This morning we miraculously rolled out of bed to make it out the door in time for our second visit with Travis. (Just a reminder, Travis is his listed name on Reece’s Rainbow. Until our adoption is legally completed that is the name I’ll use for him.) Visiting hours are a two hour window in the morning and it is a fairly long drive out to is orphanage; today thanks to traffic I think we were in the car for close to an hour.
A nanny in his group had gotten him all ready for us to take him out to the play yard. As she handed him over to us she let us know that, if he seemed too warm, we could take off his jacket. Considering he had on a hat, onesie, flannel footie pjs’, pants, socks, shoes AND a jacket, I figured he was fine to lose one layer as we took him out into the sunny 75 degree late morning air. We spent the two hours with him out in the fresh air and sunshine. Since leaving him, these are some thoughts that have been gathering in the edges of my mind:
When our daughter Kitty was born, she was the most receptive newborn I have ever seen. She was tracking faces, making eye contact, and even socially smiling at a unbelievably young age. From the start I have thought of her as an easy peasy sweet baby, if she had been more of a handful I don’t think we would have started looking into international adoption when she was only a few months old. She is a perceptive, receptive, expressive child and I’ve always found it very easy to read her moods and meet her needs.
Many times I have thanked God for giving us our laid back toddler Kitty and our delightful, competent older daughter Della. Often I have wondered if such personalities were given by God in order for them to be able to ride the waves that are about to rock our family to its core.
And Travis, he is a mystery. From an occupational therapist point I’d say he is around 6 months old for physical development. Emotionally and socially he seems to be more at newborn level. He does not make eye contact, he hardly turns his head to track audio cues, his eyes track movement but do not focus on anything. There has never been a moment where his eyes have met mine: he does not seek out faces. He goes to strangers easily, I have not been able to detect if he can differentiate between strangers (meaning myself and Timm) verses familiar faces like his nanny. He laughs when he is lifted into the air, he seemed to enjoy clapping his hands, and he mellows out when swinging gently in the toddler swing. His muscles tired quickly and he can get wound up from simple stimuli, such as a gentle summer breeze across his face, whereupon he dives into institutionalized behaviors such as swinging his head around vigorously and spastically flailing his limbs.
With these thoughts, I am not doubting, I am not anxious, I am not fearful. I have been blogging about the impact of institutionalization on children for over a year. My husband and I have been reading, talking, praying. People all over the world have been praying for us as well. We knew adoption is a challenge, we knew there would always be many unknowns, we also knew it would be worth it.
Today I looked all those unknown in the face, and what I saw were two sky blue eyes that do not know how to recognize a mother’s face, one little snub of a nose that does not know the smell of mommy’s hair, a rosebud mouth that has never formed the word Dada, and a tiny cleft in the chin that has had to quaver through tears that were not wiped away by a mother’s kiss. What I saw was my son’s face. He does not know me, but I know him, and for today, that is enough.