Nico (a volunteer from Germany) and Phil (one of the social workers) picked us up in the orphanage's van and drove us over to the Boys' Home. When we pulled up and got out, there was a group of people (and a couple of little boys) outside. I scanned the faces and didn't think any of them were Hudson. They walked us into a small room, and there he was! He was sitting on a blanket with a few toys, playing by himself. He barely looked up when we entered. Matt immediately got down on the floor and started playing with him. I think I was a little in shock. I took some pictures, but it took me a minute to process it. This was our boy! In real life!
Immediately, I noticed some sores on his head. There was a place on his head that seemed swollen. I was concerned. The "momma bear" in me was a little angry honestly. Within a few minutes, the main social worker came in and visited with us. She addressed the spot on his head and said that they are much better and that he had been under a doctor's care. I felt better pretty quickly because they addressed it directly. She also asked what we wanted to know about him, and we said everything that she could tell us. So, within minutes of meeting our boy, we were hearing parts of his story. I was desperately trying to memorize every detail, knowing that these pieces of information will be precious to our son one day. But I was also heartbroken learning about his story. Truly sad that he ever had to leave his first family and experience such loss and trauma.
I was with this precious boy, this precious life who will soon be placed in our hands, and I was heartbroken about his first 2 years and 8 months of life. I also was given the impression that his coming into our family will not be an easy adjustment for him. I prayed. My eyes filled with tears. Deep in my soul, I cried out to the "Father of the fatherless", the one who "sets the lonely in families". I feel so unworthy, so inadequate to enter into his life. Yet there is a deep, rising LOVE for this precious boy that was instant, the moment I found out about him. It's overshadowed my feelings of concern. Matt and I shared a couple of glances. We wondered if we are "cut out" for this. If we are strong enough. If he would ever acknowledge our presence. ;)
As all of these conversations are going on verbally, all of these internal shifts happening, little Hudson has barely looked at us. He hasn't spoken. Has barely moved.
I finally ask the social worker, "can he walk? does he talk?" and she says "oh yeah!" and starts talking with him in Thai. He starts identifying different animal toys and answering her prompts to pick up different things. He got up and walked across the room to get a book, and we saw the first glimpse of his personality. (Or maybe the withdrawn, reserved Hudson is his personality too. We will know eventually.) I try to get him to sit in my lap while I read him a book, but he wasn't interested. It's okay. I know these things will take time. I don't want to scare him or overwhelm him. I'm a stranger to him. He has no idea I am his mom. At one point, P'Nan walked out of the room, and he cried. An intense cry that was honestly a relief to hear and see. More evidence of "life" within him.
After a little longer in this small room (which we found out he had never been in before), we went outside to go to his area of the orphanage. He took Matt's hands walking down a few stairs, and he let Matt carry him across the grounds. Matt was gracious and passed him off to me after a little while, and I was thrilled when he let me carry him the rest of the way to his lunch area. Then I got to sit with him and feed him lunch. He is a good eater and definitely seemed more comfortable surrounded by his friends and nanny. His nanny asked him to tell us the names of all his friends, and he did. There were 5 other kids with him that day. There are usually 10 in his group. We had already been told that he loved this nanny very much, but seeing it was a different experience. I felt a strange mix of feeling thankful that he has this close attachment but also sorrow to know I will take him away from her in the coming weeks.
Matt had some sweet moments of connection with him after lunch. We stayed in his area of the orphanage for a little while until it was time for his nap. They took us to the van and said they would come back to get us in a couple of hours.
We went back to the hotel and found Tyndall and P'Nui. We were anxious to tell Tyndall about his brother and show them pictures. We also started majorly coaching Tyndall about Hudson being pretty reserved and how he needed to be reserved at our visit the next day.
We all went to the area mall for lunch together. Even though it was just a local mall, I noticed some differences in Southern Thai culture compared to what we're used to. I was trying to soak it all in but also trying to process the last couple of hours. Such an intense and powerful and wonderful morning. And we knew we would get to see Hudson again in just a couple of hours!