The Red Slide.

February 16, 2015. It’s President’s Day, so we’re all home enjoying a day off. My sister and her girls are here, and we had just gone to the Phil Wickham Sing Along concert at our church the night before. That night we sat in front of a row of Chinese men and women in their 20s, all singing to Jesus with us. I couldn’t help but think about our girl, somewhere out there waiting for us. We sang the lyric “Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow” and we both talked about we prayed for the blessing of our little girl, wherever she was!

Well, the next morning around 9:30am, the phone rings and I see that it is Great Wall, one of the agencies where we had our name on a wait list for a file. I pick it up excitedly and Ashley tells me that she has a file of a little girl. A little girl named Ying. She was 21 months old and was waiting for her forever family. Ashley told me she would email me the file and we could look over it and get back to her.

I grab my laptop and head to the bedroom with Trey so we can look at the email without the kids around. The first thing that pops up are two pictures. Two sweet pictures of a very skinny, sad baby girl, one where she is sitting on a red slide. Her eyes caught my attention right away, as did her {very} bald head and sweet lips. We pour over the information in her file and began the question of “is this our girl?”. I stared at that picture of her on the red slide all day for a few days straight. I texted her picture to a few close friends. I asked them to pray that if she was our girl, God would show us.

The days that followed were crazy. It was right during Chinese New Year, and Great Wall only had her file for a few more days. We knew it would take a few days to switch agencies and we had to do that and lock her file before Great Wall lost it. So, we basically had a couple of days to decide if she was “the one”. Of course, we said yes. How could we not? The sad little girl in the pictures needed a family, and we began to hear the Lord saying yes, this is HER! She is a Clemens!

Well, as they say, the rest is history. We said yes, transferred agencies, and locked in her file just in time. Then we began the rest of the paperwork and the wait for Travel Approval!

I am so thankful we said yes. Our sweet Ying, now Lila Mei, is the perfect fit for our family and we can’t imagine our days without her. Yes, there have been some hard times adjusting to our new family of five, but that little girl on the red slide is a completely different kid. It is truly amazing what love and family do for someone that had nothing and no one just 8 months ago.

There are so many orphans out there, and so many families that have the ability to say “yes”. If not us, then who? Who will give these children hope and love and a family? Our prayer throughout this journey is that more of you would say YES. Even if it is hard, if it interrupts your plans, if it seems too expensive— God can make a way when there seems to be no way. The church must wake up and take action and say YES to sweet little girls and boys like our Lila Mei. How can we not be the ones to say YES?

One day there will be no more orphans, when God makes everything new. (Revelation 21:5) But you know what? Right now, if orphans grow up to be adults and don’t come to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ, they will not join us in heaven. (John 3:36) That, my friends is truly sickening. If we don’t go and tell them the gospel (John 3:16) or bring them home to raise them up to come to know Jesus as their savior (Romans 6:23), they literally have no hope here on Earth or in eternity. I can’t even wrap my head around that, and it honestly makes me want to move to China or adopt again right this second. If you need a reminder of how desperate these orphans are, read this and ask yourself “how can we not?“.

**PS I wrote this a few days ago, without knowing some amazing news!! One of my sweet friends that followed along our journey to Lila Mei has decided to start the process of foster to adopt. And another friend texted me this weekend telling me she has had conversations with her husband about bringing home their own girl from China. I can’t even. Y’all. God is so good in answering our prayer that others would be inspired by our story and fell led by the Lord to adopt! God is good in encouraging our hearts this weekend. He is able to do more than we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)!


  1. Lori Adams

    It’s my heart’s desire that we would adopt from China. I recently met a man who spends the majority of his time (he’s a Pastor) doing missionary work in China. He brings hundreds of Bibles to China, spreads the Gospel, works with orphans, other missionaries in China, and has a true deep love of the Chinese people. He said they are so hungry for God’s Word. They cannot get it there, like we do here. Sometimes they do so at the risk of criminal prosecution, torture, or worse. Can you imagine not being able to freely love God? I sure cannot. In the future, if adoption does not happen (my husband is not on board with it), I do hope to volunteer some time in some Chinese orphanages. For now, I not only pray for God’s will in our family, but I pray for all those orphaned children in China, and other countries.

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