I've always been fearful of Down Syndrome children. Clay's brother is Down's Syndrome and maybe seeing what I considered 'hardship' on the family, brought out those fears. I don't know.
When I saw these children in the orphanage, I'd pat them on head and 'keep on walkin', viewing each crib and waiting for that 'sudden knowledge' to hit me.....this is the next one, take them to Swallow's Nest.
The first time I saw Xiao Ya, he was lying in his crib at the Xin Xiang orphanage asleep. I removed the covers and his little chest was heaving with each breath, displaying each tiny rib. I said, "Oh Honey, You're the One."
The Director told me she wanted me to take Xiao Jun, another baby in a different room. His special needs was 'his heart beat different than other babies' (I had a student translator:).
I told her that he looked healthy and didn't need us, but this baby really needed us, pointing to Xiao Ya. She told me, he wasn't clever. I told her it didn't matter. We went back and forth, back and forth.
The worker brought in Xiao Jun all dressed and ready to go. I wanted to maintain my good relationship with the Director, so I boldly asked if I could take both babies. She readily agreed, and off we went. (I may have shared this in previous post, can't remember).
The first time I bathed Xiao Ya, I thought he would break into. He was fragile. Daily he gained his strength. In the beginning, he couldn't even cry, he just squeaked, when he wasn't comfortable.
His neck had no support at all and his muscle tone was nil. I emailed my mother-in-law and she informed me this was normal for Down's Syndrome children. She told me that muscle tone would come, but slowly and she was right, it did.
Soon, he was crying, kicking and thrashing around just like everyone else. Maybe not with quite as much gusto, but he was making his presence known.
At night, I usually take at least one baby to bed with me and hold them until they go to sleep. I must admit he was one of my favorites, if one has favorites in this type of work. He had the softest skin I have ever kissed and he smelled so good. He probably weighed about 5 lbs, even dressed in traditional Chinese baby clothes.
The memories I have of him are precious and in my heart I feel as if he was my son. I know CCAA didn't approve this adoption. I know, I never paid any fees and I never had a homestudy, but in my heart he was mine and I was his. Why? Because he didn't have anyone else!