Papa Chopstix, Big Z and I took a little field trip this weekend.
Armed with an address from his orphanage file, a camera and Google maps we rode the subway to find the location where he was reportedly found shortly after birth just over 2 years ago.
As we came up to street level and looked around, we noticed the train station, a large bus depot and several large shopping markets in the area.
We ambled down the middle of the street since the sidewalks were crowded with vendors hawking tea eggs, corn on the cob and other traveler’s snacks, and found a building with the correct number on it.
“Found on the second floor,” our information had stated.
The building was a medium sized hardware/electric market, which means several floors of narrow aisles and dozens of tiny stalls and counters loaded to overflowing with bags of screws, coiled wire, electrical tools and other things I am not an expert on.
As we rode the escalator up to the second floor, I was filled with an indescribable painful stab in my chest as I wondered who had stood, possibly on that same escalator, with a tiny bundle in a fuzzy blanket and formulating a plan in their mind.
Was it the birth mother (although Chinese tradition dictates she cannot leave the bed for a month), or the father, or another family member or friend? We will never know.
As a mother now five times over, I cannot imagine the thought of leaving my baby for someone else to find.
Although since it was winter time, it seems like they wanted him to be found alive and perhaps allow for a solution to repairing his severe heart defect.
So many factors are at work that are outside the scope of my culture, understanding and imagination.
As I talk to more and more people about children, orphans, disabilities, health care, insurance, poverty, education….it only serves to make any quick pat answer seem trite and shallow.
But my heart aches for somebody who carries the burden of this secret around forever.
I have never met a person who told me that they abandoned their child.
It’s probably not dinner conversation for most.
Our joy in loving this special boy is intertwined with the harsh reality that somebody else’s heartache permitted it to happen.
We asked a couple of shopkeepers standing around, and even a guard, if they knew of a baby that had been found in the given time frame, but nobody seemed to quite understand the question.
We didn’t push, and wandered back out into the bright sunlight and noise of traffic, bus horns, and cute puppies for sale.