Yimei – A Holiday Tale

Each year around this time, I like to share a holiday tale about one of our children. As tough as their lives tend to be, thanks to the support you give to OneSky, the stories almost always have a happy ending. This year…well, you be the judge.

It was a cold, December morning when OneSky Family Mentor Gan came to get little Yimei and her grandpa for the long train ride from their village to Beijing. When Ms. Gan came to the door, Grandma’s eyes welled with tears. “Oh, you will come with them!

“Grandpa cannot read” Grandma said. “I have been so afraid he will get lost in such a big city and they cannot find something to eat. You are here! Now I feel relieved. Yimei’s poor eyes will be fixed and I can stop all my worry.”

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Although she’d never been outside the village before, little Yimei said, I’m not scared.”

“Good,” Ms. Gan told her. “We are having an adventure!”

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Grandpa, on the other hand, was terrified. For Yimei’s sake, he tried to pretend he wasn’t.

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Ms. Gan told Grandpa not to worry. OneSky will be there with him all the way.

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They’d never even seen an escalator before.

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Beijing was a whole new world.

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At last, they arrived at our China Care Home. What a relief!

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“Do you know why you are here, Yimei?” asked Director Liu.

“To help me see better with my eyes.”

“What a smart girl!” said Nurse Wang. “Soon you will have glasses like mine. And when you start preschool you will learn how to read.”

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But it wasn’t to be so simple. When Dr. Tang, OneSky’s medical director, gave Yimei a check-up, he discovered something. He told Grandpa that Yimei’s heart should be examined at the children’s hospital.

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Grandpa hesitated. This was not the plan. What should he do? “It’s important,” Dr. Tang said.

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At the hospital, it was confirmed. Yimei had a difficult form of congenital heart disease that had failed to self-correct. She needed surgery. Soon.

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“It’s very fortunate you have come to Beijing on another matter,” said the doctor. “But for her heart, we will need her parents to be present.”

“Her parents?”

Grandpa didn’t know if he could find Yimei’s mother, let alone convince her to come to Beijing.

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Good fortune. Happy ending. It’s hard to say.

016img_0512But one thing is certain … OneSky will move heaven and earth to help a child like Yimei. Thanks to you, we can.

“Yimei, can you see who I see?”

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“That’s my daddy!”

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“I’ve come for your big day, Yimei.”

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“Is my mama here?” Yimei asked.

“No, Yimei. She is so sorry she can’t come. She has to stay at her job.”

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The hospital agreed to perform the surgery with just Yimei’s father present. So after a teary goodbye to Grandpa and Ms. Gan, Yimei’s own specially-trained OneSky Nanny Hu took Yimei to prepare for the next morning’s surgery.

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“I tried to get my wife to come, but she said she’s too busy,” Yimei’s father said. “She hasn’t seen Yimei for more than a year. It seems she’s forgotten how to be a mother.”

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But in the morning, when Yimei’s father arrived at the operating room, his wife was there!

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Our OneSky staff was jubilant! We couldn’t wait for Yimei to wake up and see the mama who she believed only lived inside the phone.

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In even the worst of times, when children are surrounded by love, they can thrive.

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We long for a world when every child like Yimei knows she is adored.

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Yimei’s unplanned heart surgery was a great success—and the arrival of both her parents was a big surprise.

Now we all hoped for a happy family reunion. A perfect fairy tale ending.

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But for children like Yimei, life is no fairy tale.

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In truth, when she woke from the anesthesia, Yimei did not recognize her mother. It had been too long.

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And Yimei’s mother soon tired of trying to win her love.

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She said she could only stay for a short while. She couldn’t afford to lose her job.

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So, even though her parents did not return with Yimei to the village, and even though there was to be no fairy tale ending, there is much to be happy about.

Yimei went home with a new heart that should need no further surgeries, a powerful pair of glasses…

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…and careful instructions for Grandma about exercising her eyes…

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…and a promise from Yimei’s daddy to visit whenever he can and to call her at least once every week.

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Yimei’s friends at OneSky will always look after her. She is special to us…

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And there can be no doubt in Yimei’s heart, that she is loved … That her life truly matters.

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Thank you for making that possible!

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