It was two years ago this Thanksgiving weekend, Jody and I traveled to Guangzhou, China to bring home Jackson Graham. He was a shy, timid little boy who had an electrifying smile. We will sometimes sit and reminisce in the quietness of an evening about the first night we had him and how difficult it was for him and for us. It was simply emotionally draining for all as he struggled with losing everything he knew – a room, a bed, a blanket, a handful of caretakers and most meaningful, his orphaned friends. Within a few months of his departure, all of his friends would be adopted by loving families. Over the last twenty-four months, Bo Bo, as we often call him [a name he had in the orphanage], has made some incredible strides – blending into an already blended family, learning a new language, making new friends, excelling in school, learning about Jesus, finding his place into a busy-active family and so much more. He has adjusted well. And, even when he seemingly struggles with something, Jody, our encourager always says, “give him six more months.” Somehow, someway, he will always conquer his struggles or fears in that amount of time.
Today, Jackson is a thriving first grader who loves everything about life. He has learned to write and read, speak English fluently and does a lot of it, has made new friends, learned to ride his scooter and bike without training wheels, dives and swims in the deep end of the pool, loves to draw, color and staple… staple… staple… and so much more. And just when you think you know him well, you experience something brand new, never seen nor heard before. Such is what happened last week. Jack loves to sing. You won’t find him singing in public or in front of us – he’s too shy for that. But every morning he wakes up smiling, happy and singing. The other day as I heard him singing, I quietly approached his room to hear what he was bellowing out – “London Bridge” it was. However, his words were not in English, they were in Chinese. In two years, we’ve never heard him sing in Chinese, except right after we brought him home. What a joy it was to hear him resonate words in his native language.
Jack has gone from having a handful of medical issues to medically erasing almost every physical malady. The hole in his heart is healed, his hernia has been repaired – along with some other “plumbing” issues, and his eye-sight has gone from 20/400 to 20/60 with the continued hope of allowing him to have near perfect vision. Why have we invested all of this time, energy and yes, money – something that not everyone understands? Why do we pour so much into the lives of these kids day after day? The simple answer is – to give them HOPE. Hope to excel, hope to do some amazing things, hope to serve and worship God whole-heartedly one day. On this Thanksgiving weekend, we open our eyes and see so many things to be thankful for – including one little boy whose world has been dramatically changed and one day, will have the opportunity to change the world around him.