His steps were carefully placed; he wanted to make no sound. He’d left the mountain trail behind because he feared meeting anyone and too many people traveled the trail, even at night. But making his way down the mountain with nothing but instinct was something ten year old ShiZhanhui was accustomed to doing. He knew the way. But his steps must be so light, his movements so slowly executed as not to drop the precious bundle held close to his chest by strips of cotton wrapped so tightly around his torso he scarcely could breathe. His left hand kept the sleeping infant warm and secure, while his right helped feel for hand holds as he made his way down.
At last he made it to the Burmese border village, where his little sister was handed over to others who, for a price, would find her a home in America. It was promised as they took the bag of coins he’d carried tied around his waste.
When his mother had become pregnant again, she had wept bitterly for many days. She only had two choices for the baby she carried, only one of which was allowed by her government. Somehow she managed to conceal herself until her time came. But the baby to whom she gave life now had to be spirited away. She was afraid to send her son, but he might, just might, make it down the mountain to the secret adoption people.
As the boy made his way back to his high remote village, he finally allowed tears to sting his eyes, unseen in the dark.
Many years later, ShiZhanhui’s son, ShiShunLi, called Li, sat in a classroom in an American university. ShiZhanhui, a fisherman, saved for many years and prepared his son to go to America. Li knew that his father had a sister there. It seemed unlikely that he would ever meet her. ShiZhanhui told him “God will make way.”
A Cantonese version of the Bible had been given to ShiZhanhui many years ago. He kept it; he didn’t know why. At first it lay hidden in his sleeping chamber, a small space under the floor that was warmed by the cooking fire above. One day a neighbor attended a house church which met secretly; the man believed. He told ShiZhanhui. ShiZhanhui did not believe, but was curious enough to look in his Bible. There, he learned of a loving God who adopted anyone who believed into His family. Brothers, and sisters, ShiZhanhui had thought, with much joy, remembering with hope, the sister he had, somewhere in America.
Li’s second class on his second day of college was large. It was an American history class. He sat in the back of the room. The bell was ringing as a young girl quickly took the seat beside him. She smiled shyly, and he thought something about her seemed familiar, though he’d never seen her before, he knew.
As class dismissed, he spoke up.
“Hi, new in America,” he managed, hoping she’d understand. “Name Li”.
“Hi, not so new,” she laughed, “Name Mia, born in America.”
They went to lunch together and got acquainted. Mia was from a suburb of Chicago. As they talked, Mia told Li about her family. Li told Mia about his, back in China. Mia’s mother, married to a Chicago businessman, had been born in China. She knew very little other than that. She was adopted as a baby by a missionary couple in Burma, who had been unable to have children.
“About forty-five years old,” she answered Li, who’d asked about her mother’s age.
“My father, about fifty-five,” he told her.
They were quiet for a moment, and then smiled at each other.
“Hi cousin!” she grinned.
“Hi cousin you too!” he answered, laughing.
And, maybe they were. And in Christ, they both agreed, they were much more than that.
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God ~ Romans 8:16 NKJV
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