Select Page
Daiyu’s Story – With God, All Things Are Possible – Part III

Daiyu’s Story – With God, All Things Are Possible – Part III

Introduction

With God, nothing is impossible. There is no bureaucracy too big to overcome and no blessing too small to celebrate not even if you are a two-year-old girl, severely burned and abandoned on a street alone and in severe pain. This is the continuation of a story of inspiration and God’s power and grace. If you have not read parts 1 and 2, please do. It will make this post much more meaningful as you follow the journey of a young girl overcoming immense challenges. It is also about the wonder of adoption.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Off to Guangzhou

We left Changsha at about 2:30 PM yesterday and have arrived at Guangzhou. This is a very nice city and our hotel is great. The Japanese Consulate is housed here at the hotel so there is no issue with security. Although we have not really met any of them there are quite a few other adopting families here. I assume they are all preparing to get VISA’s to the US for their children.

Our new family member is settling in quite well now and everyone has adjusted to the new time zone. Although I am glad for that, I don’t look forward to readjusting when we return. In about 20 minutes we will head to Shamian Island where we will get a VISA photo and have the medical exam taken care of. After that, we will come back to the hotel and relax. There is plenty to do so we have no issues there.

The next day we have a city tour planned and will do VISA paperwork. Monday it’s off to Shamian Island again to get her TB test read and get a chest x-ray if needed. Tuesday more city tours and pearl market which will likely go over big.

Wednesday is a very important day for us all as we go to the US Consulate and get the VISA for her return. The VISA she will get is very special because once it is issued, she will become a US citizen the moment she gets through immigration at the airport when we get home.

Thursday we have more city tours and then two days of rest before our return to the US. It looks like an on-time return on Sunday the 23rd. While this has been a real rollercoaster ride for us all it has been worth every moment. I don’t think I would change anything. I hope our experience can help others that might want to do the same thing. We are off to Shamian Island. More to come………..

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Medical Exam, Sightseeing, and Shopping

Well, we got through the medical exam portion of our VISA preparation successfully. She needs glasses which we already knew and got a few vaccinations but is ready to go. Next, we get her TB test read but it is obvious there is no reaction. After that, we will go on a city tour and then come back to the hotel and start the paperwork for our appointment on Wednesday at the US Consulate.

Everything is now moving along very smoothly and we have met several other adopting families at the hotel. They come from everywhere but the people we met are from Minnesota, Oklahoma, and San Diego. We’ve really been blessed on this trip and while we are all looking forward to coming home, we are really enjoying our time together now and heading out to go shopping.

We just finished a successful day of sightseeing and shopping topped off by a great lunch. I just thought we bought a lot at the last market but today we visited the arts and crafts market and even I could not hold back. It was time to buy gifts for friends, supporters, and ourselves. And we did just that. After about 30 minutes in the store, I knew we were quickly running out of cash and had to check to see if we could use AMEX at this store. Guess what, they take all major credit cards. Not sure if that was a blessing or a curse but in any event, we were left armed with gifts aplenty.

We also ended visiting a temple and probably climbed 1000 stairs. Daiyu counted and each section was 32 steps. There were a lot of sections.

The Passport Glitch – With God, Nothing is Impossible

After our temple visit, we came back to the hotel and completed all the paperwork already for our appointment with the US Consulate so we are good there with one small exception. While I don’t think it is an issue, our guide was concerned because Daiyu does not have six months left on her passport. She said they usually require a full six months and this might delay our departure. I doubt it will be an issue since she will become a citizen when she arrives in the US and her Chinese passport will no longer be valid. But with the government bureaucracies who knows? I know I will put up a fight. Regardless we will figure it out. We have God on our side and with God, nothing is impossible.

Don’t Take Your Freedom For Granted

Something interesting came about as our guide was looking at Daiyu’s passport and noticed there was no stamp showing she left the US. Then she looked at our passports and could not find where the US authorities stamped us as leaving our country. I asked her why that was an issue and she asked “don’t they care if you leave?”. Then it hit me.

We are living in a country where we can come and go as we please. She cannot. When I told her our government does not care if we leave and go somewhere else she was absolutely shocked. “You mean you can just leave without permission?”. I just took it for granted. Of course, we can. It’s a free country. We can go or stay as we want. I guess I knew this was not true in other countries but it really hit home as we talked. We take way too much for granted.

