My little friend Li Mei and I are close even though she is in China and I'm here. Li Mei is an orphan. The other day, Li Mei sent me a picture of two pairs of shoes. One was a pair of leopard flats, and the other was cloth with pale pink stripes. She couldn't make up her mind if she wanted the leopard for $20 or the pink stripes for $10. I felt like neither would really go with much. She was really in love with the leopard, but the others were much cheaper, and everyone was telling her $20 was way too much money to spend.
We had been home with Stafan for about 2 years. Stafan was our 8th child, and was 5 years old when we brought him home from Guangzhou, Guandong, China. From the first day we got him, he would wink at me--a lot. The first 6 months he was home, I couldn't comb his hair or hand him something to eat without him saying, "Thank you Momma." And as if he wasn't cute enough--he was cool too. I don't want to say he was or is perfect, because that is just silly right? But if I were to order a boy, it would be Stafan.
After we came home with Stafan, I was totally satisfied with my 8 kids. I was staying busy, cooking, cleaning and doing laundry. When I wasn't doing that I was just enjoying them or showing them off. I'm bad about that. But I guess if you've read my blog, you already know that.
One would think with 8 kids my mind would have been completely occupied, but I couldn't get past wanting to help another orphan. I knew we were in no position to adopt at the time. The adoption money train was on hold.
So I started praying. I prayed everyday. I prayed several times a day. I prayed consistently, and I prayed hard. I prayed, "God I don't know how I can help another orphan, and I don't need to know because I know you do know how Lord."
This went on for 3 months until one day as I was pulling into the driveway after being out shopping (another thing I'm bad about) I stopped to get the mail. In the mailbox was a handwritten letter from the United Kingdom. Wow! A handwritten letter. You don't see many of those these days. To make a long story short, an older orphan still in China had tracked Arden down here in the U.S., and her name is Li Mei. Li Mei had longed to find Arden since the day we took Arden away from her in 2004. Li Mei had enlisted the help of a Chinese woman named Red Chan. Red Chan lived in the United Kingdom, but was some how affiliated with an organization that did charity work at the Guangzhou orphanage where Arden and Li Mei lived together. By this time, Li Mei had "aged out" of the orphanage, but by the grace of God working through people like Red Chan, Li Mei was surviving.
Eventually, we were able to find Li Mei a family of her own--an American family that live in China. Li Mei has now lived with this family many years, so she now she speaks and writes English. Most days, Li Mei and I text several times a day. I'm usually getting ready for bed, and she is getting ready to start her day.
Ironically (NOT!), the American family in China that Li Mei lives with has the exact same last name we do. God often shows you with these little "coincidences" that He is there. So now, Li Mei has two families that love her.
Back to the present
I sent a package to China today. Two pairs of shoes. Not leopard and not pink striped. Just not my style. I sent a pair of Converse tennis shoes and a cute pair of boots that I think she'll get a lot of good out of next winter. My daughter Whitney is getting ready to send some American candy. Li Mei never asks for much, but she did ask me for American candy, and if you've ever had Chinese candy, you know why she wants some of our's.
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4: 2-3
Another "coincidence." When we adopted Arden we were allowed go give a going away party for Arden at McDonalds. She invited a bus full of orphans. Mike saw this girl crying because of Arden being adopted and moving to the US. Mike started to comfort her, but the girl sweetly let him know non-verbally that she really didn't want him to come any closer. She knew he was the man taking Arden away from her. It wasn't until a few years later we learned who this girl was--Li Mei.
Li Mei is in red with her American Mom (also in red) who lives in China.
Mike with Li Mei. A few years later we met Li Mei in China again, but this time we know who she is. As you can see, Li Mei's feelings about Mike have changed quite a bit.
Li Mei stayed with us in the hotel.
Li Mei with Boone.
Sometimes when I have friends visit China they carry things over to Li Mei for me.
Stafan living in the orphanage--back row 2nd from right in the green. He has his arms around the two little ones. It must be a way they comfort one another. : - ((
Stafan is not little anymore.
Arden is grown up too.