I still remember what I was wearing when I first learned about China. It was a red and white "Coca-cola" nightgown that my mom's college best friend, my "Aunt Julie" [who I have long since lost touch with] gave to me when she was home from one of her extended times in Guatemala.
I was standing by the white leather couch in my family's first house [only 1 out of 2...not bad for living in a country on the move], beside the woven side table with the off-white lamp. I remember it all. My puppy Andre was sleeping on the green Lazy Boy chair to my left and I was mesmorized by what I saw on tv. It was 20/20 or Dateline or some other news show I should not have been watching as an elementary schooler.
The people on the screen were Asian. I had never seen Asians before. (thanks to a New Port Richey upbringing that involved lots of middle-class white america minivans, ballet lessons, and happy meals). But these people who didn't look like me were different. They were babies. And the announcer was talking about American families who would go to these far away places and bring these family-less babies to live with them. I remember what one of the women looked like. She had frizzy blonde hair and wore a red shirt. She was talking about how this Asian baby was her own, how she loved it as her own child. After her speech came a video montage of her little Asian child playing in the front yard with her older, natural born, blonde children.
I have thought about that tv show often in my 23 years. I have told countless numbers of people about watching that show that evening and how it has been the driving force for me wanting to live in Asia, help those babies, and eventually have one of my own.
Being a person who believes in grace and divine purpose, it comes as no coincidence to me that since literally my first week in this country I have been surrounded by or working with...babies.
This work has brought much heartache and strife to my life. (see previous post). It has made me questions everything I believe in (how could a higher power allow such injustices to exist?! Why doesn't the group of common believers do anything substantial to alleviate suffering in other parts of the world? Who am I to know what is right anyways? etc...)
But at the end of the day, these babies have been my driving force, my pull toward all that is truth, my understanding of the cycle of life, that we all life and die, and that I only get one run on earth - so use it wisely. These babies have allowed me to witness miracles, healing, reconciliation, and the beauty of sacrifice.
When I don't think I can live here anymore, when I am selfish, depressed, or lonely, I think of the babies and I find my purpose again.
So it is with great joy that I was able to meet my dear Chin.ese friend Stone's baby last week. Little Shi Yue was born in January while I was visiting the US. Because of weather, sickness, and scheduling I am just meeting her now! She is 4 months old, surrounded by love, and blessed with thick thighs and three chins. We have so much in common. :)
I met the doctors at Pizza hut (their choice) and Stone arrived a few hours later with baby Shi Yue in tow. It was wayyyy past her bedtime but the little squirt was happy as could be as long as her daddy was close by.
It was wonderful to meet her. I can't wait to see her grow up. I'll be here til she enters preschool, so I am hoping that Shi Yue can be the walking reminder of my time here. I want to teach her English. I want to walk in the park with her when she can walk, I want to put her hair in pig tails when she has hair. I'm excited for the chance to watch her grow and tell her silly stories about when she was a baby, making the waitresses laugh in Pizza Hut.
Shi Yue is blessed to have a family that loves her even though she is a girl. Shi Yue is blessed to have a mom and dad that chose to keep her even amidst heavy work pressure to abort because she was unplanned (mom and dad are both surgeons). Shi Yue is blessed to have parents who are determined to take care of her themselves instead of giving her to her grandparents to raise (there is no paid maternity leave in Chi.na).
I love Shi Yue. I hope she lives a long and healthy life. I am proud to know her and her family.
Sometimes I laugh at the journey the Good Lrd is taking me on when I think about that news show so many years ago. When my current status in life has me meeting little Asian babies in Pizza Hut, I have to grin and recognize the pattern not as coincidence, but as divine.
Dr. Xu, Nurse Zhong, (two of my best friends - and longest Chin.ese friends) and baby Shi Yue.
When life gets you down, think of the little things that give you joy; the little things that give you purpose. What is divine in your life?
There's gotta be something. Nobody is left out of this big plan.
Walk Slow. xoxo.