From Chicken Soup for the Father & Son Soul

He’s My Son

My husband, Michael, and I were considering adopting again. I had three older children, and Michael and I had adopted two beautiful little girls. This time we were thinking of a son. We searched various online adoption sites and decided it was time to call our caseworker.

“Hi,” I said. “We’re contemplating adoption again. Would you be able to visit us to update our home study?”

“Sure,” she replied. “As a matter of fact, I have a file for a nineteen-month-old special-needs little guy from China. Would you and Michael be interested in seeing it?”

“Man, that’s fast, but, yes, we’d be happy to look at it,” I answered for both of us.

My husband was at work when the file arrived. I opened it and gazed upon the sweetest little face, a face that I knew belonged to our son. I sobbed as I held his picture to my heart. When Michael came home I was quiet. I didn’t want to tell him what I was feeling and influence his decision. I simply handed him the file. He opened it, and when his eyes fell upon the enclosed picture, tears streamed down his face. “This is my son; this is my son,” he whispered.

I immediately placed the happy call. “He’s the one. Let’s go for it.”

“Cool! Let’s schedule a time to meet and get the ball rolling,” the caseworker said. We began the paperwork marathon, which seemed to take forever, but before we knew it, we were in a hotel in China.

We were called to our guide’s room and our son, whom we named Mason, was brought to us. He had arthrogryposis. Both hands were balled into fists and hung limply from his wrists. He had little or no bicep muscles, so his arms would not bend at the elbow. His right leg was scissored against his little body, and both feet were clubbed. But our hearts were filled with love as he was placed in our arms.

“Hello, son. We’re your mommy and daddy,” we said. He didn’t cry, but he didn’t smile, either.

We took our precious blessing back to our room, bathed him, and decked him out in new clothes. He still didn’t smile. We played with him, but he remained unmoved. Crying would have been better than the numbness we thought he was showing. We fed him and changed him into soft, new pajamas. Michael gave Mason his bottle and he fell asleep on his daddy’s chest.

Michael sat and held him for a long time. Then he put him into his crib. “I don’t think I can do this,” he said. “Why isn’t he responding to us like Michelle did?” (Our youngest daughter was also adopted from China. When she was placed in our arms, she cried for a solid hour, but after she was bathed, dressed in a new outfit, and we had played with her, she started smiling and talking. Our domestically adopted daughter, Mackenzie, has been with us since her birth. We had never experienced detachment before.)

“Things will be different tomorrow, you’ll see,” I said. While Michael showered, I knelt by the bed and prayed for my new son and his daddy.

The next morning when Mason realized we were still there, he smiled. Now he knew we weren’t going to leave him. Michael roughhoused and played with him and he laughed and laughed. As I watched the two of them together, I couldn’t hold back the tears.

What a pair those two are today! Mason has undergone several surgeries and much therapy. He’s walking and running now, and using his hands to feed himself and throw balls to his daddy. He’s super smart, loves to give hugs and kisses, and he’s a definite chatterbox, too.

Recently, we were hiking a woodland trail and Mason was ahead of us. Michael nodded toward him and whispered to me, “Look, he’s my son.” Then he said, “You go, champ!” Mason beamed from ear to ear.

Sherry Honeycutt Hatfield

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