Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Gift Comes Via E-Mail

I have so few photos of our XiXi pre-adoption.  There were 6 that were given to me by the orphanage and 3 that I found on someone's blog.

Last week, I got an e-mail with the subject line, "I Have a Surprise for You!".  It was from a friend who adopted a teenaged boy from Kunming only about a month before we met XiXi.  XiXi and this boy had been in the same "family" in the orphanage.  Evidently, this young man has been in e-mail contact with some of the workers and teachers from the orphanage and one of them asked if he'd heard anything about XiXi.   He wrote back that XiXi's mother knew his mother and that he followed our blog.  He took some photos off of our blog and e-mailed them to the teacher.  The teacher was thrilled to get them, and then sent an e-mail (with attachments!) in response.  The mother forwarded it on to me.  What a priceless and wonderful surprise!

This is our XiXi, just before his second birthday.  I wouldn't have thought it possible, but I think his cheeks were even more squeezable back in 2009!

This photo was taken two months later and explains XiXi's reluctance to get out of his pajama pants each morning.

Further evidence that he wore PJ pants all day long.  He saw this picture, pointed to the pants and yelled, "Cars!"  I get the impression they were his favorite jammies. (I'm basing this on the fact that he didn't scream "apples" when viewing the PJ's in the previous picture.)

I've cropped down this photo and the next, since I don't know the little friend pictured with him.  They were taken a year ago.  He looks so happy, doesn't he?

As wonderful as these pictures are, my favorite picture was a group photo of the children in his orphanage family.  It was taken in 2009 and XiXi was the youngest by far, with most of the kids 10 and older.   Of the 11 kids in the picture, I know of only 4 who have been adopted.   I remember meeting several of them when we toured the orphanage.  One of the girls sobbed when she heard we'd spoken to her dear friend and orphanage sister, who is now living in the U.S.   She missed her so much.  This girl was already 14 and too old to be adopted.   What a different life for these two girls.  I cried too. 

When XiXi saw the picture of the kids, he got a huge smile on his face and looked at it for a long time.  He whispered some names in my ear, but mostly he just called them "big sister" or "big brother".   One of the girls, a ten year-old who is now with a family in the U.S., told her mother that,  "XiXi was treated special."  That's certainly the impression that I got and also what I've heard that from everyone who knew him there.  "XiXi was spoiled," or "XiXi was the favorite."  I'm so glad that he was well-cared for, but it's also bittersweet, knowing that that wasn't necessarily the case for some other children, especially the girls.  No matter what, an orphanage is no substitute for a home.  

I'm so very thankful that XiXi is home.


val said...

What an incredible "gift" for you! It certainly brought tears to my eyes!

Laura said...

wow, the internet is a remarkable thing! I'm so happy for your family, and that the kids in and from Kunming get to maintain some contact with eachother and their caregivers. I seriously love your blog - I never know what you're going to post about next!

Jessica said...

This just makes me love the internet more. Now out of curiosity - when you say the 14 year old is too old for adoption - is it simply b/c she is unlikely to be selected at the older age, or is there a rule with Chinese adoptions that makes her ineligible now?

Eileen said...


Yes, by Chinese law, once a child turns 14, they're too old to be adopted.

April said...

What a truly priceless gift those early photos are for both you and XiXi. I know how much we treasure each and every early photo of Hailey. It is clear from each shot what an amazing spirit your son has. Resilient rascal, indeed.

Amy said...

Eileen, these unexpected gifts truly are treasure!

We have been blessed with some of the same in the last few months and there just are not words to describe how precious these photographs are to us...

I'm so happy for you and XiXi to have these special images of his past.

(((Big Hugs)))

Julie said...

Eileen, what amazing connections you have made with this adoption. What a special gift to you and Xixi!!

Kelly said...

I'm diggin the apple PJ bottoms.