Beauty is on the Inside – It’s a Heart Thing

Anyway, we finished the Consulate paperwork and our guide left. We went on to lunch. During our trip, Daiyu had made a couple of comments that we did not think much of at the time but during lunch, it became very clear. She said a couple of times that she knew she had no future. Some boys she knew told her that.

We made the comment during lunch about what a bright and wonderful future she had and she could make it what she wanted. She clearly did not believe us and I know her foster family has been very supportive in this area. We said, “you are a very beautiful girl, why would you think you don’t have a future?” And then it came out.

She said she knows she is not beautiful. When we asked if it was because of the scars on her face and she said yes. We were quick to tell her that is simply not true and she should never, ever let anybody tell her otherwise. She is a very beautiful girl with a sweet and loving personality to complete the package. She has a bright future and she has no idea how God may use her and bless her.

Later that night we asked all our friends to pray that the seed of God’s grace and power through Jesus will be planted firmly in her heart so she can start focusing on how He will use her and just how much beauty she will bring to this world in her lifetime. Now we are back in our hotel room resting up since we promised another evening of fish feeding.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bureaucracy At Work – Just Remember; With God, Nothing Is Impossible

Another great day for us here. We were told by our guide that Daiyu will need another passport in order to leave so we got her passport picture and the application is going to Changsha today. We will see what happens when we get to the US Consulate Wednesday. There seems to be no logic in the world of bureaucrats. One way or another we’ll get it done.

After the passport work was done we visited a local park and tried our hand at exercise. I need some work. Yesterday a thousand stairs and today exercise equipment. At least I gave the locals something to laugh about. Daiyu on the other hand has the energy to spare. If only I could borrow some.

After the exercise, we made our way to a familiar place – Starbucks. They are everywhere. Then a quick run down the street to 7-11 and then the pharmacy. Tonight we thought we would head up to the 30th floor and eat at the buffet restaurant that overlooks the city. This has been a really great time.

In the morning we will call Ohio and talk with her foster family via skype. Amazingly it works pretty well here and it’s free. After that, we have another day of city tours and wearing out the parents. I’ve posted a few pictures of our day today. Hopefully us parents will still be walking by the time we get home.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Long, Long, Day of Sightseeing

The Zoo

We are almost done. Yesterday Daiyu had a very good call with her foster family and then we headed off to the zoo. We got to see some interesting animals we would not normally see in the US. Of course, there were a lot of similarities but Daiyu had a great time. It’s not every day you see a red Panda (I think that is what it was called). Looks like a big red raccoon. We saw an elephant but not what we are used to and some Chinese alligators. They were small but certainly looked like they had some sharp teeth. And then there were the various lizards and snakes and turtles and lions and so on.

The City of Guangzhou

After that, we went for a long and I do mean a long walk around the city of Guangzhou. Since I was leading it was not long before we were off into the locals living areas near downtown and both Lisa and Daiyu were not so sure we could find our way back.

We kept circling until we eventually zeroed in on the hotel. It did take a while though. I knew the worst-case scenario would be to flag a taxi and as we said in Vietnam “Take me to the Hilton” only in this case it would be “The Garden”.

Time For Rest

After the walk, we fed the fish, ate a nice relaxing dinner, and watched as Daiyu was collapsed and asleep by 8 PM. We on the other hand had a restless although not a bad night.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Passport Issue Re-Visited

Today we go to the US Consulate and complete the work to get her VISA and take an oath of some sort that all the documents we submitted are true and correct to the best of our knowledge. The US government had a temporary lapse in bureaucratic red tape and decided she does not really need a new passport since it still has several months left and it only needs to be valid long enough to reach the US.

After today we should be done with all the official paperwork and will have one more day with our guide and then a few days to ourselves to relax and enjoy the sights. Sunday morning at 5:45 AM we are off to the airport to go home. That will be Saturday night for most of you and sometime around 9:30 PM on Sunday night, we will arrive home in the US. What a relief that will be.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Not So Fast – The Passport Issue Returns

The Rollercoaster

What a rollercoaster ride. One minute everything is OK, the next minute we can’t leave, then we can, then we can’t. So yesterday just after I posted we were good with the passport we got a call from our guide who was told by the consulate that while they would issue the VISA even though her passport had less than six months left they told her we may not be able to leave China because the Chinese authorities may not allow it. Our choice was to send away to Changsha for a new passport and postpone leaving or take our chances in Shanghai where we were to board our flight home. We just keep repeating God’s promise,

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 19:26). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

If we could not board we would have to fly to Changsha and get a new passport then re-book our flights home and the delay would be even longer. After discussing the situation with the adoption agency in Washington State and then checking airline schedules we decided to take our chances in Shanghai. We also decided to talk with the officials at the US Consulate. In the meantime, we worked out Plan B which was for Lisa to go home without me and I would stay with Daiyu and make sure we got her passport taken care of if worst came to worst.

