Friday, June 4, 2010
The Little Girl Behind the Smile
Her Chinese name is Long Pingli.
She is seven years old. Almost a year younger than Caroline and a little more than 3 years older than Alex.
She was born in October of 2002 and in 2004 she entered Longgang Orphanage in the Shenzhen District of Guangdong.
Right now she lives with her foster family there.
Our agency just returned from a camp where she and several other children from her orphanage were the special guests. From that camp we have seen several pictures and videos of this sweet girl and so many other faces of little ones wishing for a family.
Although she was born with congenital deformity of her hands and feet (basically missing fingers and toes), it is quite clear that nothing stops her. She sings (holding her own microphone), draws, dances, jumps, and giggles.
Which is why we fell in love with her in the first place.
See, so far as we know, this will be her fourth placement (from birth parents, to the orphanage, to her foster family, and then home with us). Still she smiles.
And though she has hands and feet that don't look like everyone elses, still, she smiles.
In every picture we have, she's smiling. Beaming, really.
In every video, she's bouncing, and clapping, and yes, smiling.
And when it came time to think of an English name for this little one, I was at a loss. For seven years she has a lived a life that I can't even begin to comprehend. There are plenty of names out there that I think are pretty and suit that precious face but what would be the right name for her.
So I prayed, asking the One who has known her from the beginning, the One who cares for her even now as the Father to the fatherless. What name would He have for her?
And not too long after that prayer, as I was driving, thinking about her, the name Abigail came to mind. A name I had not considered but was now intrigued by.
And as soon as I was home, I looked up the meaning and knew then and there that would be her name.
Because Abigail means "the joy of the Father."
And when we look at her, we see His joy.
And when we talk about her, we feel His joy.
And as we follow Him, once again, in bringing this little one home, we experience first hand His joy in placing the lonely in families.
And if Abigail Claire Pingli prefers to be called by her Chinese name instead of Abbie Claire, that's perfectly OK by me.
She is and always will be to me a reflection of His joy.