Our 2013 China Trip - Part 5 - Our Sweet Li Mei and a Mexican Pool Party

I last wrote about our dinner with our friend Cordelia and her daughter Tong Tong.  Over the weekend we had a chance to spend time with another very special person, our wonderful, sweet Li Mei.  Li Mei lived with our daughter Arden in the Guangzhou orphanage.  She was Arden's protector.  She tried to make sure Arden had enough to eat and protect her from getting harmed in the orphanage.  Despite Li Mei's best efforts, Arden didn't get enough to eat and did suffer some harms before we were able to bring her home in 2006.  But that is another story, and it isn't my place to tell it.  The point is that some people just don't or aren't willing to understand what life is like for  the hundreds of thousands of children living in institutions.  Mike and I often get the question, "do you have enough room in your house for all those kids?"  Children living in orphanages often share rooms with dozens of other kids.  And like many orphans, most of my kids have experienced trauma in their short lives that Mike, I or certainly the people that ask us that question will never have to face.  So, no, we are not perfect parents and, yes, we would like to have a bigger house.  But, like the birds of the air, God takes care of our needs and we are happy to have each other as a family.

Back to China and Li Mei....  Li Mei aged out (under Chinese law, children age 14 and older cannot be adopted) and was never adopted.  But we love her and through a network of relationships God orchestrated, I was able to introduce her to a wonderful family living in China who have made Li Mei their daughter, even if they can't legally adopt her.  They take very good care of her, and it has been fun to see how she has matured and blossomed under their care.

We did a lot of running around Guangzhou Friday, Saturday and Sunday (some pictures below), and Li Mei came to our hotel Sunday afternoon to spend the night with us.  We had found out the hotel was having a Mexican fiesta at the pool Sunday evening, so we took Pryor, Boone and Li Mei to the pool to eat Mexican and swim.  It was kind of pricey, but very much worth it.  The China Hotel has employees from all over the world, including a chef from Mexico, so the food was excellent.  He had prepared all sorts of Mexican dishes and it was fun watching the kids and Li Mei living so large.  But Pryor wanted to live a little too large.  There also was an open bar at the party and when Pryor went to go get something to drink, he asked if he could have some alcohol.  We were later told it is not uncommon for children to drink in China and that Pryor had probably drank alcohol when he was in foster care.  So Mike went and got himself and Pryor a Corona and father and son had their first beer together--JUST KIDDING!!!

This is Li Me with Arden in 2006 when we traveled to get Arden.  The orphanage had helped us arrange a "going away" party for Arden, so we took some of her friends from the orphanage and her school to McDonald's.  That was the first time we met Li Mei.  We knew immediately she was a special girl with a big heart.  On the bus ride from the orphanage to McDonald's, several of the kids got car sick and were throwing up everywhere.  Li Mei was running around the bus, mothering all the sick kids and cleaning up their puke.  The picture above was taken when the party was ending.  I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but Li Mei had been crying very hard.  She thought this was the last time she would ever see her precious Huang Shan (Arden's Chinese name).  What Li Mei didn't know is that God had a different plan, and I suspect Arden and Li Mei will stay in touch for the rest of their lives.

Here are some pictures we took running around Guangzhou over the weekend and during our time with Li Mei.

Our guide John was really good to us.

This is Alex, one of the international employees at the China Hotel I mentioned.  Alex is a very nice young man and is all about customer service. He lived in the U.S. until age eight and then moved all over the world with his parents. Now his Mom is living in the U.S., but he still moves around a lot working for the Marriott. I can't recall all the places he has lived, but I remember him talking about Israel and Switzerland. Quite a life for such a young man. This picture doesn't do him justice. My girls would have flipped over his good looks!


Tell me Alex doesn't look like my nephew Eliot.

One morning, I waited and waited on the French Toast.  I don't think the Chinese really understand how to cook some western dishes.  The cook just kept playing with it, but it was never going to get done.  Finally after about 30 minutes, I whined to Alex and Voila!, he brought me this!



I love this picture of what I assume is a Mom and her daughter out shopping.


In case you're wondering about the umbrellas and what was a very nice day, the Chinese (especially women) are very protective of their skin and do not like to get tanned.

Our lovely Li Mei.


Li Mei enjoyed the Mexican party.  She enjoyed breakfast the next morning too.  She told me at breakfast that she had never had a "fancy meal" like that.


No Pryor, this is not for you.


Mike enjoyed the Mexican party too.  Maybe a little too much.