Parents’ love for their children is like a fountain that never dries up. Children growing up in typical families are showered with love. They the apple of their parents’ eyes. But you’ll never know what a child given up by her parents goes through in her earliest years.
How could you have the heart to abandon her?
On a bitter cold winter night, a young couple with a little swaddled baby in their arms sneaked in front of a hidden wooden house bathed in soft lamplight. The woman slipped into the house with the baby, and the man stayed out there peeking around. In no time, the woman swept out of the house and, together with the man, rushed off. A daughter was lost. A 3-month-old baby girl was admitted into a welfare institution. The baby was named Qin.
The first time mama Zhou approached Qin, she saw the tiny body curling up in a rocking chair, her little mouth sucking at her right hand. Zhou bent down and talked to her. Qin stared at Zhou’s face, pulled her hand out of her mouth and babbled “Oh, oh”. Zhou scooped the baby up into her arms, touched her cheeks softly, babbled back to her, and amused her with rich expressions….
“Qin, you are a pretty little princess. I will take care of you and give you as much love as I do my own daughter. I will celebrate each of your progresses and nurture you into a healthy, happy and independent girl,” Zhou said to herself.
How could I help you feel safe?
Zhou learned that Qin, suffering from binaural atresia, is deprived of hearing skills. There would be a very long way to go before she develops attachment and shows affection. “It’s ok. Everything will be fine,” Zhou thought.
One day, Zhou took Qin to the activity room. She looked around with curiosity. Zhou put a baby rattle in front of her, shook it slowly and then put it in her hand. Qin dumped it instantly. Zhou failed in her first attempt to build a relationship with the baby.
In the days that followed, Zhou held Qin in her arms, talking to her, singing her nursery rhymes, repeating her names, and putting her little hand on her vocal cord to feel how it vibrates when producing sounds. Then one day, when Zhou talked to her as usual, she looked her in the eye and smiled, for the first time ever. Zhou was thrilled. Once again she put a baby rattle in the baby’s hand, and then, held her breath. One second, two seconds, three, four… ten. The baby held it for ten seconds. Great job! But then, crash! Zhou heard her heart thump. Before she even had a minute to celebrate, her hope was shattered. Qin dumped the rattle on the floor, again, not interested in any sounds it produced.
As usual, Qin kept swaying her body when sitting and shaking her head when sleeping.
Zhou was grieved. “Qin, what should I do to make you feel safe?” she said, eyes brimming over with tears.
Now that you are healthy, I will let you go…
Days wore on. When Qin was over 1 year of age, she learned to sit, roll, stand with support and then walk independently. Like a seed spearing out of the earth under warm sunshine, she began to blossom under Zhou’s nurturing care.
2019, Qin sits without support
One day, seeing Zhou’s lips move up and down as she talked, Qin slowly reached her hand up to feel them. Looking at the baby girl’s crystal clear eyes, Zhou softly opened and shut her mouth while writing “妈…妈”in her little palm. Qin seemed to get it and murmured “ma…ma”. At that very moment, Zhou was overwhelmed with excitement and joy. With tears welling up in her eyes, she gave the girl a thumb-up. “Nice job, Qin!”
Zhou believed that Qin would grow up healthy, happy and confident. She needed a home with a loving dad and mom. It would be the best place for her. “Qin, you don’t need me anymore. I have to let you go,” Zhou told herself, with a bleeding heart.
Will you call me mom again?
In August 2019, Qin was enrolled in Chunhui Family Program. Under the loving care of her foster parents, she began to flourish.
2020, Qin and her Chunhui mama
In the activity room, every time Zhou opened her arms wide, Qin would toddle over and plunge into her arms with a big smile. At snack time, Qin and other kids sat around the table enjoying nice fruits. When Zhou came over, Qin would put a piece of apple to her mouth while murmuring “mama, mama”. For Zhou, it was the sweetest apple she had ever had. “In her eyes, I am always her dearest mom,” Zhou thought to herself.
2020, Qin is learning about fruits
As time goes by, Qin has transformed from a tiny, helpless baby into a caring and loving adorable girl. Now, every day, she shows affection for her Chunhui mamas when they are around and waves goodbye when they leave. In the activity room, she enjoys exploring her beloved toys and is always ready to share.
“I am more than glad to witness each of her progresses. And I will try my best to make more happen,” said Zhou with pride.