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Hello, Guangzhou.

May 17, 2014

Today was our first full day in Guangzhou.  The first item on the agenda this morning was to take Haven to the medical exam.  As expected, he shed lots of tears during the exam.

There were tons of other adoptive families at the clinic while we were there.  I loved looking around at all of the newly-formed families.  Most of the children who had come for examinations were girls who were very young.  But, not all of them.  There were a few boys there.  And we even saw a few older children as well.  Each family looked completely different than the next.  But, they were all equally beautiful.

We have already met several wonderful couples along this journey so far.  Each of them has a different story to tell.  And I’ve loved hearing them all.

One couple is from San Antonio.  They have been waiting SEVEN YEARS to adopt!  Seven years, people.  They are first-time parents.  I can only imagine what they are thinking and feeling now that they finally have their child (a 2-year-old girl) in their arms.

One couple adopted a 9-year-old boy.  They found him on a shared list and their only son (who is also 9 years old) saw his face and told them that he wanted this little boy to be his brother!!  So, instead of pursuing a young girl (as they had originally planned), they followed this prompting from their son and adopted this sweet 9-year-old boy.  Now, they have “twins” : )

One couple adopted a 12-year-old girl who is wheelchair-bound.  They have three biological children…one of whom is 12 years old.  Apparently, those two have hit it off, and their parents have been thrilled to see it.  They said that it was very tough for their daughter to say goodbye to her foster home.  After spending 12 years of life there, that is completely understandable.  It was so great to see her smiling today and at ease with her new family.  How frightening a transition like this must be on someone her age.  But, clearly, her parents were there for her – ready and willing to help her through it.

And another couple, who we met last night at the airport, just adopted a 2-year-old girl from Haven’s province of Guizhou.  They said that she was in a loving, Christian foster home.  And when the foster parents found out that their foster daughter’s new family was a Christian family as well, they were overjoyed!  They were telling me about how hard it was to watch the foster parents say goodbye to this little girl that they had grown to love so much.  But, at the same time, it was very comforting for them to discover just how much she had been loved and cared for during her first two years of life.

When you come to Guangzhou, adoptive families can be seen everywhere.  This town is the pipeline through which every U.S. adoption must flow.  The American Consulate is located here.  They are the ones who issue the visas for these precious kiddos to come home to the U.S.  I’m looking forward to meeting more new families in the days ahead, and being blown away by one story after another.

After the medical exam this morning, we explored the area with our guide.  She showed us several nice dining options as well as some shopping options as well.  We stopped for lunch at a Mexican place.  It was SO good!  I didn’t think I would be having Mexican food on this trip….and that thought greatly saddened me!  I love me some Mexican goodness.  So, finding this restaurant, and discovering that the food actually DID taste like Mexican food was a real treat.  Mom and I had to laugh at one point about the fact that we were sitting in China…eating Mexican food…listening to American music being played overhead….watching the French family next to us order their food.  It was a collision of many nationalities.

We’re looking forward to exploring this area even more in the days ahead.  We don’t have anything on schedule for tomorrow.  After the craziness of yesterday and this morning, I’m ready for a free day.  And I had forgotten just how HOT it can get here.  It’s so humid, hot, and sticky here.  Very, very different from Guiyang.

Our hotel is really nice.  The lobby is amazing!!  Tonight, they hosted a Muay Thai wrestling exhibition in there.  It appeared to be a classier, Asian version of WWE : ) That’s the best way that I can describe it.  We watched it for about 15 minutes or so before heading out to dinner tonight.

I am also told that there is a garden area here on the hotel grounds that we need to see.  Supposedly it is beautiful, and is a great area for photos ops.  Their breakfast buffet here is just as large as the one in Guiyang….maybe larger.  So, we will continue to start our days off with a nice, big meal.

Haven is doing well.  Sometime soon, I plan on sharing more about his physical condition.  For now, I will just say that it is clear to me that he does have OI.  He has a blue tint to the whites of his eyes.  I can actually feel some curvature in his thighs and his arms.  His body is very small.  His legs are very weak.  He can’t stand on his own and he can’t crawl.  All of these things lead me to believe that his initial diagnosis was correct.  We were holding on to the hope that he might just be suffering from Rickets.  But, now I don’t know that we can hold on to that hope.  I’m looking forward to getting him into the hands of the right doctors so that they can help him grow strong and healthy….and get him on track developmentally.  As of right now, he is functioning (physically) about as well as a 9-month-old child.

He is showing us his personality more and more each day. We are discovering that his moods shift very quickly!  He can be completely distraught one moment, and belly-laughing the next!  And he still shuts down sometimes when we are out and about.  Sometimes the openness and the strange sights/sounds cause him to just go limp and rest on my shoulder – not wanting to look at anyone or interact in any way.

Slowly, but surely, we’re making progress.  We will just continue to take it one day at a time….

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