Awash With Christmas Gratitude: Our George Bailey Moment

These words from from my lovely and talented wife.

About a week ago, an incident here at the Wright Household led John to post a request for money on his blog. What happened next, is nothing short of a Christmas Miracle.

John did not quite get the facts correctly, so here is the real story, in its entirety.

Two years ago, in October, I met for the first time my daughter, Yue Ping-Ping, soon to become Ping-Ping Evelyn Wright. (Well, maybe I met her for the first time then, or maybe she was the little girl in the dream I had many years before who told me that she was going farther away so that a little blond boy could come be with us first. I have always thought that blond boy was the Cherubim. )

The day before we left China, we let our new daughter have one last sleep over at the house of he friend, the Incomparable YiYi. When Ping-Ping came back, she was sadder. She had met her foster grandmother, who did not want her to leave. While with the foster grandmother and her friends, Ping-Ping had made a promise. She would return to China in three years and see her friends again.

We left Guangzhou and flew to Beijing. The book I had bought for my daughter had gotten packed in the wrong bag, and she finished her book. So, she was left for five hours in the airport sitting beside me and watching the very scary commercials about the flu in America.

On the plane, on our way home, my brave-spirited girl began to cry. She did not want to go to America. She wanted to stay in China. Then, she asked me, via our translation box, would she be able to go back to China in three years?

I tried to explain about money, about how expensive it was … but I could not do it very well. And, then, she asked me: “But what about keeping your word. Isn’t it important for me to keep my word.”

I am crying, sitting here at the computer, just thinking about it. What could I say? How could I tell my new daughter not to keep her word? Wouldn’t I be telling her not to keep her word to us?

But if I let her go … what if my little girl went back to China and never came home?

It was by far the hardest moment of my life as a parent.

But as I prayed, what came to me were words from, I believe, Jonathan Livingston Seagull: “If you love something set it free, if it comes back it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.” And I thought, if after three years, we cannot get her to love us enough that she wants to come back to us, we’ve failed anyhow.

As I sat there and agreed, my heart in my mouth, for I had no idea how I could afford such a thing, I never had the slightest idea that when she went, she would expect me to go with her.

Fast forward two years. Ping-Ping has convinced me to go this winter for Chinese New Year instead of next year, because this is the last time her friends will be together at the same school … her last chance to see them.

So carefully, I start making arrangements. The money we are due from the IRS that I expect to pay for the tickets never comes (lost paperwork). I write a friend who has offered to pay for Ping-Ping’s ticket and beg him to lend me the money for both tickets.

God bless him, he does.

Only he sends the money from Belgium. By the time it arrives and clears, the ticket price as gone up $500 each … that is $1000.

So, I called my handsome and impressive husband and I said, “John, the ticket price has gone up. We made this promise to our daughter. May I take all our Christmas money your father sent, which is all we have for Christmas, and buy these tickets?”

And John said: Yes.

Meanwhile, we are trying to get our goddaughter, Ling Shan, back to China, where her aunt and boyfriend are waiting for her. Our good friend, Mark, for no reason other than kindness, offers to pay for her ticket home. God bless him!

Well, John puts a note on his blog, confusing Ping-Ping’s ticket with Ling Shan’s. And money starts coming in, and in, and in.

It was like the scene in It’s A Wonderful Life, where the neighbors show up and save George Bailey and the Savings and Loans.

That night, when John got home, we had received: $1048.00. The entire amount that we had spent over what we originally had plus a little more. We also received Warhammer toys for the boys, books, chocolate, fake coins for shoes, and a number of other wonderful gifts. Someone even asked to send cookies, god bless her!

We have now received over $1450.00.

$450 of this went toward Ling Shan’s ticket home. The rest about the same amount again, was paid by Mark.

$300 or more will be used for Visas for Ping-Ping and I to get into China. (I think Ling Shan doesn’t need one as a Chinese Citizen.)

The rest has gone to Christmas presents for the boys and to take all five Children to the Festival of Lights and the Winter Caravel on the other side of it … something they look forward to every year, that Grandpa Wright usually pays for with his Christmas money, and which I particularly wanted to do while Ling Shan was with us. (We went. We had a perfect night. The children loved it, and, in one of those wonderful serendipity moments, Ping-Ping ran into her other good friend there, too, even though we picked a time that was not very crowded.)

So, thank you so very, very much, God, all the wonderful people on the Internet who read my husband’s blog, and Clarence.

Note her first concern is to correct her husband’s errors. God sent women into the world to prove to men that love, the more profound it is, the more it demands in the beloved, not less.

But to all the above, I say ditto and amen. Your kindness and love, my beloved friends and generous strangers, is a miracle no less because it was worked through human hands.