Maire is, quite simply, a beautiful child. She peers back at me from the pages of each monthly report with a stare as deep as the ocean between us is wide. Maire entered our Loudi foster care program in January of 2009 at about one year of age. This transition was quite difficult for her as she was extremely shy and distant and grieved heavily at the loss of her previous caregiver. Maire had suffered a seizure as an infant but hadn’t had any repeat occurrences. However, she didn’t make attempts to move about and play and didn’t seem to want to use her hands. I worried about this beautiful girl with the profound gaze.
Yet as each month passed, I saw a slow and gentle blossoming. Maire began to attach to her foster mother. She started to play with her toys. Her hands became more useful.
She longed to be held. She took her first steps. This tender-hearted sweetheart was emerging from her shell with gentle encouragement from her foster mom.
Today, Maire still prefers to stay very close to her foster mom. But she ventures away a little more independently these days. She likes to go on strolls through her home and is increasingly willing to give a shy smile to our monitor, Grace. She holds snacks in her hands and investigates them with interest. And just this past week, when Grace said, “Maire, shall we go for a walk?” Maire looked at her with deep gaze, then confidently took hold of her hand and walked out the door into the sunshine. Yes, blossoming she is…
Melissa Widenhofer is the Loudi Foster Care Co-Coordinator. She lives with her husband and three children in Maryland. Her youngest child was adopted from Hunan, China in 2005. She is honored to be able to serve the children still waiting through LWB.