Monday, she would have been four.
I was 16 years old and volunteering at New Day Foster Home, when I was asked if I would like to help bring a baby girl, Liu Yi, home from the hospital. Of course I said yes.
When I walked into the room, this was my first glimpse of her.
What I didn’t know at the time was that she had severe scoliosis, and an even more severe heart condition. I didn’t know that she was four months old, because she looked the size of a newborn. I didn’t know that she was fighting for every breath.
What I did know was this- I loved her.
And I would be forever changed because of it.
I can’t really describe how deeply I came to love Liu Yi over those next few hours. I felt as if I could physically feel my heart swell in my chest with every passing second; this love was truly God given. Liu Yi was beautiful, and amidst the pain she was in, she still smiled- a smile that not not only lit up a room, it lit up my heart. But as I held her in my arms, singing lullabies and whispering prayers over her, I noticed how blue she was. Her fingertips, feet, precious toes, and her little lips were so, so blue. She was struggling for every breath. It was in that moment that I think I realized just how sick my sweet Liu Yi was. I also realized something else.
She was not just a statistic. So often I would hear stories of orphans on TV at home, and after watching for a few minutes, change the channel. But I now understood what God had been trying to tell me for so long. These children were not just a face on a television screen. And as I held Liu Yi in my arms, struggling for her every breath…I could no longer change the channel.
She was God’s child. And God had always called me to love her… just as He loves us.
When we pulled up at another hospital I was confused. I was told we would not be returning to New Day, instead we were dropping Liu Yi off at another hospital where she would have her heart surgery. Even though it was amazing Liu Yi would finally have the heart surgery she so desperately needed, I was devastated to have to leave her. I traced her little face with my finger, wanting to remember her every feature. We got back out of the car, I wrapped her in the blanket a little tighter, gave her one last kiss, and handed her to the nurse. As we drove away… I knew I had left a big piece of my heart there with her.
That was the last time I saw my sweet Liu Yi. Liu Yi’s precious little heart was just too broken for the doctors to fix. So, as I was on my flight home to America, Liu Yi went home to heaven to be with our Father, her heart finally whole.
Loving Liu Yi hurt, and it was so dangerous. But I would do it all again in an instant. Because Liu Yi was worth it. Those four hours I spent with her will be four hours I treasure for the rest of my life. In those four hours, Liu Yi opened my eyes, and taught me how to love.
And now, in honor of Liu Yi, I am asking you to help two little girls, Tabitha and Lydia.
Just like Liu Yi, these two little girls are in desperate need of heart surgery. They need you.
Both heart surgery's combined cost $14,000. We will be raising money for the next month here on this blog, posting more stories, videos, and pictures. You can donate through the chipin button on the right sidebar. Will you help us?
By donating, you are not just giving money.
You are giving these precious baby girls a chance at life.
Because they are so worth it.
Sweet Liu Yi, today you are four! Happy Birthday, little one. Today, I know you are playing with your Father. I cannot wait for the day when I finally feel the weight of you in my arms again. I love you.