When you pray. 

Li Mei and Arden 2006

This was taken  in December 2006.  It was three days after we adopted Arden but before we left China.  Arden was one of the first "older" girls to be adopted out of the Guangzhou orphanage.  The picture was taken at Arden's going away party.  Before we left the U.S. to get Arden, we had asked the orphanage if we could give her a going away party.  They said yes and  allowed us to take two vans full of orphans to McDonald's!

When Mike took this picture, he had no idea who the girl standing by Arden was.  What he did know came through in the picture:  she was obviously distraught!  The way we discovered the identity of the heartbroken girl, whose name we later learned was Li Mei, was a God thing.  And I never use a "God thing" carelessly.  More on that later. 

Li Mei and Arden lived in the orphanage together.  Li Mei, who is several years older than Arden, loved (and loves) Arden very much.  She did her best to take care of Arden and protect her from harm.  As the picture above shows, Li Mei was having a really hard time dealing with the fact that the girl she loved so much was leaving the orphanage and China.


This picture of Li Mei and Arden was taken a couple days ago.  Li Mei got a visa and is visiting the U.S.!  It is the first time Li Mei and Arden have seen each other since the McDonald's party more than 10 years ago.  Li Mei told me last week that Arden's going away party was the first time she had ever gone to McDonald's.  Mike and I have seen Li Mei several times when we have been back to Guangzhou, but it never worked out for Arden and Li Mei to reconnect--until now.


Last week, Li Mei pulled this money out of her wallet.  It came with an amazing story.  A story that took place three days before the McDonald's party.  The same day we got to go back to Guangzhou and adopt our beautiful Arden. 

The day we got Arden, the orphanage director told me Arden gave another orphan some money.  I thought, "that's nice!"  I was thinking Arden had some of the little bit of money she got every month from the Chinese goverment left over.  I think the government gave each orphan about $12 per month.  But with that money they had to buy basic items, such as dishes and anything else they might need.  Imagine out of the little bit of money they received, they had to buy basic supplies that the orphanage should have been supplying!  Let's just say they ended up going without everything.

Well, Li Mei told me that before we picked Arden up, Arden was crying and trying to find Li Mei.  Arden was afraid she would never see Li Mei again and wanted to give her this money!  But it wasn't just some left over money from her government stipend.  It was money we had sent Arden though a friend.  For over 10 years, Li Mei has refused to ever spend any of this money, because it came from Arden.  True friendship.      


OK, remember above when I said the way we discovered Li Mei's identity was a God thing?  Back to that story.  After we had Arden for about a year, I felt like I still wanted to help orphans.  But I also knew we were not only in any position to adopt again.  I wasn't ready.  I've learned if you have a desire and it's God's will you don't have to have a plan.  You just have to pray.  I prayed hard for three months. 


So one day I came home and in my snail mail was a letter addressed from the UK.  It was a letter from a Chinese woman living there.  She had done some volunteer work in the Guangzhou orphanage and was able to find out where Arden was for Li Mei. 


After that, Li Mei and I began corresponding and became close friends.  At the time, Li Mei knew zero English.  Don't ask me how we corresponded, but we did our best.  My friend Ginger told me about an American lady living near Guangzhou who helped orphans.  I contacted this woman.  This lady had a friend who was an American missionary living near Guangzhou.  Long story short, today Li Mei and this family are "family."  Now ten years later, Li Mei's English is great after living with an American family for almost 10 years. 


During Li Mei's visit with us last week, she basically wanted to do all things Arden.  Where did Arden go to school, church, eat etc... Oh and even sleep!  LOL  Li Mei said she had wanted to visit Arden for 10 years, and this was an answer to her prayers.  And it is, considering the U.S. Embassy has an unwritten rule to reject visa requests from orphans.  They know the average orphan has no reason to return to China. 


Mike took Li Mei to a Pacers game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. 


It was a last minute decision, and Mike took Li Mei and eight of the kids, so he bought some cheap nosebleed seats from a scalper.

Of course, Mike had to take Li Mei to visit Cokie's water fountain at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.  It is a tradition that whenever we attend a Pacers game or any other event at the Fieldhouse, we take our picture at Cokie's water fountain.  And now whenever one of Cokie's friends goes there, they take their picture at Cokie's water fountain and send it to her.  LOL


On the way back from visiting Cokie's water fountain, Mike sneaked into the lower level and found two empty seats really close to the court.  When Mike asked Li Mei if she wanted to go back and sit with the kids, Li Mei said, "let's stay here a few more minutes."  They sat there the rest of the game!  Li Mei told Mike that she watches the NBA in China, and Mike said she was thrilled to be at a real live game.


School was out for Christmas break, but since Mike is on the school board he got them in.  LOL  And I must say this is one fancy school! 



Arden was excited to see her picture still there from her high school years--four years ago!


This heart is what Arden sent us a letter on when she was waiting for us to come get her.  Arden's letters always asked us to send her candy, but Arden claims it was really Li Mei asking.  Since Li Mei was here, I was finally going to get the straight story about that.  They both claim it was the other.  Still don't know.




Li Mei wanted to sleep with Jeeves the entire time she was here.  She said she had never slept with a dog before.  LOL  So, every night Boone would take Jeeves into her.  Li Mei said Boone was a very sweet boy.  : - )  Unlike the kids who think I spoil him. 


Li Mei cooked us a delicious Chinese meal!  In the end she said I did not have a good kitchen for fixing Chinese.  I need a gas stove! 











This was actually a meal I cooked.  American because my kitchen can do that.  LOL