Working in the orphanages of China has caused me to re-examine all of the things in life that I take for granted. I honestly think that each of my children has at least 1000 photos of themselves as kids, especially since the invention of the digital camera, where you can snap away like crazy for no extra cost at all. I have boxes full of photos, stacked every which way in my closet.
Each and every day I look at one particular photo, however, that means the world to me. It was given to me by a very special young lady in China, who has been orphaned her entire life. She was never given the chance at adoption, and now sadly, she is considered "too old". She has lived her entire life so far without having a mom or dad, and each time I go to China I truly look forward to spending time with her. Each time I bring her a small gift she looks surprised, and she blushes the most amazing shade of pink when I hug her and tell her how happy I am to see her.
It was on my third visit to China that she came up to me shyly and pressed a small photo in my hand. I don't know if everyone realizes how precious photos are to the orphaned children in China. Many kids have just 1 or 2 photos of themselves. Sadly, I have met children who have none at all. No parent has their photo proudly displayed on a fireplace mantle. And so when I looked down and saw the photo in my hand, that she had taken from her room to give to me, I at first said I could not accept it. "No....." I argued, asking her to please keep it for herself. "It is too important to you". But she kept pushing it back to me and finally covered her hand with mine, looking at me very intently. "For you", she said......"so you will please not forget about me".
I had to turn my head to blink away my tears. Please not forget about me. REMEMBER ME. All any child wants is for someone to look at them and see them for the special people they are. There are thousands and thousands of children in China who will never be chosen for adoption, and who will never have their photo on someone's wall. I wish there was a way to tell them all that we DO remember them.....each and every day. But since I can't, I will always treasure this photo that was given to me by a very special young lady, whom I will never forget. And I will look at my own kids' photos and realize how blessed I am to share their lives. I am humbled every day at the experiences I get to have working with the children in China. They have taught me never to take anything for granted.....not even the simple act of taking someone's picture.