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When I left off in my first post we had just received Graham, who was so solemn and reserved it broke my heart. Sometime the next day Britton coaxed the first smile from him. He absolutely loves Britton and having him on the trip with us certainly helped ease Graham’s transition. 



Graham’s first flight

The American Consulate in China is in Guangzhou in South Eastern China, just across the water from Hong Kong. All American families must stay there a week to complete Visa paperwork and a medical exam. As I mentioned in my last post, we had two fewer days in Graham’s province than usual and two extra days in Guangzhou. This meant we were leaving on a plane with Graham less than 48 hours after we met him. Thankfully, he did great on the flight, mostly because he was still so tentative, reserved, and unsure of us that he sat still, flipped through a book and ate snacks. He had certainly “found his voice” by the time we travelled home. 

Guangzhou is a pleasant, heavily western influenced, tropical city, and we had a lot of time in between our fixed appointments to explore. The heat and humidity were stifling (95 degrees with 90% humidity) but we tried to be troopers. Graham continued to warm up to us and we saw glimpses of his playful personality. Here is a sampling of how we passed our eight days:

Attending Graham’s medical exam
Visiting the most amazing zoo we’ve
ever been to
Introducing Graham to McDonald’s (which we
never eat at home, but I must admit,
tasted pretty good half a world away).
Bonding with Graham
Strolling around
Working hard for smiles
Visiting the best Starbucks in the world
(a renovated British Colonial Building on Shamian Island)
Doing “real life” stuff (We needed a stroller and other necessities.)
Taking a river cruise with the 20 other Holt families

The time passed quickly and enjoyably, though we were definitely ready to head home at the appointed time! 


Our Holt adoption group 

Aside from meeting our son, the highlight of the trip for me was watching the stories unfold around us. I kept thinking of Psalm 68:6: God sets the lonely in familiesIn our group alone, I saw twenty orphans become sons and daughters. I’m tearing up just writing that. I witnessed families welcome long awaited first children, long-awaited second children, long-awaited first daughters, and a few families like ours that were welcoming a younger sibling with many older siblings. Many of these children have significant medical needs. One child will likely need a heart transplant. One child is missing both his hands and feet. One child is deaf and his new family has spent the past several months learning sign language. He had never had a way to communicate and after meeting his new family he eagerly pointed to every object in sight wanting to learn the sign for what he was seeing. Several little girls had cleft lip and palate which brought all kinds of emotions, reminding me of Rosie. The reality is that these children have little hope and bleak futures in China. But each of these adoptive families saw that these beautiful children have worth and wanted to give them a home where they could grow and thrive and be loved. God bless you all.   

Home Sweet Home
Three weeks home and we’re doing amazingly well. Watching Graham get to know his siblings, begin to understand that we are his people, and become comfortable in his new surroundings has been heart warming. He was terrified of our dogs and chickens (hysterical crying anytime they were in sight) but within three days began petting them. He is seeking out interaction with me and fussing sometimes when I leave the room. (Yay for attachment!) He has many English words already and understands almost all that we say to him. We see more smiles from him every day, though I do think he has a cautious and reserved nature. God has answered every single prayer and worry and fear with His faithfulness. The biggest blessing this time around has been perspective. I understand the journey better, and it is a journey. When I reflect on how far Rosie had come in two years, how far I have come in two years, I understand that this is only the very beginning opening paragraph of Graham’s story. And we all still have so much growing and changing and learning to do. But thankfully there is Joy in the Journey. 
How did I get to be these amazing kids’ Mom?
Brother time
The Williams 5
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