|The part of the wall across the road was
very crowded so we came over here and
had the wall to ourselves.
Caleb and I probably would not have done sight-seeing in Beijing this time if we had not had Britton with us. But it was so much fun having him there! Last time it was winter and there was not a stick of green anywhere. We found the city much more appealing this time. We were also blessed with incredibly good weather (mid 70s, whereas it had been in the mid 90s for weeks) and incredibly rare air quality. No one was wearing masks, which is nearly unheard of. Thank you, Lord!
Highlights of our two days:
*The Great Wall
*Pedicab ride through a historic Hutong lane
*Kung Fu show
*Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City
*Amazing lunch at a local restaurant
*Traditional Peking Duck dinner
|Pedicab ride through a Hutong lane
|All sorts of creepy-crawlies at the Night Market
available for consumption. We selected scorpions.
Below is a video of Britton eating his scorpion. You will also witness me dropping mine because it appeared to move. I contend it did. For the record, we bought another skewer and I did eat one, as did Caleb.
|Can you tell I want to throw up
Nanjing is a beautiful former national capital city on the Yangtze River, and now the capital of Jiangsu province where Graham is from. Unfortunately, due to a Chinese holiday, we had two less days there than usual and two more days in Guangzhou at the end of the trip, so we had almost no time for sightseeing. June 15, 2015, is the day we met Graham, but not until 2 pm. I was feeling very nervous. We distracted ourselves by crossing the street to the Confucius Temple, which is one of a handful in China devoted to his memory. It was a maze of well-kept old buildings turned into shops and a very pleasant place to stroll around. Britton had some souvenir money absolutely burning a hole in his pocket and thankfully, he was able to make a purchase: a Chinese instrument called a Hulusi. After three years of tin whistle at Classical Conversations, Britton was able to seamlessly transition to the Hulusi. (I can hardly type this with a straight face. The Hulusi is like a tin whistle + nails on a chalk board. And we shared a hotel room for two weeks.)
|Britton haggled like a pro with this shop keeper.
|Brit’s selfie with Confucius
Forever Family Day
|This picture pretty much sums up how
Graham felt about us at first.
Five families with our agency, Holt, and three Dutch families with another agency, all met their children at the same time and location. Graham was the last to arrive. He was led in by the orphanage director and his favorite caregiver was waiting in the wings. He let me pick him up but was very tentative and serious. Eventually his caregiver came over and put out her hands to him and he gladly went to her. I was wishing she had not done that because I could see it was going to be hard for him to come back to me. But as I saw her nuzzle him and kiss him and wipe away her own tears, I realized that my prayers had been answered. He had been loved and I was so, so grateful. I could never begrudge her a final goodbye. Thank you Yuan Nai Nai (Grandma Yuan) for loving my boy. He did cry when he returned to me, but it was a stoic, controlled cry. He stopped and started three times in the 90 minutes we were there. And then he’s never cried (apart from fussing at bed time and the aforementioned incident on the plane where he was completely exhausted) again.
|My sad, terrified boy. It was heartbreaking,
but he bore it so well.
|Snacks were key to helping him calm down.
The next day we returned to sign papers and make the adoption official. The orphanage director gave us a gift, a beautiful plate with the name of Graham’s city on it. She also gave us her contact information and asked us to send updates on him. She said she would like to send us all of the pictures she has of Graham. She proceeded to scroll through her phone and showed us many pictures of him with his friends. I could see how deeply she cares for the children, and as I’ve gotten to know Graham more and witness how emotionally healthy he is, I am certain that he was in a very loving place. Through an interpreter, I feebly attempted to thank her for taking care of our son until we could get to him. I could scarcely get the words out for the lump in my throat. She said that it was her job to take care of him. I could see though that it was more than a job to her, and I can’t thank God enough for answering this Mother’s prayers.
Part II: Guangzhou, our amazing adoption group, and HOME SWEET HOME!