It’s easy to feel very small in this world. Eli is one of 1.3 BILLION people who live in China. He’s also 1 of of 1 BILLION people with disabilities that live around the world. As I try to imagine what his life has been like and piece together a history that I know one day, he’ll need and want, it can feel daunting. I can’t really be sure the picture of the orphanage I’ve found is his or the province where he lives is at all what he will remember it to be. I can’t google sounds, smells, and sights that a child grows to know as home. What I can do, though, is try. In addition to our adoption process, we’ve been learning what we can about China and reaching out to other families who have already completed this journey or are along with us for the ride!
Just like our rich disability community, there’s an enormous and well-connected online adoption community. It’s made up of listserves, message boards, blogs like this one, and Facebook groups. As I introduced myself in some of these forums-something amazing happened. Another adoptive mother believed she had pictures of our son from his orphanage and his foster home. She’d just returned from China with her son in May. She’d sent a disposable camera a few weeks before her arrival and her son’s foster mother had filled the camera. At first, I couldn’t believe it…It would be amazing but really-what are the chances? When I opened the email though, I knew…It’s him, our Eli.
These pictures are such an incredible gift from someone I’ll likely never meet. In addition to my own desire to see and find anything I can about his past, I’ll now have pictures to share with Eli-of his friends, foster mothers who loved him, and places that he’s called home. Of course, we can’t ever be 100% sure it’s Eli. But not only does it align perfectly with his other pictures but he has a pretty significant and visible scar on the upper right of his forehead…in each and every picture we have of him!
Like this entire journey, we’ve taken hold of these pictures and chosen to have faith and believe. We hope Eli is doing the same.
I’ll leave you with another snapshot from our photo angel. In the one below, Eli’s (holding a pillow) celebrating with his friend who’s learned he will be adopted. I love his BIG eyes ready for the cake!
Please help us by continuing to share our blog and new Facebook page. This story is a good example-you never know what can come of those connections!