Back at the US Consulate

We went to the consulate and took our oath (that we were truthful in our application) then I went to talk with the adoption officer. She already knew all about our case. We were making headlines at the consulate. She finally said she would have the consulate officer on duty when we arrived in Shanghai briefed and ready to get us on the plane if there were any issues.

Just as I went to sit down our name was called to hand in our paperwork and we headed up to the window. The staff member assisting us quickly recognized our situation and again warned us we may not get out of China (give me a break and make up your minds). He needed to check with his boss. Since it was his boss that told us we would get out we are counting on that happening. If not, Plan B remains viable. Regardless, we will have her passport and VISA delivered to us tomorrow afternoon and we will be ready to leave for Shanghai Sunday AM.

After the consulate visit, we took a quick side trip to have our pictures taken near some landmarks that I cannot pronounce and then headed back to the hotel for an early night. Today we went shopping (sound familiar). I am starting to get worried we won’t be able to get all these gifts and merchandise back to the US with us but we will certainly try. I’m pretty sure there is something for everyone. We are getting closer everyday and as several of you have said “He is in control”. With that I will quit worrying for today. Good night for now. Tomorrow will bring a whole new set of adventures.

Stay tuned for Part IV of the series.

Daiyu’s Story, A Story of Hope and Fear – Part II

Daiyu’s Story, A Story of Hope and Fear – Part II

Introduction

If you have not read Part 1, please do.  This post is the continuation of an inspiring story about a girl who overcame tremendous obstacles from childhood to start on a long journey and improve her circumstances more every day.  Her name is Daiyu, and after being moved from family to family, she is now with us.  She has been with us for just a few days, my father just died, and we are headed for China to finalize our adoption.  We anticipated this could be rough, and there would be some emotional struggles for all of us. We did not realize that she may fear that we were just another family that would take her for a short time and soon leave her stranded again in China.  A world where she no longer remembered the language, and there were few people she knew.  Those she did know were people that she felt had abandoned her once already.  So with our bags packed, our paperwork in hand, we headed to the airport.

Friday, January 7 to Saturday, January 8

Nothing Is Every Easy

Once at the airport, we prepared for our long trip as best we could.  As we boarded the plane, we tried to prepare Daiyu and often talked about us as her forever family.  She was already referring to us as Mom and Dad, which tells you just how much she wanted a stable family life, one she could count on.  That would be a long road, however, and one with a few struggles along the way.

As is usual for me, we made it to China but not without some unexpected challenges. For the most part, the flight here, although long, was uneventful. We left our house at 5:30 AM on Friday, January 7, 2011. We arrived at the Changsha airport roughly 24 hours later, around 11 PM on January 8. One slight problem — they were expecting us a day later on January 9, so our guide was not there to meet us, and we had not yet exchanged money.

There was no exchange available at the airport, and we were besieged by taxi drivers wanting our business.

Unfortunately, no one spoke English, and of course, none of us spoke Chinese. The perfect storm — maybe not, but it was not good. We tried to no avail to contact our guide and others at the adoption agency. It took about an hour for our cell phone service to become active and to figure out the dialing issues. Then we got no answers.

The locals assumed our poor little girl was Chinese by birth to know the language by everyone, and they all kept trying to get her to translate. Unfortunately, she could no longer remember what little Chinese she once knew, so she responded hello. We could see the fear and confusion in her eyes. Fortunately, Lisa was very quick to shield her, and we got everyone to understand we would deal with it and did not need a ride. I left Lisa and our very, very soon-to-be daughter with the luggage and set out to find money or some other means of transport. Even if we did find transportation, we had no idea where to go, and our reservation was not until the next day.

First Crisis Solved

After some aimless wandering and searching, I found an ATM. The next miracle worked. Just one little problem, I had no idea what the exchange rate was, and I was looking at withdrawing YUAN. Now that might not seem like a big deal, but with exchange rates varying widely in different countries, 100 YUAN could have been ten cents in USD, or it could have been 1000 USD. Who knows? Back to the cell phone, which now seemed to be completely activated and working. After some browsing, I found the exchange rate was about 15 USD per 100 YUAN or about .15 USD for every 1 YUAN.

