When I checked my email today, I had one of those emails from “Martha” at RainbowKids about a “waiting child of interest.” I didn’t sign up for these emails, but I must be on a general mailing because I get lots of emails for kids with needs I would not be comfortable with. We are not actively pursuing an adoption—we never really have. I belong to RainbowKids because from time to time (to time to time to time...), this “nagging” feeling builds up inside of me and I look and wonder.
I delete lots of these emails without even opening them.
But I open this one.
It’s a little girl’s name. I’m bored, and we aren’t going anywhere, so I click on her link.
I can’t believe who is looking back at me from the computer screen. And it’s not just her chubby cheeks and big eyes...those eyes. It is what it says under her picture: thalassemia.
My heart stopped. The world stopped. I was nervous and excited and adrenaline was rushing and I have never had this feeling before.
We’ve talked about adoption a lot. I mean A LOT. But always in the abstract. And always about a baby girl with thalassemia.
P is drying dishes from the dishwasher. I will always remember seeing him at that moment, with a dish and a towel in his hand. I open my mouth but feel like I can’t make any sound. “Come over here” is all I can say.
Dutiful as ever, he comes over, leans in and looks at the baby girl stuffed into layers and layers of clothing and a snow hat that’s just too big. “Should we adopt her?” I ask.
And so it began. Quick and easy. Like flicking on a light, counting to 3, or snapping your fingers. Or deciding to pursue an international adoption of a special needs / special focus / chronic illness, waiting child in China.
Aside from marrying each other, P and I have never made a decision so quickly and so effortlessly in our lives. Not about what to eat for dinner, not about which Red Sox cap to buy, not about which flavor of ice cream to try...nothing.
After a flurry of emails and online web forms we took a ride to the bakery to talk, relax, and get a pastry. “Éclair or cannoli?”
“I don’t know...what about a cupcake?”
“Are they good here or dry? Maybe a half moon?”
“Those taste like lemon to me. You could do a mini éclair.”
“Should we just get bread?”
10 minutes pass staring into the case, we let others go in front of us, finally P goes with the éclair (default) and I walk out empty handed. I can’t make a decision to save my life. But I just did.
Her name is Liu Yiquan, and her date of birth is November 23, 2009. Here she is in the first picture we saw of her:
We call this "Snowsuit." We also call this "Token Taker" because with the tiled walls, metal grate, and office chair, she looks like she's collecting MBTA tokens.
This is the beginning.