A Future and a Hope

Working as an orphan advocate, God has put some really wonderful people in my path. Many of these people have a strong calling from the Lord to minister to the orphans and widows; warm and generous hearts, always willing to embrace one more; bedrock faith in the Lord’s provision for each adoption, each child; certainty of His sovereign hand in placing each lonely orphan into a home. As believers, they pray through every decision, and then walk forward in faith, trusting that the Lord will open and shut doors as He sees fit. Again and again we have seen the truth of Proverbs16:9- “The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.”

Such is the case with the family who hoped to adopt A Bai. Eager to follow what they saw as the Lord’s plan for their family and for this little girl, they began adoption proceedings with every intention of bringing her home as their daughter. After an unforeseen event occurred, it became clear that would not be possible. While they grieve that she will not be theirs, they are as willing to follow the Lord in this unexpected fork in the road as they were in moving forward to adopt A Bai. They trust, as do I, that God has another family prepared for this sweet girl.

With that in mind, would you please prayerfully re-read my previous post on A Bai (seen below) and consider if you might be her family? Would you pray for her; that God’s plan for her life would very soon become apparent? As I was praying about it today, He brought to mind Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” I can’t wait to see the future and hope that He has in store for her!

Here’s her story again-
After my last post, many of you inquired about A Bai, the little girl who constantly asks me when I am going to bring her a mother, and who gazed into my eyes and said, “I love you, because Jesus loves you!” A Bai’s story is long and heart-rending, but I pray that after you hear it, many of you will be moved to advocate for this little girl, storm the gates of heaven on her behalf, or even (hopefully) adopt her. :)

When A Bai first came to the orphanage, I think most of the volunteers went home and cried. I know I did. Her history was beyond imagination. From a small, poor village in the countryside, A Bai’s father had been out of the picture for a while. Her pregnant mother apparently tried to give birth alone in their shack, with only A Bai there to help. Both the mother and the wee baby died in childbirth. No one knew about the death, so for three months A Bai lived in the hovel with her dead mother and sibling, scrounging through the neighborhood for food. Finally the stench became so horrendous that a neighbor came to investigate, only to find the remains of A Bai’s family and a traumatized, barely recognizable young girl.

Can you imagine the safe haven the orphanage must have been after such a nightmarish summer? Can you fathom the comfort of having hot bowls of food prepared for you, instead of having to dig through the trash heap for it? Can you feel how wonderful it must have been to go to bed clean and comfortable?

God had still more in store for A Bai.

Three days after she arrived, a young single lady came to the orphanage, intent on fostering an 8 year old girl we knew was there. When one of the kids ran out and told us about A Bai’s arrival, I thought  “She’s going to go home with that new girl, not the 8 year old.” Sure enough, God arranged for this broken little girl to go home that day into a loving, Christian environment where she could begin to heal.

We had no idea at the time that A Bai had a special need, attributing her slightly different facial structure to her being a village girl, and perhaps a minority. At the hospital, while doing the necessary medical check-ups for someone who had been in her condition, a doctor who just “happened” to have studied in Canada and was an expert on the subject approached the foster mother and said, “Did you realize that little girl has Williams Syndrome?”

Through that contact whom God so graciously provided, we learned that some of the symptoms of Williams Syndrom explained not only A Bai’s distinctive look; but also her gregarious personality (she has never met a stranger); quickness to make attachments but slowness to form long-term bonds; impressive long-term memory; difficulty with short-term memory and learning; love of music and single-track mind.

As important as being in a loving home was to A Bai’s healing, I believe the real key was her love and acceptance of Jesus Christ as her Savior. That is one on-fire little girl! With her outgoing personality and joy of making new friends, she has evangelized everyone from taxi drivers to waiters to friends on the playground. Her philosophy of “I love you, because Jesus loves you!” is a driving force in how she relates to almost everyone.

It shows, too. She is such a kind, sweet, affectionate little girl, always ready with a warm hug and an “I love you!” or “I missed you!”

A Bai’s foster family called her Hylah, which means “Hallelujah.” They loved her dearly and their tender care in introducing her to Jesus did much to train her into the precious girl she is today. Unfortunately, after nineteen months, their family dynamics changed, and they could no longer keep her. Try as we might, we could find no one who was able to foster her in their place, so she had to go back to the orphanage.

With her world once again changing drastically, A Bai’s only request of the orphanage was that they please not cut her hair. She had worked so hard to grow it out, and at least wanted control over that small part of her life.

At this point, A Bai has two goals in life- to worship Jesus, and to have a mommy and daddy. Repeatedly she has asked me, “When will you bring me a mommy? Will you be my mommy?” All I can do is redirect her focus to Jesus as we pray together for His will, and that He will give A Bai peace and joy where He has her for this time.

Her little heart is so malleable to His Word. When she comes to me with a problem she’s having with one of the other orphans, I remind her that she is the big sister there, and she needs to show Jesus’ love to them, even when they are not loving her. She readily agrees, and immediately goes over to try to hug them or play with them again.

At Orphan Camp, she was crying because someone she’d hoped would come didn’t. When I reminded her that God had given her many other blessings that day, and could she name some of them for me, she promptly answered “Jesus!” After heartily affirming her choice, I asked what else she was thankful for. Again she answered “Jesus!”

Really, that’s enough, isn’t it?