Significant challenge #2 successfully met and overcome. Now back to challenge #1, get the money out of the ATM. I could not remember my AMEX PIN for my life, so after a few tries, I gave that one up. Next, I tried my debit card. And yes, that worked. Now we had cash but nowhere to go. The airport was locking down, so we had to leave. I went back to meet up with the rest of the family and luggage only to find Lisa had asked everyone who walked by if they spoke English. To my surprise, she found one young Chinese couple who understood just enough English to understand “hotel.” They kindly escorted us to the airport hotel.

With challenge #3 handled, we worked through the language barrier with the hotel clerk via sign language and got a room. Cash only, but it was about 1:30 AM, and I was just happy to have a room. The guest quarters were OK but not what I would typically choose. We found out the hotel did not supply any toiletries and barely any toilet paper. We also noted the bathtub was full of rust and not anything we would want to jump in and use. With that, we all decided to wait until we reached our final destination the next day to clean up.

Exhaustion sets in, even for a tough girl like Daiyu

 What a Difference a Day Makes

Now we get to the next day. Today was much better. We got up and had a delicious meal at the hotel. Then we called and connected with our guide, who arranged to pick us up and get us to our hotel. So much nicer. We welcomed five stars, at this hotel. With cash in hand, credit cards accepted, and a charming room, we should be well rested in a day or so. We found out that Monday is a free day, and Tuesday, we meet with officials, and the adoption will be final by the end of the day. We then wait a few days to pick up our official adoption certificates before leaving for our next stop in Guangzhou. There we will need to complete all of the requirements to get everyone home. All of these tasks will take several days before we head back.

Now for the most crucial challenge. The trip has been arduous on our young, worldly traveler. As she got tired and frustrated with the rigors of international travel, you could tell she was having a tough time. She suffered from a mix of fear and confusion. She had many questions that we tried to answer, and I’m sure she will continue to have questions as time goes on. I wondered when they would come, and now I know. Nothing unexpected or unusual, but I was hoping maybe we would skip that stage. It is tough to go from an orphan to a caring foster family. She bonded with them and then suddenly found your world upside down with a new family you have hardly had time to meet, much less form a bond. She is a tough kid but a kid all the same.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Adoption Day

Today was a very, very good day for all. Today was the actual adoption day. I am delighted to say that we now have finalized the adoption, signed the paperwork, and signed the paperwork saying she wanted to be adopted. It was not just a happy day for us. It was a sunny day for all. I have not seen her smile so much since she arrived with us. It did not hurt that she went to bed last night at about 7 PM and slept all night for the first time. She woke up in a much better mood. We all were in much better spirits.

We started the day with an excellent breakfast and then met our guide. We were first off to the passport photo place to get photos of her. Then to the adoption registration office, where to everyone’s surprise, the orphanage director and vice-director, as well as several other officials from the orphanage, were there. Our guide told us this did not happen. She is an extraordinary case, and they were all very happy for her. She did not immediately remember everyone, but slowly some of the memories came back. She started to ask questions and talk about the other kids. We found out there are only two children left there who were there when she was. All the others have been adopted.

The officials, including the Director, are very happy for her and pleased to see her. They drove two and half hours to get to the registration office to spend 20 minutes with her. We will be going there tomorrow to visit the orphanage and have lunch by special invitation. Our guide informed us this was not the norm. The orphanage called her when they heard we were here and extended the invitation.

According to our guide, we usually have to get permission from the adoption registration office, which is generally not given. Daiyu must be an exceptional girl, but of course, we already know that. Our hosts gave us the option of ordering pizza or eating what they prepared (sound familiar Mark, Joleanne, Melody, and the rest of the SEAHP team). We decided to eat whatever they prepared—another adventure. After meeting with the orphanage officials, we started the paperwork to complete the adoption. It was a little like buying a house (please understand the comparison ends with the paperwork). The adoption experience was an incredible moment for all of us. Lisa started crying.

