So it has been over a week that Liam has been an official Stevenson. International adoption is a crazy process because it combines adding a member to your family with going on a stressful vacation. We spent 3 days in Beijing sightseeing, then a week in Liam's province, then almost another week in Guangzhou where the U.S. Consulate is. You are crammed in hotels, shuttled through airports and train stations surrounded by a language you don't understand and you days are filled with new experiences. In the midst of all of this, you are trying to get to know a special needs child and help them understand you are their new parents.
I know, I'm probably selling it well. There are actually a wide variety of experiences. Some are very difficult. Our son's province was a larger city with lots to see and do in a few days. People from around the world choose to visit Xi'an because of its historical significance. We had Subway, Pizza Hut and KFC mixed in with all the Chinese food. Our hotel was larger and the breakfast buffet had some western options. Some families go to provinces with harsher weather, not much to see or do and no American food. Some families have children with very significant needs or that go through significant grieving as they transition to their adoptive families. We have been incredibly blessed so far that Liam has had the energy to go on sightseeing trips and hasn't shown us much in the way of grieving.
He is a sharp little guy. He knows a few letters of the alphabet, numbers 1-10, colors, shapes, is amazing at puzzles and I feel he is on track with some help to have a good year in 1st grade. As for his heart, we will have to wait and see what doctors say. He is a well behaved little boy but behaviorally like a 4-5 year old. We are working on him not touching everything in a store and not having to touch the face of every kid in our group. He hasn't had a ton of boundaries because in an orphanage, there wasn't much he couldn't touch. We are working on that but mostly we are just playing with him, wrestling, tickling, and learning all about him.
There have been families here who have had a much harder time and I ask that we all continue to pray for them. People have said that Liam (and all these kids) are so lucky. I know that those who say that mean well but they aren't lucky. They were born with a major physical disability that led to them being abandoned by parents who most likely loved them deeply but could not afford to keep them. Many of them (some go to foster families) were raised in an institution where they never knew the love of a family. They never had anyone to call "Mama" or "Baba". Many of them had surgeries and laid in hospital beds alone with no parents to hold their hand or pray over them. Then kids like Liam watched their friends one by one get adopted and leave while they waited. Now, he leaves the country, language, culture and everything he knows for the great unknown of life with us in America. Yes, now Liam is blessed that he was chosen off the waiting child list and he has a family but it was not a lucky road to get here.
So we are taking home an amazing little boy. But we are leaving so many behind. I pray every night that all of them find a home. This process wasn't easy but I don't want to live in a world where I have seen orphans and done nothing. Will we do this again? Hopefully. I know we will keep advocating and helping others adopt. In the meantime, we will be loving this little guy as best we can.
Here are more pictures from our trip.