“Aunty, look!” The vivacious three-year-old dragged his Aunt Sharon to the tattered cardboard box by the door. In China, the hospital is the place to go even for vaccinations. Timmy’s routine visit to the clinic that day would prove to be life-changing for one small boy.
Sharon crouched by the box. A baby boy, perhaps a week old, covered with mosquito bites, managed a weak cry. Timmy wrinkled his nose – the baby was long overdue for a nappy change. Sharon immediately bundled the child into her arms, feeling as she did so a protrusion on his back.
Marching to the nurse’s desk, Sharon demanded an explanation. The nurses knew of the baby, it transpired, and had been feeding him every few hours for the past two days. Sharon then asked to see a doctor to determine the cause of the lump on his back, and also called me, her Australian friend, a foreign teacher in the city.
I wasn’t much help. “Sharon, you are so kind. I wish I could help … but life is busy…and we’ve got to think long-term. I think you should take him to the orphanage.”
I held the receiver of the phone at a distance as Sharon’s voice blared out. Apparently, she thought that babies with handicaps were not likely to survive a bitter winter at the orphanage. Already late summer, any prospective future there for this child would be short. She was probably right.
“I’ve seen this baby already,” the pediatrician said as soon as he laid eyes on the child. “His parents were obviously very poor peasants. He wasn’t born in this hospital. I doubt his birth was ever legally registered, and they almost certainly gave false names when they came to us. I told them that expensive surgery would help, but it isn’t a cure. The baby has spina bifida.”
Waiving his usual fee, the pediatrician wished Sharon well, and my kind friend left the hospital with not one, but two children, neither her own.
Six years have passed since that life-changing day. Retired friends took the baby into their home and hearts, while other friends contributed money for the necessary surgeries.
The great Hebrew leader, Moses, was also once placed in a box by parents who had felt unable to care for him. For this reason, Sharon and her friends named the baby ‘Moses’. Both boys had later been rescued by good-hearted strangers.
Little Moses started school this year. Although he will never have full bladder and bowel control, in every other aspect, he is a healthy little boy. Musically, he is quite exceptional, and his adoptive parents have great hopes for his future.
Moses, the ancient leader of old, went on to lead his people to freedom. Only God knows what the future holds for his young Chinese namesake. Nobody will be surprised to see him one day become a strong leader amongst his people – the people of China.
Note: ‘Sharon’ and ‘Timmy’ are pseudonyms. ‘Moses’ (‘Moxi’ in Chinese) is his actual name. This is a true story.