The Adoption Is Finalized

We checked every letter, number, and word on every page of every document, including the translations to English. Everything had to be just perfect because the US Consulate is exceptionally picky about everything being in order. Finally, we signed dozens of papers, oaths, and promises, all of which were easy to make to have someone this special be a part of our lives. There were many photo ops, and will be more tomorrow. Finally, we left and headed back to the hotel. There we immediately had a great celebration lunch and then moved on to —- what else —- shopping. Someone has her eye on a doll, and before we leave, it will be hers. She is also looking for gifts to bring back for all of her friends and family. Today was a great day and one we will remember forever: many pictures and many good memories. Now we have to wait three days to get the final documents prepared. Then we can take off for our next adventure, earning her medical and applying for her VISA at the US consulate. That will be in another city and take another week. After that, it is home, and we cannot wait. You could see much of the fear of another abandonment was dissipating as things began to be finalized.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

 A Visit to the Orphanage

Well, last night was a long but good night. Our daughter was up all night. Finally, around 3 AM, I just decided to get up and visit with her. She is still in a good mood but just suffering from that inevitable jet lag that she will probably adjust to when it is time to leave. Still, it was a good time for us to talk and soon Lisa was up visiting. At least we all showered and were ready for breakfast right at 6:30 AM. At 8:30 AM, our guide picked us up, and we headed for the orphanage, a two-and-a-half-hour trek north.

It was only about 30 minutes into the drive, and I was the only one awake, aside from the driver and our guide. It was an excellent feeling to have our daughter just collapse with her head on my shoulder and fall asleep. On the way back, she switched shoulders and slept Lisa’s way. She was obviously a little agitated or nervous about the trip, and it showed more as we got closer. I’m sure some of her past fears were memories she would rather forget were re-emerging.

An Emotional Visit

When we finally arrived, she had only a very vague recollection, and I’m not sure if she really remembered at all. We were met by the Vice Director and took a couple of pictures in front of the orphanage with Daiyu. She is not too pleased about the photo ops. As a matter of fact, she would just as soon not have her picture taken at all. She was not really rude and is a very polite young lady, but at some point, we did have to tell her she needed to be respectful of the people who went to so much trouble for her. That teenage spirit was showing itself. Fortunately, even if she does not like it, she will listen and respond appropriately to her new parents and other elders. Still, I think she was just reacting poorly because of fatigue and anxiety about the visit. I think she also may get embarrassed and not quite know how to react. Getting her to smile even for pictures was really tough. Regardless, the visit was great.

We went to a very nice conference room where we met many of the same orphanage staff who came to the adoption registration office the day before and some others. I also realized where she gets her taste for fruit. They had tons of fruit. Boxes and boxes of tangerines, bananas, and other fruit. We had some green tea and tangerines while everyone took photo ops.

Now they called a lady named Jenny for her visit. Jenny is in her 70’s and apparently was very involved in helping her get funding and making arrangements for her to come to the US.  She was also instrumental in getting funding for much of her cosmetic and functional surgeries done. After Jenny finished talking with her, she took a good bit of time and talked with Lisa.

Daiyu Remembers

Then they brought in another staff member named Yihua, and her face lit up like a Christmas tree on the White House lawn. She immediately recognized her and said, “I know you! You were my teacher.” She hugged her, and it was clear there was a bond. As it turned out, she was the teacher assigned to her, and she spent all her time with her.

Next, there were photos that we went through of her as a little girl and as she grew up. It was a very emotional and touching time. I truly believe this staff cared about her. The Director presented her with a decorative gold plate with the name and symbols of the city. Then they presented us with a picture book that included organized pictures and captions of her life at the orphanage. That one got Lisa crying. I will be scanning it and sending an electronic copy to the foster family. I know they will appreciate it as much as we do.

 The Orphanage Tour

Next, we did the tour. They explained that there were 50 to 60 children, and about 80% were special needs. There were also elderly housed at the same place, just like the orphanages we have visited in Vietnam with Southeast Asian Healthcare Partners, Inc. The first stop was the toddlers, who were just adorable. I know I fell in love with every one of them. A little downs syndrome boy just kept grabbing me and pulling me down to show me his stuffed bear. There were other children just playing with toys and having a perfect time. Obviously, we cannot be sure how much was done for our benefit, but they try to give these kids good care.

The elder side was a little less desirable. I’m sure that is because the kids always get attention from outside organizations and others who donate and work to get the kids adopted. Then we went to see the room where she stayed while at the orphanage. It was small but adequate and had four sets of bunk beds in the room. We got pictures of her next to her bed which she did remember. She also remembered the top bunk was hers.

