I’m at the airport Starbucks waiting to board my first of three flights which is a fucking day of travel that will drop me in my hometown some time tomorrow. While I’m waiting I thought I’d share about our visit to our local institution.
Last weekend we had out first visit at our local institution. To complete the program and obtain our certificate to adopt we need to do two of these visits. The second one had to be canceled due to flu outbreak. When I come back to Japan, we can do the second visit. I suppose this process is never quick and easy right? The children’s home has two classes for children 2 and 3 years old. They separated Mamoru and ,I and both of us stayed with our respective class the whole day.
The woman in charge of the floor introduced the children to me. At first the children didn’t want to go anywhere near me or talk to me. One of the workers suggested we play with one of the boy’s toys. Each child has their own toys that were given to them as Christmas or birthday presents. There are also lots of community toys which belong to the institution that the children share. It was during this time that two children in particular started to warm up to me. They started to play with me and talk to me. By the time the children had to eat lunch and have a nap, they were clinging to me asking me not to go (even though Mamoru and I were just going to have lunch). In the hall as we collected our things, I had a small cry. I kept saying over and over again “I don’t understand”. I don’t understand how anyone could abandon a child. I don’t understand how anyone could hurt these children. The woman who gave us the orientation weeks ago warned us that we shouldn’t fall in love with any one of these children as because many Japanese parents refuse to relinquish their parental rights most institutionalized children cannot be adopted. Well by lunch time it was too late for me because I had already fallen in love with my class and one child in particular. She reminds me so much of my niece. She’s spirited, silly, and full of joy. By the end of the day, she was my best friend.
After lunch Mamoru and I went back to our classes. We helped with the children’s snack time, we folded clothes, and we dried the children’s hair after their bath. My best friend wanted me to dry her doll’s hair more than her own. After snack, the children played some more, had some outside time, had a bath, and got in their jammies for bed. The end of the day was the hardest part for me, and I’m sure the children as well. Two of the children in my group wanted to be held before they would let me leave and they would barely let me leave. When Mamoru and I were walking and talking about our day, he said that the oldest girl in his class said to him “You’re never going to come back.” I just couldn’t and started to cry again. It was the most heartbreaking thing I had ever heard. I think some Japanese parents can be so disgustingly selfish. It makes me so angry that they would hold on to the parental rights of children they don’t wish to take care of. I think that once the children become institutionalized these rights should be automatically severed. At least then the children would have the hope of a better life. I’m not saying that the institution doesn’t take care of them. In fact, I was incredibly impressed with the amount of care and individualized attention each child gets. However, I still think a loving family is the best place for these children. The institution actually reminds me of a preschool. It’s structured as such I think.
Anyway, this was such a beautiful but incredibly difficult experience. I imagine the next visit with the babies will be equally so. At this point I am adamant about adopting from our local institution first. I think it might be a long wait but it will undoubtedly be worth it.
That’s all for now. I’ll check in with you again once I’m in The States. Be well.