We are so quick to fill in the blanks, aren’t we? We get one part of a story, and we use our imagination to complete the rest.
But it’s too simplistic to do that with the care of orphaned children halfway around the world… to see an image and create a tragic narrative, hear a testimony and judge an entire community, read an account of a single incident and make assumptions about an entire system.
We want to have eyes to see the good.
And there is most definitely good to be found. So this month we are sharing stories that exemplify the good. The lovely. The things that remind us that there is always hope.
Join us as we share stories of love in the unlikeliest of places.
I have only met her once, only shared one meal with her, but this women and I share a love, a fierce love for a little girl.
The first time we heard about her was an answer to a simple question that we had included in an update request, asking about her favorite nanny…
Her closest nanny is AiHua. She is Cong Cong’s teacher. She spends more time with her and knows Cong Cong very well.
In the next update, there she was again…
Teacher AiHua will pick her up and Cong Cong will soon stop crying.
This teacher, whom I had never met… I wanted to reach out and hug her.
Thank you for comforting my little one, comforting her when I could not.
We didn’t realize the extent of their relationship, but we hoped that we could at least meet her briefly when we visited her SWI.
Two days after we met Ellie we carried our new daughter back through the doors of the place she had called home for 19 months. We met people who had watched our daughter grow, had cared for her through surgery and everyday life. We met AiHua…
AiHua’s girl was the center of attention. This little girl, our daughter, was referred to over and over as AiHua’s girl. And although Ellie had a stoic face, she nestled into those safe familiar arms.
AiHua showed us Ellie’s crib, their playroom and bathing room. She came with us and shared the lunch that the orphanage staff had prepared for us. During this time, she shared glimpses into our daughter’s early life, before we came, when Ellie was just her Cong Cong…
She showed us dozens of pictures on her phone. Pictures and videos of them together – playing, singing Christian praise songs, snuggling up close, spending weekends at her home.
That relationship that I had wondered about? It was pretty evident: it was love.
Plain and simple love.
The goodbye that day was hard, but it wasn’t really a goodbye. We have been incredibly blessed to have stayed in contact with AiHua. Not a week goes by that we do not chat with the magic of technology.
We have shared countless photos, questions, stories and videos. She keeps me updated on other children in her care and we keep her updated with Ellie’s day to day life. We have exchanged gifts through the very SLOW mail and Ellie’s face lights up when something arrives from her AiHua.
I will never be able to thank her enough for not only loving our daughter while they were together, but continuing to love her even now they are apart.
Not long ago we celebrated our third forever day. On that day I sent AiHua a message and included some of the pictures that I took of us that day – that one day we spent together.
This is the response I received through WeChat…
Every time the kids leave me, I feel sad for a long time. I am both happy and sad. Glad she had a good family, sad thing she is not on my side. This pain so bad, respectively.
Thank you still keep contact with me. Cong Cong can let me see a lot of photos. Can also make me feel Cong Cong has been by my side, watched her grow up. Was very happy! I love you!
Thank you, AiHua, for loving our little girl, for loving her very well. I am honored to share this love, to share this spit-fire of a little girl who has changed us both beyond measure.
May you, and each caretaker like you, know that the love you pour into these little ones is seen and felt more than you will ever know.