Next, we went to see the two children she might remember. They were the only ones who had not been adopted. Now, this was an emotionally difficult part of the visit. A little boy with a cleft lip was probably cognitively delayed but so happy and so pleased to see us. These kids need homes, and soon before they become too old to adopt. One particular girl had been there for some time who was absolutely beautiful, polite, and easy to love at first sight, but she was 15 years old. It is still possible to get special permission to adopt her, but it would be difficult even if it were not for the red tape because of her age. I cannot tell you how lovable she was. But she was sad, and you could tell. I do not believe she had any medical or cognitive problems, but she was just unwanted. Why would any child of God be unwanted? That goes for all ages up to, and including the elderly, we so often work with.

Unfortunately, new parents want babies, preferably healthy babies. Almost no one wants the elderly. Of course, that is not just here in Asia but everywhere. I’m warning you now, Lisa is on a mission. Beware when we get back. She will do whatever she can to start getting this girl and the boy home. What you can do now and always is pray for them, all of them.

Her Memories Continue to Return

Next, we visited the old part of the orphanage. It was somewhat rusted, and most of it was no longer used, except it appeared this is where the elderly were housed. I cannot be absolutely certain. As we walked, she suddenly remembered. She recognized where she played and jumped on one piece of playground equipment that I believe was her favorite. Apparently, these memories were strong because she had no doubt she knew where she was. After taking as many pictures as I could and touring and asking questions, we headed off for lunch with the orphanage staff.

We were taken to a very nice restaurant with a private room set up for us. Unfortunately, because of space limitations on the ride over, our new daughter ended up on my lap for the short ride, and she was none too pleased. I cannot say that I blame her either, but she was a trooper and put up with this indignity. We had a very nice meal (as usual, I am not entirely sure of everything we ate, but that is part of the adventure). She, of course, was the focus of all the attention that I could see was beginning to wear on her. Still, she held up and even enjoyed some of the memories and talking with the staff. They invited us back, and I know they really meant it.

Enjoying Lunch With Yueyang Orphanage Staff

By the time we left, she was talking about wanting to come back and visit again when she was older. She was also talking about wanting to learn the language again. I cannot tell you what an emotional rollercoaster this must be for her. Before the two-and-a-half-hour drive back, our final destination was to see the place she was found. It was a small back street business area, and it was unfortunate to know this is where she was left alone at two years old. We could not imagine how scared and alone a two year might feel abandoned by her own mother. After a search for her parents was unsuccessful, she was taken to the orphanage.

What an emotional day. I am so glad we made this trip. I was not sure initially, but I now know she needed the visit, and I think she will eventually return to learn more about her heritage and history as a child. For now, she has pictures and memories she can carry with her for a long time, if not forever. Tomorrow we will have a Skype call with her foster family, and then we are off to shop. Apparently one of her favorite pastimes. I see bankruptcy in our future with six daughters all shopping. Still, she is so looking forward to it there is no way I can say no. Lisa will tell you I can’t say no to them ever, but I don’t think that is completely true.

For now, I am going to sign off and get ready for tomorrow. We now have all the official paperwork, and Friday, we head for the next city where she will get a complete medical exam. We start the application process for her VISA to return to the US and immediately become a citizen. That is the last phase of this portion of her long journey. I cannot help but wonder what God has in store for her. Whatever it is, we are just so privileged to be a part of it. As someone just wrote me; actually several people, To God Be The Glory. And now for another meal.

Stay tuned for Part III of the series.

Daiyu’s Story, A Story Of Hope- Part I

Daiyu’s Story, A Story Of Hope- Part I

Introduction

This is a story of hope. We all need hope, especially when we think there is none left. I’m going through a dark time right now, but it doesn’t compare to what our youngest daughter has been through. She has been through some dark times that most of us will never have to experience. I cannot imagine what it was like for her. She was abandoned by her entire family. Likely the most hurtful part of her experience was being left on a street corner by her mother. She was two years old, alone and suffering from horrific burns. That was the start of a long journey for Daiyu. Her journey is far from over and will take multiple writings to effectively document. If you follow this story, I can promise you it will renew your hope.

The Beginning

Imagine a two-year-old girl, her face freshly burned beyond recognition, lips, eyelids, ears, and nose burned off.  One hand and part of one arm burned to the point that the fingers were melded together with half a thumb and one pinky finger left.  Her arm shriveled from severe burns.  Her pain was unbearable.  Even worse, she was abandoned on the street in China and found crying in pain for her mother.  She was found by a police officer who took her for primary burn care.  Her birthdate was written on a note pinned to her clothing.  She was then taken to an orphanage where she would live for the next seven years. This is how Daiyu’s story begins.

