Thursday, November 6, 2008

A miracle day

Today, Leah, our guide from Holt, offered to take us to the "finding place," the place where our children were found. For us it was a subway station on the outskirts of Beijing. Quinn was found at Exit B of the station, which is small and fairly quiet. I was so happy to have such a specific location and wanted to go there and take a picture so Quinn would have it. This is the picture I hoped for, and it alone would have fulfilled my expectations for the day:

As we took pictures, a crowd gathered around us. Quinn, who is a first-class ham, put on quite the show: He smiled, laughed and even stuck out his tongue and blew raspberries at the teaming masses:

While Quinn entertained the crowd, Leah asked the station guard if there might be anyone around who remembered the day Quinn was found. He didn't, but told us where to find the station director. She had only worked at the station for less than a year, so she didn't know anything either. But she took the time to coo at Quinn and pose for pictures with us:

She told us to ask at the police station inside the station, because that is where babies would have been taken. So off we went:

Within minutes, a guard walked up and greeted Leah very enthusiastically. He was there the day Quinn was found at the station, and remembers him well. He told us Quinn had been taken from the substation to the main police station for the area. And amazingly, he said there might be a file on Quinn there, maybe with pictures. Here is the guard:

We hopped into a cab and drove to the police station, where the commander was out front waiting for us with a big smile on her face. She had just gotten a call that we were on the way. Not only did they remember Quinn, she said, but they did, indeed, have pictures.

She quickly ushered us inside and into a small office. A young receptionist inside saw us walk in and she started pointed excitedly at Quinn and then at her computer. She motioned us to come behind her desk. And within seconds the big face of tiny Quinn, at five days old, filled her screen. Then she pulled up an amazing shot of his whole body, laying on a small bed covered in a blue-and-white blanket and wrapped in the white sheet and orange blanket he was found in. He had on no baby clothes, which I had been so sad to read when I first saw it on the updated child information we were given during orientation last Saturday.

As she scrolled through the document I saw a file and asked Leah if we could get a copy of the photos and the file. They said no to the file, but did agree to let Leah copy its contents - and download the photos onto a memory stick she happened to have with her, God bless her. Tom asked if we could take a picture in the police station, and the commander said we should take a picture with the officer who brought Quinn from the subway station. Wow. She made a call and within a couple of minutes in he walked, carrying a steaming bowl of noodle soup. He greeted Quinn and pointed to the adjacent room where he first brought Quinn. Tom peeked inside and was shocked to see the very same blue-and-white blanket still on the bed. Quinn was due for a diaper change anyway, so I asked if we could use the bed - which provided a perfect opportunity for a photo op: (the officer who picked up Quinn from the subway station and brought him to the subway station is below the picture of Quinn.)

As we left, after trying our best to express our deep gratitude, Leah shared with us the contents of Quinn's file. On June 14, 2007, at 9:35 a.m., a 40-year-old woman approached a guard at the subway station and told him she had noticed a bag. She led him to a large, zippered canvas duffle bag like the ones everyone in China carries and he heard noises coming from it. He rushed to the bag and unzipped it, to find a five-day-old baby - wrapped in a sheet and a blanket but with no other clothing - tucked inside. When he turned around, the woman was gone. She may have been Quinn's grandmother, meaning his birth mother may have been a teenager or young adult. Having a baby at 40 would be very unusual in China, and not being at all ready for it (Quinn had no clothes when he was dropped off) would be even more unusual considering how very familiar everyone in China is with the one-child policy.

Learning his story fills in some blanks, and raises some new questions. It makes sense that a young girl wouldn't have baby clothes, and it might explain the rare choice to give up a boy, which are treasured in China. I had assumed his birth mom was unable to raise a child with a birth injury, but instead, perhaps she was unable to parent because she was a child herself.

