Of Hand Me Downs and An Abandoned Baby in a Box

Almost six years ago, the boy who shares the same school bus stop as Cody was put into a box and abandoned in a stairwell of an apartment building in Siberia.  By his own mother.  He was thirteen months old at the time.  I learned this yesterday over a cup of coffee with his adoptive mom, one of our neighbors after she offered me a couple bags of clothes her son outgrew and I offered her a cup of coffee.

She told me of her divorce and her want of a child and how Russia is one of the few countries that allow a single individual to adopt a child.  She told me of a videotape one of the two orphanages in Moscow send her of a blond haired blue eyed two year old and how she called the next day and said “I’ll take him” and of how crushed she felt when they told her that he was no longer available.  He had had a visitor.  (If a child in an orphanage gets even a short visit from any of their family members they are removed from the list for nine months to allow any possible family interest to expand into actually wanting to take the child.)

The next referral, or child, they told her about was the boy who now waits at the bus stop with Cody four days a week.  I will call him Val.  Val is in the first grade so is one year older than Cody but when he talks I can understand very little of what he is saying.  I always thought that he had some sort of a speech delay but now I know that when he came to America at the age of three and a half he had no true language.  His role models for speech were the babies at the orphanage.

We talked of many things over that cup of coffee.  Our fears, our hopes, the great big dreams we have for our children.  I told her of Cody’s cerebral palsy and his growing realization that he is different from his peers.  She talked of Val’s unwillingness to interact with his classmates and how challenging it has been to overcome the language barrier.  We talked of how heartbreaking it is to have a child who is different be treated as such.  I can’t believe I have lived down the street from this woman for the past seven years and never knew her.  I can’t believe that this little boy Val, a little babe left in a box for someone, anyone to find, ended up coming halfway around the world to live just a couple doors down from us.

What a story.  What a chance.  What a life.

About Shoes

I am an elementary school teacher, a former microbiologist, a mom to a herd of two boys, and a grilled cheese sandwich and beer connoisseur.
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31 Responses to Of Hand Me Downs and An Abandoned Baby in a Box

  1. A child being abandoned is so heartbreaking and unimaginable, isn’t it? I worked in a treatment center for children with severe emotional problems for six years. The percentage of children who came there who were adopted from orphanages in Eastern Europe/Russia was extremely disproportionate – it takes a strong, understanding, and patient parent to work with these kids through trying times. I recently was witness to a child being taken from her mother by Child Protective Services — it was heartbreaking but so were the conditions the child was living in. I think of these innocent children who have no choice of what family they are born into, but I am so thankful there are people out there who welcome them with open arms. And it makes me thankful that, despite my problems, I was born into a loving family. I am glad you and your neighbor have found each other.

    • shoes says:

      Child abandonment is very unimaginable to me. I was on the edge of my seat listening to her story. I am glad to have met her after being her neighbor all these years.

      When I was in junior high, my mom (who was a first grade teacher) brought home one of her first graders to stay with us during winter break. This girl’s mom was in rehab and her mom’s boyfriend was in jail for domestic abuse. The various school teachers took in the children during the holiday. The little girl slept on a cot in my room and wet her bed every night. I can only imagine what her daily life was like. I quite often find myself wondering where she is and what she is like as a woman now.

  2. What a sweet story indeed. Thank you! Don’t regret the seven years it took to start this friendship. Just cherish the friendship.

  3. Randy Palmer says:

    Life is amazing…and all four of you are on different, yet intertwined journeys. This is just one of many interesting tales along the timeline of life. I will be interested to hear more in future posts as these journeys unfold. Thanks for sharing.

    • shoes says:

      It is pretty intense the paths we take and how they bend and intersect with the paths of others in our lives. You never really know where your travels will take you, do you?

  4. Alex says:

    That is really heartbreaking! It hurts me to hear of his story. I am glad he has found a wonderful parent. I am also glad you have found each other as friends

  5. Jodi Stone says:

    What a great story! It’s amazing isn’t what happens when we just take that first step. Perhaps you now have a friend for life. I hope all your dreams come true for your son and your friend’s son as well.

  6. What an incredible story! There are so many challenges we face as our children grow up. At least we have love to give to help them to succeed and rise above it all! 🙂

    • shoes says:

      While there are many challenges with raising children, I think as long as we love them and respect them as indivduals they have a good chance at success. That sounds like a nice blanket statement I just made but it is much harder on the day to day to keep that in the the back of your mind, always. I forever think there is something more I should be, can be, need to be doing for my children that it sometimes drives me a bit nuts!

  7. Nancy says:

    Incredible story. I wish the best for that little boy and his mother (adoptive). There are so many challenges. You just never know who you are going to meet and how their story will touch you. Thank you for sharing.

  8. The Waiting says:

    The world is indeed a curious, strange place. Everyone has a story, and when I hear those stories, I’m always a little amazed at the circumstances that bring others into my life.

    • mommysaidaswearword says:

      I couldn’t agree more. Great post. Thankful for my child, and our luck in having been born in our place in life.

    • shoes says:

      I am fascinated with the hidden stories we all carry with us and show to the occasional person. We are all so much more than what we show. O.k. I am having crazy comment issues – this is in reply to The Waiting. 🙂

  9. Jeanna says:

    awwwww this post is slam full of hope, how beautiful. 🙂

  10. Gems says:

    Heartbreaking to hear that this happens but Val has a wonderful happy ending in that he is with a mother who truly loves him and will do all she can for him. Just as you do for Cody. You have found an amazing person to forma friendship with. All my love and hopes for the future for everyone xxx

    • shoes says:

      Thank you Gems. I truly feel proud to have Val’s adoptive mom as my neighbor – what an amazing woman she is! I am glad to have found her and have found such a connection with her.

  11. Hetterbell says:

    That is very touching. I have to say after reading this I feel really glad for Val that he now has the hope of great opportunities in his life. I hope for good things for him and for Cody and for all of you. 🙂

  12. Wow, there are so many emotions coursing through my veins. I can’t imagine that poor little babe abandoned. I know what it’s like to have a child that’s different (CP as well) and what it’s like to hope and worry for their future. But that fact that all of our children, Val included, get a chance at a life filled with love is an amazing outcome.

    • shoes says:

      Raising kids is such a complex thing especially when you throw into the mix a special need or a far from perfect beginning like Val’s. If you can give them a foundation of love and stability, at least in my opinion, a lot of the rest will fall into place.

  13. Maiya says:

    I truely believe there is a reason you have met and at this time not earlier. This is an heartwrenching story. Thank you for sharing it my friend.

  14. Maiya says:

    I truely believe there is a reason you have met and at this time not earlier. This is an heartwrenching story. Thank you for sharing it my friend.

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