My friend, Kathy, who is also an experienced adoptive mom left a comment on my last post suggesting that I could post a picture of Zeke's foster family in his room to help ease with his transition. What I would give for a picture! Or some names!
China is set up much differently than many other countries so many birth family do not leave identifying factors behind as they could be prosecuted for abandonment. So birth families are almost never known. And the government adheres strictly to a policy of keeping the foster families separate from the adoptive families. I have asked numerous times for information about them. I have asked numerous times that we be allowed to meet them. All I have received is a pretty standard Chinese save face response that sounds a lot like a politician sliding around answers.
I can't help but think how much easier his transition might be if his foster family were allowed to accompany him to Guiyang, if the family could be able to physically be there and meet us and say good bye. I know it's a bit of fairy tale thinking. I've done foster care. I know full well how it goes when you have to separate a mom and a child. I'm sure having the child already removed from the foster family before he reaches his new family is done to prevent hysterics from the child and the foster family. But it still seems a bit heartless as most toddlers and babies are unable to understand what is happening to them until it becomes apparent that they are not going back to the foster family. I also can't help but think how much easier it would be if we had a a picture of his foster family or even their names. In our house, we talk a lot about where our kids where before they came to us. It's part of who they are and they need those little pieces of their pasts to help make sense of who they are now and who they will be. I am not looking forward to having so many unknowns for Zeke.
Occasionally, adoptive families have found pieces of paper with the foster family's information hidden in the possessions of their new child. Tiny papers shoved into the corners of pants pockets or tucked behind a photo from the photo book the family sent to the child while in China... That has enabled them to have some contact post adoption via Skype or email.
I do know of a few adoptive families who have paid to find their child's finding ad (the ad that is used to inform the residents of a town that a child has been found abandoned) and that from this, they have pieced together another information to actually find the birth family. We have not yet paid to have the finding ad located.
It sounds a bit like a weird version of espionage, doesn't it? It just seems like there has to be a simpler way for families to claim those little bits of information for their families. In some ways, not having those little pieces makes the task of Zeke coming home seem more daunting. You can't help but wonder if he will feel kidnapped, if you will deal with biting and hitting, if he will just cry for long periods of time. The opposite is a child who easily comes with you, who shows little emotion over leaving. That's also scary because it can mean that the child was not attached to the first caregivers (making attachment to a new family harder) or that the child is internalizing it all and not emotionally processing the huge changes in his life.
I'm very thankful that I am not solely responsible for healing his heart. God is the healer; I just get to be one of the people who helps to do it. I'm also thankful for others who are praying already for Zeke's heart,who encourage us by reminding of of the gifts God has given us to help a hurting kid. So thanks, friends!