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.