The Orphanage

They were kind to her, but she cried for her mother for six months. She would never see her mother again.  She could not close her eyes because there were no eyelids to close.  She never attended public school but was taught basic Mandarin at the orphanage.  She does not remember much from those days but just imagine it was you.  Severely burned and disfigured, abandoned, no parents, living in an institution, wondering why you were left alone.

It is hard to imagine that other children did not make her life harder because she was different.  As she got older, she helped care for the younger children, changing them, cleaning them, assisting them with the activities of daily living.  She knew the orphanage director like her father.  She knew no other parent figure except the caregivers and teachers.

Hope And Hurt Sometimes Come Together

The Hope

When she was nine years old, she was found by a not-for-profit organization from the United States.  They wanted to help her and arranged for her to get a special VISA and come to Ohio, where she would be put with a sponsor family. At the same time, she underwent seventeen painful surgeries to reconstruct her face and make it possible to use her burned hand. This was great news, but for a nine-year-old girl, it was confusing and came with new emotional pain.

Continued Feelings of Abandonment

This good news came with another harrowing and frightening experience for Daiyu. From her point of view, she was again abandoned.  She was taken from the orphanage and the man she saw as a father figure.  She did not know how to speak the English language, which made her situation even more incomprehensible.  She learned English by watching cartoons and teaching herself.  Her sponsor family was good and worked with her as she entered the public school system.  They helped change her life for the better and get her through the fear and unknown.

But for various reasons beyond their control, it was necessary to move her to another sponsor family.  She was with them for a year and again felt abandoned.  How could a girl now about ten years old even begin to understand what was happening to her?  It did not work out with the second sponsor family, and she was returned to her original sponsor family.

After a few years, her surgeries were completed, and she had been given eyelids, a nose, lips, and even eyebrows.  Her hand was split to allow her to use it to grasp objects and do basic tasks.  But now her VISA was expired, and she was almost thirteen years old.  Without an adoptive family, she would be returned to China.  By international law, she could not be adopted by a family in the United States at fourteen. But hope was never lost.

The Search for a Forever Family – A New Hope

Options Lacking

There were few options available to her at the time. Although a very competent adoption agency worked with the sponsor family to find a forever family, it was a very daunting, almost impossible task.  It was about this time that my wife saw her story on the internet.  We already had five daughters, three biological and two adopted.  We decided it was time for one more and embarked on what turned out to be a very long and arduous process.

A Challenging Process

First, we were told by the social worker assigned to us, there was no time to complete the process before her birthday. It just was not possible, or that is what we were told. And then there was our age. We were well past the forty-year-old age limit to adopt a child from China. We were in our fifties. And we barely had the funds at the time to pull off an adoption this expensive.

We were not allowed to meet or see her during the process, and access to only minimal summary medical records was allowed.  This would have to be done on faith.  Even the social worker who handled our home study questioned why we would want to adopt her.  With the limited information, she was concerned that there might be a problem we were unaware of. It would be even more challenging than we thought.

In our minds, however, we could not predict all of the issues a birth child might have until after birth or, in some cases, until they manifested later in life.  We kept pushing through, and the day after Christmas, she was brought to us by her sponsor family, and again she felt abandoned.  It would be just a few days from that first meeting to leave for China with her.

It was a day before we left that my father died.  We had no choice but to continue on with the planned trip. Again, imagine how she must have felt, with a family she knew for a few days. We were getting on a plane and heading back to the land where she was born and could no longer speak the language.  At the time, we did not know that she believed she would potentially be left again in the back of her mind, this time in China.

The Trip to China and The Adoption

Our trip to China was a story all by itself. From the beginning to the end, it was fraught with challenges and obstacles. And for Daiyu, it was another frightening experience that she found difficult to understand. Tune in for parts two and three of Daiyu’s story. They take you through some highs and lows.  For some, they will leave you in tears. Still, almost everyone will have a renewed understanding of how God works miracles that sometimes are done over a lifetime.

Read about our trip in my next blog.

Nothing New – A Time To Be Sad

Nothing New – A Time To Be Sad

Nothing Changes – There is Nothing New Under the Sun

The years go by, and humankind continues to make discoveries but, nothing changes, and there is nothing new under the sun. Everything has its time, and that time will come, and it will go – over and over again. But the human spirit never changes. There is no good except God the creator. Man is evil and always will be. God defines good; more than that, he creates good. And what he makes chooses to follow evil because every human being he created with free will. It is the way things are and the way they will be. The years go by, and humankind continues to make discoveries but, nothing changes, there is nothing new, and nothing ever will be. Everything has its time, and that time will come, and it will go – over and over again. But the human spirit never changes.

