An Ancient Chinese Proverb says…”An invisible RED THREAD connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of the time, the place or the circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.”
On April 1, 2003, I received a packet from WACAP with the profile of my daughter, Ruan. I was immediately drawn to her and felt the connection as she was pictured sitting in a field of flowers, with pretty bows in her hair, holding a basketball. I knew immediately, without a doubt, that my daughter was waiting for me in Xinxiang, China. On April 4, 2003 I was matched with Ruan and began the last leg of my journey to bring her home.
A dear friend and colleague had adopted two daughters from China. He described the process as a “journey,” and he was so correct. My journey began on New Year’s Eve of 2001. I was home, alone, watching the festivities in New York City on television. There were several commercials that year about adoption and one must have reached my soul because I decided then and there to start the process of adopting a child. On January 2, I contacted Family Services and submitted a form to begin the 18 month process. Over the course of several months, I attended seminars, meetings, etc. to learn about the options for single parent adoption. All arrows pointed toward China, and after I read the book “The Lost Daughters of China,” I was certain that my daughter was waiting for me there.
I decided that a toddler-aged child was the best fit for me. Being single and not interested in an infant aged child, it became clear that international adoption was my best option. Also, because I was interested in a child between the ages of 2 and 6, my child would be called “special needs.”
One of the many forms I had to fill out was to check the different physical/psychological conditions that I would accept in my child. I found this process to be very difficult. I do remember checking a box that indicated that I would accept a child who had been burned, which is what my daughter’s “special need” happened to be.
After 18 months of processing, I was given permission to travel to China to bring Ruan home. My very good friend Charlene traveled with me. She is the mother of two children and I found her to be wise beyond her years during our two week stay in China. Charlene says that she became “the help” the moment I held Ruan…and she was right. I wanted to make sure that Ruan was as secure as possible with me and wasn’t confused as to who her mother was…and with Ruan being 3 ½ at the time I was afraid to let go of her for a second…she was quick!!
Ruan’s profile described her as having slight burn scars. It turned out that she had sustained a traumatic burn as an infant, before she was abandoned at age 9 months. We will never know exactly how she was burned, the doctors here believe that her clothes must have caught on fire.
When Ruan came home with me, she had already undergone surgeries in China for her burns and most likely to save her life. The extent of the scars lead me to believe that she and I are very lucky that she survived such a horrible accident.
Since coming home, she has had surgery every year, mostly to release the scar tissue around her left arm to allow for full range of motion. It hadn’t occurred to me that scar tissue doesn’t grow like “regular” skin. We have an amazing surgeon who specializes in pediatric burn treatment. He travels world-wide lecturing on his procedures and he always tells us what a “hit” Ruan is with doctors everywhere, especially in Asian countries!
Ruan has handled every one of her surgeries with amazing strength and courage. She is much better at coping with them than I am. Having to watch your child being wheeled away into an operating room is a very difficult thing to do, and I am not getting better at it, even after 10+ surgeries.
My daughter is blossoming into a beautiful young woman. I truly believe that she was kept on this earth for a very important reason. She has enriched my life beyond my wildest dreams and I am truly blessed. She used to call me her “mommy from the heart” and we are truly living proof of the “red thread proverb.”