There are two little girls on my mind tonight.
Our good friends Andrew and Jess, whom we met in Eureka, and who, incredibly, later moved to my hometown of Spokane, and who, even more incredibly, we were able to meet up with in China in 2008, are about to get on an airplane to China, where they will be picking up their daughter, who currently goes by the name Ting Ting. I don’t know the entire story of how she became their child, but I know the Fouches have been involved with some orphanage work here in China and that their hearts are so big that they wanted to adopt a kid with a disability. Ting Ting spent a good portion of time in the hospital this year recovering from a major operation, and she’s healthy enough now to join her new parents and brothers in their warm, loving home in Otis Orchards.
Another little girl from Southern China, only a few months older than Ting Ting, is also occupying my thoughts, as she is occupying those of almost everyone in China and many throughout the world – Yue Yue, who was hit by two cars on Monday, and was ignored by 18 people who passed by her broken body on the street. She was finally rescued by Chen Xianmei, a middle-aged woman described as a “rubbish collector” – the kind of person one passes by almost every day on the street, collecting bottles or various scraps of other recyclable material. Yue Yue has been in the hospital all week, and according to recent reports, it looks very likely that she is braindead. No doubt her parents, who left her alone for a few minutes, will live with unimaginable pain for the rest of their lives. [I am not going to provide a link to any news about this, because there are a lot of very disturbing photos.]
Why should the Fouches fly halfway around the world to welcome into their family a girl born with a disability, whose parents could not care for her?
Why should Chen Xianmei, a woman who is probably ignored by most people who walk by her on the street, be the only one to have mercy on a dying girl?
I do not know why Ting Ting should have such a bright future when Yue Yue will probably not have one at all. Though I have never met either, I find myself feeling great joy on behalf of one, and sadness for the other.
Children like Ting Ting and Yue Yue slip away unnoticed every day, and not only in China. I can’t explain why, or argue that this is all for the greater good, or whatever. All I can say is that that I am grateful for the people who have shown compassion to these children, and who in so doing have borne witness to the power of loving-kindness, or charity, or 爱德 – whatever you want to call it. I’m having trouble naming it myself. But I know it when I see it.