Here is Leah translating the file for us:

I can't describe how grateful we are for the indescribable gift of learning a bit about Quinn's history - and even having pictures of him on the day he was found. Leah was amazing today, and her determination, along with the willingness of person after person to to help us, was truly astonishing. This is a morning we will never, ever forget.

As she dropped us off at our hotel, Leah turned to us in the cab and said, "I think this was a miracle day, guys. It was." Man, did she get that one right.


Lindsey's mom said...

WOW! How lucky you are to have that is what some many of us wish we had. You actually have facts to pass on to your son! How wonderful...better get started on that life book. I am so happy for you!

Sara said...

How blessed are you??? Yes, what a miracle!!! Boy, your trip keeps getting better and better :-) That is so so neat that you were able to go back to the spot where little Quinn was placed....I don't think any words can describe how the two of you must have felt..and still do! That is a chance of a lifetime! Wow! I think I read your entry at least just gives me goosebumps reading his path to you step by step..and the wonderful people you had the privilege to meet. So Special!! Just think about all this information you now have to share with your son one day...not to mention the pictures of the caring people who held him and brought him to safety. Definitely a miracle and blessed day!!! I don't think any other day can top this one :-)

Mell said...

I am just sitting here bawling my eyes out with my little saying "mommy, what you crying for?" How can I explain? I can't tell you how fortunate you are to have such PERFECT information for a PERFECT little boy! I have NEVER read of something like this happening and I have been reading about Chinese adoptions for 3 years now,,,many of them! What a true blessing and I know you will cherish it forever!

Jill said...

I completely agree, we were blessed beyond measure yesterday and I will never, ever, ever lose sight of that. I am so very grateful that we will be able to help Quinn fill in those all-important gaps!!!! Thanks to you all for your beautiful words - I appreciate you all so much I can't even say!!

Paula Perry said...

wow thats truly amazing, i am so pleased for you that you got to learn about his history just a little bit.
I am sure that in the future he will also be really glad of that day, as you can tell him all about it when he gets older. So cute.

Melissa said...

What an amazing day that you had! I sat here and cried as I read this post, and what a gift you, your husband, Quinn, and the people that have traveled the journey with Quinn when he was just 5 days old - were all offered. Thank you for sharing this with your readers, and for your honesty and candid posts! It is making me so much more anxious to get to Beijing and get our son too!

The Beetner Family said...

First, your son is beautiful! What an amazing smile. Congratulations!!!

What an amazing story! You are so blessed to have so much information. I was in tears reading about your day I can't even begin to imagine how emotional it must have been for you and your husband. We know so little about when our daughter was found, you will have many more answers for Quinn. To be honest I wanted them for us as much as I wanted them for our daughter, Molly.
I love your blog and will add it to my favorite blog link list on our blog, if you don't mind. We just placed our application with Holt's China's Child of Promise program yesterday for our second adoption. We did not use Holt for our 1st adoption and had a great experience but chose them this time for this program. Hearing about your day made me feel even better about choosing them this time around, Thank you. I am so glad I found your blog and look forward to watching Quinn settle in at home during the long wait that is ahead of us.
Enjoy every moment of your China trip. Our trip holds some of the best memories of my life and I think with your "miracle day" yours will too.

Jill said...

To the Beetner family (and others): I can't recommend Holt highly enough. Honestly, there were times when I questioned our decision, like when everyone else in the Yahoo groups I belong to was sending stuff to their kids and I couldn't. But I swear, every single little tiny thing here has been planned and handled for us. It's SO low-stress. Our Holt guide has arranged trips to Super Wal-Mart so we could get diapers and the formula they use in the orphanage, she rented a small bus and took us to the Olympic Village, she took us to a children's indoor playground, she arranged tour guides for us to go to the Temple of Heaven. EVERYTHING we could have wanted she either anticipated, told us how to do it or arranged it for us.

All our rooms, many of our meals, our orphanage fee and just about everything else was paid in advance - even tips to tour guides! It all has gone off without a hitch, and honestly could not be more pleased with them. I know you will be, too!