I have the best possible news to report: we got a call from the hospital today - Q's Hep C test came back negative.
Needless to say, the relief is bigger than any words. After a week of dark days, I can't tell you how it feels to be able to look at that happy little face and not feel like crying inside.
I would be jumping and crowing with joy were it not for the fact that there are others out there who have not had good news. No report yet as to how many tests have come back positive since the screening began here in Denver, but I know that if I were one of those people (or their loved ones) consigned to a lifetime with this disease thanks to the thoughtless actions of an addict, I would want those who were luckier to show respect. So while my joy for the sake of our daughter is bigger than the universe right now, I still feel the shock of those lives that have been affected by this nightmare.
I feel really at a loss for words to express how grateful I am for the health of our happy, joyful, vigorous, loving child. Instead I'm posting this picture from our adoption week in Guangzhou. Some will recognize this as the infamous "red couch" at the White Swan hotel, where adoptive parents have their first family photo taken with their new child. Of course, we were all a little shell-shocked at this point, not least of all (I can only imagine) little Q. As new parents, no matter how well-prepared and schooled, it isn't easy to wrap your mind around the fact of having a stranger's child placed in your arms, of becoming, in the matter of an instant, a parent to a child that you did not grow in your own womb.
Imagine, then, how much more difficult to be that child, handed to a pair of strangers who look, smell and dress unlike anyone you've ever seen before, snatched from everything that is familiar to you and those people who have cared for you, and carried halfway around the world, to a place where nothing tastes, sounds, smells or looks the same. I can think of it as feeling like some sort of alien abduction.
And yet....the child in this picture, with her then-unrepaired cleft lip and palate, had just been given a second chance. Where her birth parents had been unable or unwilling to keep her, she was given a second set of parents - two people who love her more deeply than life itself, who dote on her, who can't tear their eyes away from her, whose lives revolve around her. Where she was born with a physical condition that would have made life extremely difficult for her in her own country, she was given an opportunity at the best surgereons, the best therapists, the best education. Where she had spent the first 11 months of her life flat on her back in a crib, with limited nutrition and meager resources (though it must be said that she had it better than some, and she did at least have some loving caretakers to help make her into the trusting, joyful child that she is now), she now has the world at her feet - hiking, traveling, swimming, horseback riding, good food (all this, at least, provided the economy doesn't get much worse!) and most of all a family who loves her profusely.
Here in this picture is a child on the brink of a second chance at life. I am so glad that, in giving her that chance, we did not inadvertently expose her to a disease that might have affected her for a lifetime. I don't know how I would have lived with that weight of guilt, albeit unwitting.
My heart is with those who were not so lucky, and as one friend said recently, the world will always be a little darker now that we have come so close to something as nightmarish as this. It will be a challenge not to be fearful after what we've seen this past week. That said, the world will also always be a little brighter, thanks to the gift of this one child's healthy life.
I need to send out a great big "thank you" to all of you who sent such beautiful sentiments and notes. I apologize if I wasn't able to respond in kind, but I've been half blind with worry for the past week, and a lot has gotten away from me. Just know that all that support and positive sentiment from around the world really held us aloft during an incredibly difficult time, and I'm so grateful.
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