Our 2013 China Trip - Part 6 - How Li Mei Found Her Family

After spending time in Guangzhou with Li Mei over the weekend, on Monday of the second week of our trip we went to visit Li Mei's family.  They fed us a home-cooked meal.  While the fish below isn't my cup of tea (I don't like the food I eat to be looking at me), the rest of it was delicious.


You've probably heard it said (unless you are a total heathen), the Lord works in mysterious ways.  And it is the TRUTH.  A few posts back (Our 2013 China Trip - Part 5), I posted a picture of Arden at her McDonald's going away party.  Some of what I'm about to talk about is on that post, but Li Mei's story is a beautiful illustration of how God does work in mysterious ways, so I want to fill in some of the details.  You'll just have to bear with the parts I'm repeating.

Anyway, the going away party we had for Arden was after she had been with us for about three days.  The orphanage director allowed us to have the party and invite about 20 orphans.  Arden's best friend from her school, who was not an orphan, also came.  I wish all parents adopting older kids were allowed to do this for their new son or daughter.  The party turned out to be GREAT closure for Arden.  We paid to rent a van to take us all from the orphanage to a McDonald's in Guangzhou and back.  Actually, we were traveling with Teri and Mike on that trip too, and they chipped in on the van.  I think that was the first time we all traveled together to China.

Mike took a picture of Li Mei that night (the picture that is on the prior post).  At the time, Mike had no clue what Li Mei's story was.  All he knew was he felt sorry for this girl who was so visibly upset about Arden leaving Chdina.  Mike started to go up and try and comfort her.  But even though Li Mei couldn't speak any English then, as soon as Mike started to approach her, Li Mei was able to communicate non-verbally that she couldn't deal with that.  Not in a mean way, but with a simple but heartwrenching look and gesture from Li Mei, Mike understood she simply did not want to interact with the man who was taking her beloved Arden.  So he walked away.

What I remember most about Li Mei from that night was the way she took care of the other orphans.  In the van, many of the orphans were getting car sick and barfing.  I stood back, but I remember this tiny girl running all over the bus cleaning up the vomit.  I also remember asking our guide to tell "this girl" she had pretty long hair.  It wasn't until a couple of years later I learned "this girl" was named Li Mei and was Arden's very good friend.  Li Mei was several years older than Arden and she did her best to protect Arden in the orphanage.  The orphanage has over 1,000 kids.   Li Mei ended up telling me more stories about Arden's life in China than Arden ever did.  Arden doesn't like to talk about her life there.  One story was how Arden was always afraid ofthe cold.  Orphans don't have warm clothes and most of the orphanages, including the orphanage Arden spent the first 10 years of her life in, have NO heat in the winter

Of course, God's mysterious ways started way before I ever knew anything as cool as what was about to happen was in the works.  Fast forward from when we adopted Arden to a couple years later.   Mike and I were not ready to adopt again, and frankly I had no desire to.  But I had been praying for about three months for God to allow me to help orphans.  One day, I came home and found a hand written letter in my mailbox.  These days, any hand written letter stands out in your mailbox, but this letter really stood out.  It was postmarked from the U.K. and the sender was a lady I had never heard of named Red Chan (cool name, huh?)   Red Chan had somehow come in contact with and befriended Li Mei and was able to track down where Arden was living (with us) for Li Mei.  In the letter, Red Chan told me that Li Mei was trying to find Arden and told me how I could contact Li Mei.  At this point, Li Mei knew no English and I was using Google translate to correspond with her.

Long story short, my friend Ginger told me I should contact an American she knew of living in China who she thought might help Li Mei.  This woman is very wealthy.  She is also very generous and did help Li Mei.  This generous woman had a friend who also was living in China and has a huge heart for orphans.  She and her husband took Li Mei in and have become Li Mei's Mom and Dad.  They have taught Li Mei what a family is.  Li Mei now speaks very good English, since she has been living with Americans.  God had and has a plan for Li Mei.  I'm glad he let me be a part of it.


This is Li Mei.  Her new family had this picture taken.


Mike, Li Mei and me at her family's home in China.  Li Mei has gone to college, works and now lives with her family in China.


Li Mei's Mom, Nate (Li Mei's brother) me and Teri.  Nate is one of the most beautiful children you can imagine.

Nate is Li Mei's brother, and he belongs to Li Mei's new family.  He speaks perfect English and Mandarin.  He is half Chinese and half black.  He is as cute on the inside as on the outside.  He is ADORABLE and super smart.

At one point, Boone was using a pogo stick in the house.  I told Li Mei's little brother I needed to have Li Mei tell him not to.  He said, "I can tell him."  I forgot he not only spoke English, but Mandarin



Do not drink the water in China!  Li Mei's family paid to have ice delivered to their home, much like we would have a pizza delivered here.

We spent the day with Li Mei and her family.  First, they sent a driver to pick us all up at the hotel and drive us to Li Mei's house (about an hour from our hotel).  Li Mei's Mom and Dad had a home-cooked lunch (prepared by a Chinese cook) waiting on us.  This is the second trip we were able to spend the day with them, and it is always a blast.  Later that evening, the driver took us back to our hotel.  I don't think any white people drive in China.  At least I've never seen one.  We once talked to an American who had lived in China for years.  He was telling Mike about his car and Mike said, "Wow.  You drive here."  He responded, "Are you crazy!?  I have a driver." 

We took a city bus from Li Mei's house to go out to dinner.  


Mike (my Mike) is a dork and here everyone is laughing, because he wanted to sing THE WHEELS ON THE BUS GO ROUND AND ROUND.  Again, it was a city bus and there were other people (like the lady in the front of the picture) who weren't with us.  I can't imagine what she and other strangers on the bus thought about this dorky white man standing up on the bus, turning around facing everyone and singing, "OK everybody!  The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round . . . ."


This where we ate dinner.  It was really good too.


Li Mei's Mom and Dad ordered all the food (we paid but they ordered).  As I've said before, while in China it is always better for someone else to order who knows what you like.  The food was WONDERFUL and I think we probably made pigs out of ourselves.




Li Mei's family takes in a lot of orphan girls.   They teach them what love and family is.  I later asked them if Pryor was talking nice since I saw he was really enjoy talking to the girls.  The girl in the blue, said "Yes, 99% of what he said was very nice."  Hmm...  I guess that is good.

Nate was so funny here.  I told him the man could ride the dinosaur, but he was showing me how the dinosaur's sharp back would hurt the man.