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Lions Roar : May 2010
“Whatever child?” “yes. Whatever child.” I want to say all those things like, “It isn’t fair,” and, “Why us?” but I already know the answers to those questions, that there are no answers. this is our fate, our journey, our path. and somehow, miraculously, it works. the little boy they called us about a few months ago is available again. “yes!” we say, eager to meet the child who is destined to be ours. But when they come to our house to tell us about him, the information is sketchy at best. “do you have a picture?” I ask. no picture. this astounds me. Japan is the land of the camera—how could they not have a picture? “are you interested or not?” they ask. they’re not messing around with this child. He’s suffered enough. “We’re interested,” we say together. and for the second time in my life, I get down on my knees and pray. Mothering Zen WE vIsIt yuto in the orphanage for hours, days, weeks, months. finally we can bring him home for an overnight. then, finally, we can bring him home forever, just after his second birthday. We go to a playground where he can see the bullet trains passing overhead. at the playground, he comes up to the other kids and wants to play with their toys, or play ball, or play with them in general. He likes to hold hands. He wants contact, touch, closeness. Because he grew up in an orphan- age where everything was communal, he misses it. He has no concept of personal ownership. the first time we give him ai-ai, the stuffed monkey we’d brought to take with him in the car—he tries to leave it at the orphanage. We have to convince him that he can keep it. He’s never had a single thing of his own. He is the opposite of other kids, who have to learn how to share. He brings his own toys to share, but the other kids don’t take much interest in them. I don’t want to try to make sense of things like this, or explain everything to him. He’ll learn. I want to cut a path in this crazy forest of life with him. sitting Zen. Walking Zen. Playing Zen. mothering Zen. It’s all practice, and we have a lifetime. But my aunt doesn’t. I want him to meet her before she dies. so we bring him to san francisco. He loves his seven-year- old cousin shaviv, but he cannot pronounce Sh, so he calls him Habib. my sister tells me Habib means “friend” in Hebrew. We see a homeless man with a cat on the street in front of macy’s on union square. the cat has been hit by a car and the man needs money for its hospital bills. Everyone rushes by the man and the cat, but yuto pulls my arm, insists on petting the cat. then he sits down on the pavement and tries topickupthecattohugit.Itellhimthecatishurtandhe shouldn’t touch it. so he pets it instead. now people stop to look at the little boy sitting on the sidewalk, blocking their path. some mothers pull their children away. a photogra- pher stops to take a picture. others put money in the basket. more children come to sit by his side. somehow, he brings together the splintered worlds of My mother ordered a cake for Yuto decorated with Pokemon. He devours the cake, which says: “Mazel Tov, Yuto. Welcome to the Tribe.” 70 SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2010