppa held her, we murmured our love to her and said the word forever and then took her with us on the train.
I pondered the situation later on the train. So MANY people think that children with Down syndrome can be put into an institution and it will not have any lasting implications on them - they deem them incapable of any human understanding. Do they not know these children can feel and have emotions and bonds like all other human beings? After a little more than 24 hours with her Momma and Poppa, she KNEW she did not want to return. She KNEW that what she experienced in those 24 hours was better than where she had been.
The reality of that is a hard pill to swallow, when you think of how many orphans with Down syndrome have been transferred to an institution and will never, EVER, be able to KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.
It's sobering and also fills me with sadness. I wish I could do more. I wish you could do more. I may not have all the answers, but I do know this.....
The blessing of being obedient to God's call on our lives is evident in the smiles and tears of our sweet Evan and I am thankful beyond words that we chose to obey."
I haven't stopped thinking about this because although this little girl is only 4, she KNEW this new life she had been given in the last 24 hours was better than anything she had known before and it was what she wanted! Neither her age, nor her extra chromosome affected her ability to feel and know what love was. And she KNEW she wanted it. Bree is 4 and Bree has down syndrome and she KNOWS what she wants and she knows what being happy and loved feel like. Which makes it all the more heartbreaking to think of all those that may never know. Just because of a physical difference from the "norm" a child is deprived of this love.
Her last statement "I am thankful beyond words that we chose to obey" rings very true for me. I think everyday how grateful I am that we are on this journey and what a life changing and miraculous road it has been and we haven't even met her yet! Oh, every time I think about meeting her I just can't decide if I should cry or smile or both because it is now so real and we will be there with her before we know it! I sat and watched this sweet little girl today at church who was the same age as Kareen and had the same color eyes and hair and she was snuggling with her grandma and I leaned over to my friend and said "isn't that little girl so cute?" and she said "yes, and I can tell she is making you think about your baby girl right now". Well, most everything does make me think about her lately!
Kareen may not speak our language or understand fully what is about to happen in the next month or so, but I have no doubt that she will feel of our love and know that it is what she has always wanted. I would like to believe that she already does feel our love, even now. I just pray that we will be able to convey the assurance to her that she needs to know that she will be ours forever and that she won't have to be alone anymore!