Monday, September 7, 2009

August 16: Chest X-Rays

Princess wouldn't lay down to sleep. The only thing we could compare her to was a dog who was too afraid to roll over and expose its chest. She slept sitting up on Jonathan's chest. Her body was tense and in the morning she ramped up the crying again. The only thing we could do was hold her tight. The note we got from the orphanage said she took one bottle of formula. When we took her to breakfast and she saw all the food, she threw her bottle and opened her little mouth like a bird. At 16 pounds, she was tiny, but ate more than we did combined.

Our next stop was the Beijing medical center. It was recently approved by the US consulate to give medical exams to orphans immigrating into the United States. Princess was one of the first patients. Since her skin test was positive for TB, she needed a chest X-ray. Once the x-ray was taken, we were shuffled into a little room and the radiologist showed us the film.

I immediately saw cloudy crisscross veins on her x-ray. We stood around the x-ray as our guide Susan, talked to the radiologist. Every once in a while, Susan would break out of Mandarin to tell us what was happening.

"The radiologist says she 95% sure she does not have TB," Susan told us. "But she won't sign the form."

They argued for another hour, pointing at each other, pointing at us, pointing at the baby who stared blankly into space. Still talking at breakneck speed, Susan called the orphanage. The radiologist talked to whoever was on the other line. They hung up and argued some more.
Nearly two hours went by. Then, suddenly, Susan led us out of the room and into a cab.

On the ride to the notary office, where we would sign papers that would legally complete the adoption, Susan explained that the orphanage knew her x-ray would be cloudy. In fact, the surgeon who performed her open heart surgery, noted in a report that she had extra blood vessels, not TB. If we could find that report, the radiologist would sign the form.

We met four other families at the notary office. We all signed the papers together. What should have been an absolutely joyful day, we clouded in confusion and sadness. We once again got into the cab and went to the orphanage to pick up the report. We were not allowed inside, but we were met by an administrator outside the gates. Susan and the administrator started arguing.

Even though I couldn't understand what they were saying, I knew she didn't have the report. I stared at the orphanage. It was massive. We'd heard there were 600 children living there. But I'd double or triple that number.

In China's eyes, Princess had American parents. But according to the United States, if she didn't have a negative TB certificate, she could not enter the country. She was in fact, a child without a country.

I knew if she had to pass through the gates and go back into the orphanage, she would without a doubt, die.

No comments:

Post a Comment