As I at on the sofa in the living room my attention was drawn to the inspirational words on the wall: “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.” Overcome with emotion, I peered down at the baby in my arms and then, again, to the inscription on my daughter’s wall.
God, please give my daughter and her family the strength and energy to meet the challenge of caring for this child.
I tried to imagine the night this sweet baby boy in my lap was relinquished.
Did his birth parents feel they had no other options? Was he born with brain damage or did the malnutrition cause it? Where did his parents abandon him? Why did he end up in a hospital instead of an orphanage?
So many unanswered questions.
Ten thousand babies are abandoned every year in China. One third of these babies, most of whom bear evidence of physical and mental disabilities, die. Parents, scarcely able to afford food and rent are overwhelmed with the enormous task of caring for a child who often requires extensive medical intervention to survive.
Chinese parents highly value their children and only when faced with extreme desperation will relinquish their parental rights. They surrender them out of hope that the children can survive.
In 2011, the Chinese government constructed twenty-six playhouse-sized structures throughout the country in which parents are permitted to legally abandon a baby. These tiny bubblegum pink-colored buildings called “Hatch Houses,” with cheerful artwork painted on the walls, contain a small baby bed and a set of scales. A Chinese official guards the door. After a baby is dropped off he summons a nurse who comes and whisks the baby away to an orphanage.
In my research, I stumbled upon a gut-wrenching video:
In the dark of night, parents, along with extended family, exit a taxi. The mom, her baby swaddled in a blanket, lovingly cradled in her arms, disappears into the Hatch House. A few minutes later, she appears empty-armed, clutching her stomach, bent over in anguish. Weeping and wailing fill the still night air as she rejoins her family. Holding each other up, they all despairingly shuffle back to the taxi.
Most of the questions about the baby boy God chose for our family will never be answered. It must be enough, for now, to trust that God had a plan, and in his perfect timing and provision implemented that plan so that one tiny, helpless baby could be saved.
He placed our kids in just the right place at just the right time to become a forever family to an abandoned baby boy from China.
The transition from Fairfax, Virginia to Guangzhou, China had not been easy for their family. There was the language barrier, adjusting to living on the forty-third floor of a high-rise apartment building, the horrific traffic, shopping, finding a church…… Without their van for the first few months, taxis became the chief mode of transportation, adding yet another stress. The addition of a Chinese baby to their family of six, understandably, had not entered their minds.
About a year into their three-year China stint, a nurse friend from church who worked in a Chinese hospital, called. Aware that our daughter, Amanda, had recently provided temporary respite care for a Chinese Down’s Syndrome baby, fostered by a family in their church, she asked if they would consider taking a baby boy for a few days while they searched for an appropriate place for him.
As is often the case with special-needs children, a few days turned into months. The entire family grew to love the special baby with no name. He certainly did not lack for stimulation and flourished in this loving and caring family environment.
A few months after he arrived, we made our first trip to China. What a joy to watch the interaction between our four grandkids and their new foster brother. All they had to do was walk into the room and he lit up.
“Hey there Buddy, want me to read you a book?”
“Sweet boy, do you want to play with your musical school bus? Of course you do. That’s your favorite toy!”
Yep, it took no time for him to win our hearts, too!
At nine months, he still weighed under ten pounds. His digestive system, due to months of malnutrition, barely functioned. His feedings, tedious and difficult, consumed much time in the beginning. Unable to have bowel movements on his own, an enema needed to be administered every other day.
After he turned two years old, the Chinese government made the decision to make him available for adoption; but after receiving a picture from the social worker of what appeared to be a cute, healthy baby, the government decided they wanted him back. Once they realized his physical and mental disabilities, they quickly changed their minds.
And to think, we thought the sole purpose of their move to China was for our son-in-law’s work. We were wrong. God knew long before their move that this tiny, fragile baby, most likely abandoned on the street, would grow their family of six to seven. Trusting God to provide strength and wisdom to care for this boy, they said YES!
This “joy boy” makes us all smile. He turns five years old in August and still doesn’t talk or walk, but definitely, a lot whirls around in that brain. His atrophied muscles have improved greatly from regular physical therapy; a diet designed for his specific needs has healed his digestive system. Enemas are no longer necessary.
He loves music, reading books, and watching Baby Einstein. Also he is crazy in love with his family.
He insists on feeding himself. Even though he’s unable to vocalize it, I am quite sure what he is thinking.
I do it all by myself!
After a meal, the kitchen appears to have been host to an ugly, middle school cafeteria food fight!
The baby without a name is now known as Hudson Taylor Turk, named for one of the first missionaries to China. His family affectionately refer to him as “Our Little Huddy Buddy.”
Hudson underwent major surgery in November 2016 to fix his dislocated hips. Not even a full body cast for six weeks robbed him of his sunny disposition. The doctors agree that with increased muscle strength his chances of walking are possible. We are confident that one day soon he will prove those doctors right!
I believe the song, “Oceans,” by Hillsong says it all:
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Our twelfth grandchild’s physical and mental capacity remain unknown, but the joy and delight he has brought our family more than offset the challenges. He may be a special-needs child, but he is just simply “SPECIAL” to us.
Regardless of what lies ahead, I have no doubt that his parents will continue to allow the Spirit to lead as they trust without borders.