When I met Junru three years ago on his first day in our Infant Nurture Program, he was 8 months old but was so weak that he couldn’t even lift his head.
And when I called his name: “Junru, Junru,” he looked at me, with no expression.
Every morning, when I got to work, I would go directly to his crib, call his name, pick him up, and kiss his forehead. When I gave him his bath, I sang lullabies to him. Soon, he started giving me small smiles.
But he was still very fearful in the toy room. I sat with him by the mirror and talked to him. I pointed out what the other children were doing. I showed him how to play with the little toys. He slowly became more courageous and one day, he picked up a ball and threw it to me, and I threw it back.
When it was sunny, I would take him outside and point out the grass and the flowers. The first time he saw flowers, he reached out his small hands and touched them tentatively. “In the Spring, the flowers bloom,” I told him.
When he was 10 months old, Junru underwent surgery, so I nursed him during his recovery. At that time, I tried to introduce solid food, so he would grow chubbier. At first, he refused and only wanted milk, but after several attempts, I realized that he liked congee. Six months later, he was eating big bowls of congee by himself, and he was a much healthier and chubby boy!
Now, at the age of 3, Junru is an entirely different boy. He calls me ‘mom’ and he loves playing outside. And a new chapter is starting for him. He will soon be joining a foster family in Half the Sky’s Family Village Program.
I will miss him. But I am so happy that he will benefit from the love of a family so he can continue to grow stronger and healthier.