Yesterday, we received a few updates from our agency. First, we received a medical and a developmental update. The medical update was pretty sparse and was fairly unremarkable. Didn't have an updated weight which is always one of the more meaningful pieces of information to me -- is he gaining weight? But, there were no treatments listed which means that he is healthy and not receiving any medications so that's good news.
The development assessment was more telling. Because M. had a birthday since our last report, he now receives a 4 - 5 year old's assessment. This was a little sad for me because, once again, it is a reminder that he's growing up and we're missing it. However, there were also a few bits of information that gave me a little peace. First, he now "exhibits a sense of humor" and "enjoys jokes, poems & riddles". These are important in our family. Otherwise, he might think we're all nuts! :-) He is reportedly "self sufficient in daily skills", "uses eating utensils well", and "competently runs errands". Yay for M.! (and me!) Physically, he can "walk on a straight drawn line", "touch toes with legs straight", and has "good hand control when drawing". He does not "begin to resist adult requests", nor does he "have nightmares". Again, yay!
My biggest....oh, I don't know what to call them....concerns? items of note? I can't say worries, because I really am trusting God to see us through this process and I believe that it will be what it will be and we WILL get through whatever comes our way. It's not keeping me up at night, but, in every report that we have gotten thus far, M. has not been rated well in the more cognitive/spatial tests -- counting to 5, drawing recognizable person, drawing houses, identifying colors, copying squares, crosses, triangles, or circles. In fact, he is still unable to do any of these things. Cognitive and spatial memory problems and developmental delays are, of course, one of the many possible effects of severe malnutrition. So, it's something that I'm watching and reading about and trying to prepare for. Yet, I also acknowledge that this is a little guy who probably hasn't had much practice with pencil and paper, or drawing, or being taught specific information, so it could just be something that he hasn't yet been exposed to. After all, his daddy was a farmer. Perhaps he could teach us all a few things about the land?! Still, something to be praying about if you all would be so kind!
Speaking of M.'s daddy, my heart has been hurting for him these past 2 days. Yesterday, I went and had a Power of Attorney for the Care and Custody of Minor Children notorized. This POA gives my parents the ability to seek medical care; submit insurance claims; talk to the doctors, the school, or any other confidentiality-concerned entity about my children; sign school field trip permission slips; etc., while we are out of the country. It is easily revoked and it was a very simple thing to do, and yet, I was having issues with it. It just FELT weird. Was scary thinking about anyone else being allowed to basically function as my kids parents -- even though we're talking about my parents here, who I love and trust completely. Understandably, this started me thinking about M.'s dad and how very, very hard it must have been for him. What an amazingly selfless thing to do for your child. I don't know if I could do it. I really don't.
I shed a lot of tears for him during the day, then received an email from my agency with M.'s "Relinquishment Decree". This led to a lot more tears. This document is from the lower courts in the area where M. lived. It is the document wherein M.'s dad is relinquishing his parental rights and giving M. to the orphanage to put him up for adoption. What struck me was how much was involved. Aside from the emotional difficulties that he must have gone through, he also had to go to court and testify. He had to complete paperwork and basically make a case for why he had to do this. He also had to have 3 people come to court with him to also testify why they believed this was necessary.
I won't go into details about it all, but it was heart-breaking to read the testimonies of these 3 friends or relatives. I wondered how many times they had gone to court for other friends or relatives, if others had done the same for them. The depth of the poverty around the world -- we just have NO IDEA what it's like. We really don't. We're like spoiled little children who are blinded to how lucky we are, how blessed we are, how very much we have. It's sad. It's so sad.
It is evident from the testimonies and also from the intake paperwork that we received with our referral that an education for M. is important to his dad. Perhaps this is another reason why I notice and feel concern about M.'s cognitive deficiencies at this point. What an amazing, selfless gift his dad is giving us and entrusting us with -- his son. I so very much want to do the very best I can to honor his dad, to grant his wishes for his son. When we go for our second trip, we will have the opportunity to meet M.'s dad. I am told that this will be the most gut-wrenching few hours of my entire life, but I feel so blessed to have this chance. I pray that he will show up for the meeting. Most birth parents do.
Lastly, I look at M.'s daddy and his incredible act of sacrifice and I think of God and how he made that same sacrifice for me (and for you). We didn't deserve it, but He did it anyway. Our first report from the orphanage reported that M. spent the first few days just "crying for his daddy", like Jesus on the cross, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?" And the answers are the same: Love and Hope for the future.
What an honor it has been to play a part in this adoption.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.