Last night while I was making dinner, Matthew walked into the kitchen carrying two toys and looking very proud. It wasn’t the fact that he was clutching a few toys that got my attention–it was the particular toys he was carrying. They were a small bus and a green toy cell phone. Those toys have something in common–Jason and I took them to Korea and gave them to Matthew as a bribe to make him like us small gift the first time we met him .
He has never assigned any special meaning to these toys. Shortly after coming home, they were tossed into a toy bin and are used intermittently and without any sign of attachment to them.
Last night, while he walked around with the toys he was also babbling. Not talking–babbling. This is something I haven’t written about here, but sometimes I think he is trying to speak Korean, or make sounds that resemble Korean. He was saying “go-gee-goo, go-gee-goo”. I firmly believe that when he does this, he is trying to mimic some of the sounds he has heard on a video that his foster family made for him.
So I’m connecting the dots between the toys he is carrying around and the “Korean” he is speaking, and I decide to ask him, “Matthew, when did you get those toys?”.
I fully expected him to ignore me or to make something up. He’s not the most open and communicative child. But he said, “I got them…..Umma’s house”.
You could have knocked me over with a feather. He remembered, and he remembered correctly. We gave those to him 15 months ago at his Umma’s house.
Then I asked, “who gave those to you?”.
“uh……uh……Umma gave to me”.
Matthew lived with his foster family for 2 years. During that time he was doted on, hugged, cuddled, kissed, bathed, fed, loved, and sung to an innumerable amount of times. The entire family poured themselves into him–his happiness and well-being were their main concern. While he may not remember everything that his Umma did for him and gave to him, those acts and her love for him are imprinted on his very soul. However, aside from pictures, he doesn’t have a lot of tangible things that he can identify as being his, from that time in his life.
So, as he looked at me proudly and told me that those items were a gift from his Umma, I did what any mother would have done.
I said, “you’re right! Wasn’t that nice of her?”.
I can at least give him that.