Monday, November 11, 2013

"I was Ai Guo, then"

I was fortunate to receive several of Patrick's drawings on his Gotcha Day. I know what a rare gift I've been given and put every drawing in a plastic sleeve after it spent several weeks on the fridge. In fact, one of the first things I had Patrick do when he and I came home was to put his drawings on the fridge with those of his sisters. So, I had all of his artwork lying on the bed the other day and he found it. He seemed surprised that his artwork was so important to me. I explained that his drawings were treasures and I wanted to keep them forever. He said, "But, Mama, I was Ai Guo, then. See, I put my name there." I was a little taken aback and just did not know what to say. I asked him whether he still wanted to be called by his former name and he said, quite emphatically, "no". I asked him whether it was "good" to be Patrick and he said "yes". But, the question remained in my heart whether Patrick felt like his former identity had no connection, no relevance, to who he is right now. I didn't have to wait long to have him elaborate.

Now, Patrick is ordinarily a chatterbox deluxe. I cannot understand all of what he says, but I get a lot of it. His sisters seem to understand most of what he says. It's a hoot when Moxie interprets for Patrick. At that point, they both might as well be speaking Klingon. Anyway, Ben and the kids picked me up from work and Patrick had my ear since the girls were napping. He began by telling me about a child at school who had acted poorly and likened it to how an older child had treated him in the orphanage. Then he began to tell me about his "little brother". Now, I know that Patrick does not have a biological younger brother, but he was, according to what he told me, very attached to the little boy he slept with right before I came to get him. The child he slept with before this particular child is home with his sweet mama, who is my dear friend. Patrick told me that this child was much smaller than he and drank a bottle that Patrick would hold for him at night. He told me the "little brother" needed to come home. And then, he told me about saying good-bye to his friend. I haven't written about our trip to the orphanage, and I won't. Those memories are only for Patrick and I have recorded them in his adoption journal that I kept while we were in China. But, I do remember Patrick going to the top of a short flight of stairs and shooing a small fellow backward through the doorway. That little fellow was pulling on Patrick and trying to go with him. Patrick gave me all of those details and then said, "Little Brother say, stay with me, Ai Guo. Stay here. Don't go." I was crying of course, but Patrick continued to talk in his precious broken English. "I say, Ai Guo all gone. Go back." And then he left with me. I asked his friend's name and age, but Patrick is sketchy on the details. I may never know the name of the little brother we left behind.

Just typing that story twists my heart over and over. But, there are some truths that I have pulled out that I will keep forever. Firstly, Patrick exhibited the faith that Jesus asks of us all. That childlike, blind, faith. Patrick had no idea where I was taking him, how he would communicate, whether he'd be safe or anything else. He looked for the fulfillment of something he simply BELIEVED IN. That is the very definition of faith. Second, while his first seven years will always belong to Patrick, he is a new person now. He is a son, and brother---new identities that he recognizes are not who he has always been but are who he wants to be now. And finally, my son is one of the single most courageous people I have ever met and that is Jesus's gift to Patrick. I had nothing to do with it. In fact, I am guilty of letting fear overwhelm me if I don't constantly keep my eyes on Jesus. Patrick's courage and faith gave me courage and faith. Jesus is like that. Christ's adoption of me begat Patrick's adoption and Maisy's adoption and Moxie's adoption. Adoption begets adoption.

If you follow me on Facebook, you will know that Patrick's heart surgery was cancelled in October because a virus was discovered in the pre-op appt. It has been reset for February. We are going into the holiday season with great joy and anticipation. We are incredibly blessed.

Happy Adoption Awareness Month!!!!
In Him Who Does All Things Well,

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