Guest Author - Mindy Graham
I am late writing this article. I am fully aware of this and I do greatly apologize. It has also been pointed out that there is a lack of content for birth parents – stay tuned it will come.
I experienced what I consider a personal loss today, one that expresses the intense urgency and importance of adoption. Especially special needs adoption. I hope not to sound like a broken record while talking about mental institutions and five year olds, but I find myself unable to write anything else this week.
I do my best to stay very actively involved in various projects and adoption communities and two years ago I received word of a girl named Alina, but who went by Dasha. She was tiny no where near the size of a normal two and half year old and she was still bottle fed. This girl had no health condition outside of down syndrome.
There was a burst of excitement for this girl a small battle waged on. We did not find her a family and other causes came to light and she became just a file on my computer. One I happened upon several time, one that made me smile with her platinum blonde hair and ice blue eyes.
In fact I happened upon that picture last week and for some reason this time viewing that picture was different. I felt an urgency to do something. It had been years I tried to calculate how old would be now.
“Five, she would be five”
My heart raced in a way I can’t explain as I thought “the transfer age is five”.
This country doesn’t allow photolisting and there is no public viewing of available children. I had to inquire with a friend of a friend who has contacts at that orphanage. A woman who I am sure has the kindest heart but her blunt and uncomforting response left me floored.
“Dasha the girl you inquired about died two weeks ago.”
I have no way to know how she died, if she was sick, hurting, if she suffered. I will never have these answers.
All I can know is there was a girl who I knew of, who I looked over when families were searching for their children, a child I didn’t do justice to.
I have struggled with this for over a week now, and friends have comforted me reminding me that it isn’t my fault and their was little I could do here thousands of miles away.
Someone has to take responsibility for that girl, someone has to love her enough to grieve for her.
I grieve for sweet Alina, sweet Dasha.
While I am certainly advocate for saving these kids *before* they ever get to the institution this is my first real expierence with the results of them. I had seen pictures of children who had passed away from “questionable” causes before and pictures of children suffering within the walls of these places. But never a child I had seen a picture of, one who I saw a video of in a swing giggling as she threw stuffed animals on the floor hoping someone would place them back.
None that had touched my own heart.
I invite you at this time to go to the adoption forum. There you will a letter that I wrote to Dasha herself (to late).