Ecclesiastes 1:9–10 (ESV): 9  What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. 10  Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us.

Do You Believe There are New Things on Earth

Do you think that plagues are new? Do you believe that somehow we can change the course God has plotted? Nothing is new. Climate change is not recent; war has always been, as will homelessness and murder, and everything else under the stars. And sadness comes, and darkness and eventually the end. It is a cycle that starts with birth and ends with death.

There is a reason that Jesus spilled his blood to give us the only way to God. Not one of us has the innate good with which God created us. The first humans God created took that long ago in the Garden of Eden. I am wretched, and I stand before God as an undeserving evil excuse for a man. As each year goes by, it becomes apparent that I don’t deserve anything with which God has blessed me. With age, I become acutely aware of just how evil I am. And it is beyond comprehension why God would extend his grace to my wretched, worthless soul.

I knew many years ago that God made way for me to experience his love. I knew then that I needed a savior. I didn’t know the extent of my evil heart, but looking back, I see I am worthless. And now I face the world for what it is, a cruel, evil place that will eventually reject me as useless to the motives of the young. And it will deny me even more so that I profess my faith in Jesus Christ.

There Is a Time

So, if I accepted my evil nature and the grace that God has given me, why then am I so sad. Because I still must suffer, that is why. Unless God chooses to take me early, I will suffer more rejection, more pain, more loneliness, and more of all that is bad. I will also reap some good things and find temporary happiness, but as we see, there is a time for everything, and that time will come, and it will go. But there is nothing new, it has all happened before.

Ecclesiastes 3:1–8 (ESV): For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 a time to love, and a time to hate;

a time for war, and a time for peace.

Today, I feel hopeless. Tomorrow I may find some temporal happiness for as long as I live on this earth. But it doesn’t matter because everything I gain, all that I have or will have, is in vain. It will pass as time passes, and the next thing comes. God has said it, we have seen it, and it will be. So why even try?

We keep going because we don’t have a choice. We are here because God, our creator, willed us to be here. As quickly as he brought us here, he could take us away. As fast as he gave us all we had, he could make it disappear.

A Life Wasted?

So is my life a waste? Was it all for nothing? I wake with a wrenching in the pit of my stomach. What will today bring? Could this be the day of ruin when every hidden weakness and the sum of all my fears come to light? Death would be a welcome friend in these days of darkness. But death will not go because I am not deserving of peace.

When death finally overtakes me, what have I left behind? I ache that I did not provide better for my wife and daughters. My wife deserved so much more from a husband than me. My girls deserved a better father. My choices have left me with regrets that will not go away. My grandchildren are jewels, but even then, I failed.

When I am gone from this earth, I wonder how people will remember me when there is nothing but a rotting corpse left here. Here lies a man God created for a greater purpose, but he wasted every opportunity to live out his God-given objective. Instead, he lived for selfish desire, chasing a mirage. Just as a man dying of thirst chases the imagined pool of cool fresh water, his mind tells him it is there. But everything is for nothing because evil puts the imagined satisfaction of living for the flesh in my heart.

And now, there is nothing left. Everything is lost, and nothing has changed. The aching is still there, deep in the pit of my stomach. The longing to have lived a life worth something is the company I will keep by my side until my days are done. This is not new. It is something that people have felt over and over. You see, there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 2:11 (ESV): 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

What is Left if Nothing Changes, if Nothing Under the Sun Is New 

There is hope in God, and it is that hope that keeps me going. God must have loved even me, the undeserving miserable creature like me. I used to think I could measure myself against others, and there I would be worthy. But with age comes wisdom, and with understanding comes sight. And I see myself for what I am – a worthless creature created for great things but wasted everything looking for something that was not there.

My life is the perfect example of why Jesus came to this earth, lived among us as one of us, and then suffered a horrific death at the hands of those whom he came to save. I was not on this earth when Jesus was killed, but it was by my hand that he died. And now, if there is any chance for me, I accept what he did for me so that God can forgive me for wasting my life and instead, living for my selfish desire.

And so, a wasted life can still have peace. Remember when I am gone, as another of God’s creations, gave the only thing he had to offer, his heart to God. It will be in death that I will find true meaning. When that comes, I do not know, but come it will.

John 16:33 (ESV): 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”