This week, I asked A Bai “If you could tell people anything you wanted to, what would you say?”

“Thank you,” she replied.

“Thank you for what, sweetie?”

“Thank you for finding me a mommy.”

Bless her sweet heart. Her faith is so strong; she is just sure that God is going to bring her a mommy and daddy. I pray she is right.

A Bai’s birthdate is listed as December, 2003, though I think she’s probably a couple of years older than that. Aside from a preliminary diagnosis of Williams Syndrome (which cannot be confirmed in China unless DNA is available from both parents), testing has revealed no other medical issues. Because she was fostered for so many months in an American household, her English is quite conversant. With her loving nature and friendly personality, I know she will be a joyful addition to any family who chooses to adopt her.

A Bai’s “I love you, because Jesus loves you!” shows her heart towards others around her, as well as towards her Savior. The question is- Will you love A Bai because Jesus loves her?

A generous donor has offered to contribute $1000 towards the adoption agency fee of the individuals who adopt this child.This is just a reminder not to let finances be a deciding factor. If God means for this little girl to be in your family, He will provide!

Xiao Mei- Our Little Plum Blossom

Many of the children at the orphanage come so early that they don’t know what it’s like to be in a family. They have never had a mommy or daddy of their very own. Xiao Mei is an exception.

After her mother died giving birth to her late in December of 2004, her father chose to keep her. Raising her alone in a small village, they lived a simple life together until last February, when Xiao Mei’s father unexpectedly passed away. Truly orphaned, with relatives too poor to afford to keep her, Xiao Mei was sent to our orphanage.

My first impression of Xiao Mei was her eyes, bright with the pain of her recent loss, as she valiantly tried to fit into her new life at the orphanage. Going from living alone with her father in a small village to living in an orphanage with many strangers must have been such a shock, but she took immediately to her new status of jie jie (big sister).

Compounding her difficulty was the fact that she spoke a dialect known as Hakka, rather than the Cantonese or occasional Mandarin spoken by others in her new home. Xiao Mei didn’t let the language difference stand in her way, but threw herself into learning her unfamiliar environment.

A highlight of Xiao Mei’s adjustment came when a volunteer invited her home over the long May holiday weekend. Eager for her new adventure, she walked down the orphanage steps- smiling, waving, and calling “Ba bye! Ba bye!” Once we reached the van, she wiggled until she was hanging out of it, still shouting her goodbyes to the other orphans.

Little did she know what an adventure it would be! As city dwellers, it never occurred to us how many “firsts” this little village girl would encounter on her trip to the metropolis. We casually walked through the subway turnstile and headed towards the escalator; not realizing until Xiao Mei’s eyes popped in fear and she almost fell over on the moving stairs that she had likely never seen such a contraption before. Hand-in-hand, my friend calmed her and got her safely to subway level, only to once again witness her stunned amazement as the massive train roared into the stop. Doors opened, and you could almost see her thinking, “Are you kidding me? You want me to go in there?” Her new friend picked her up, wrapped her arms securely around her neck, and carried her aboard, and Xiao Mei visibly relaxed. Whatever this strange beast she had just entered was, she was safe.

It’s amazing how quickly she adjusted. Before the evening was out, she was confidently ordering and enjoying an ice cream at Burger King…

…and by the end of the weekend, she had her own Disney Princess subway card holder (of which she was prodigiously proud).

Hearing from my friend about Xiao Mei’s enjoyment of her holiday was such fun. We saw her creativity come out in her ability to color and match perfectly. She loves to color, and is obviously a visual learner, easily recalling and copying things she has seen.

Clever and alert, Xiao Mei picked up on the importance of “I love you!” and quickly responded with her own “I OVE you!” which she continued to say throughout her stay.

Xiao Mei means “Little Plum Blossom.” That is the perfect name for her, as she is never happier than when displaying her finery. A girly-girl all the way, she delighted in her new princess dress; dancing and twirling around the house, and pausing often to look in the mirror.

When she was presented with the opportunity to go “shopping” in a thrift store, she shunned practicality and went straight for the accessories. Jewelry was the first order of business, followed by the perfect hat (with flowers and a bow, of course)…

…and then a bee-line for the shoes; where fancy red satin slippers, covered in colorful embroidery, called her name. An elegant handbag was her next find. Only after she had gotten the necessities out of the way could she be lured over to the dresses, drawn to a shiny lavender ensemble.

Although she embraces with little girl abandon having her nails painted or having tea parties…

…Xiao Mei also loves being active. Orphan camp recently gave her many opportunities to enjoy lively play as she slid…

…played in the Zorb…


…and headed up a building block construction project.

Probably it helped that she got to wear a hat for that last activity. :)

Xiao Mei’s zest for life, sense of humor and playful spirit is infectious. When she plays, she goes all out; but she also enjoys her times of quiet coloring or affectionate cuddling. She’s hungry to learn, and recently proudly showed me neat rows of Chinese characters that she had, on her own, been copying and memorizing.

Might God be calling you or someone you know to be the family for Xiao Mei? Her special needs are extremely minor- one leg is very slightly longer than the other, and she suffers from asthma. I’ve watched her learn and thrive in her new environment, and feel sure that she would embrace adjusting to a family and home of her own. Xiao Mei is such a sweet, special little girl- does your garden have room for our Little Plum Blossom?