Tonight, I finally come to the subject of the last but certainly not the least of my three children, Ethan Frederick Zhiqing.
In late 2006, Marc and I decided to adopt one more child and complete our family. We knew that we were open to a child with certain special needs. The series of events that turned out to be our red thread to Ethan is documented here. After referral, we waited for 10 long months, all the while seeing his sad little face just waiting for a family to see as his own. Ethan had the most beautiful face with huge soulful eyes that always had at least one tear in every picture. I was so worried about our son. I feared many things. How was he doing since his heart surgery, how was his development and how was he being treated?
Most of my worst fears were realized when we met and adopted our son on October 29, 2007. Shock was the real word for what we felt. It was obvious our son had been severely neglected and his actions mimicked autism due to his experience in an institution where he suffered neglect, lack of exposure to the most basic developmental experiences and lack of any real stimulation. That truly was the scariest time of my life and quite honestly it was hard to see what the future might hold for all of us.
Now here we are over ten months later; the fear was soon replaced by resolve to help Ethan which then evolved into a plan of action that involved lots of therapy and a great deal of time each day for many months and is still ongoing. Ethan has evolved into a happy and healthy boy well on his way to the type of life that we hope all of our children will have.
Here are a few fun facts about our Mischief Man ~
Ethan has taught all of us great lessons in courage. I know that I was less of a person before he came into my life. I was afraid of what having a child with such issues would mean to my comfortable life. What I learned is that your love, patience, endurance and limits are stretched and then they expand to accommodate your new reality. When patience wears thin I remember that these moments are precious whether they are easy or not. Having Justin taught me that, having Katie taught me that and having Ethan reinforced it all over again in a tremendous way.
Our children are simply gifts on loan to us temporarily. I understand that lesson now and I so appreciate Justin, Katie Starr and Ethan, our amazing gifts.