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Grace’s Choice

Adoptive father Michael Richard reflects on choosing to sponsor a child in China through Holt.

Our daughter Grace held a photo of a girl in her hand. Winter Jam 2013, the Holt-sponsored Christian concert tour, was revving up as the Newsboys played “We Believe.”

Is this girl the one? Like a sister I never knew?

Grace put the picture down. Then picked it up again.


It has been almost nine years since our family made this decision. A decision we gave to our daughter, Grace, to make — choosing to sponsor a child in China. Grace was 12 years old then, just like Xing. Both were born in China a few weeks apart. Why did my daughter choose to sponsor and support Xing Mei?

adoptive father with adopted daughter at great wall of china
Adoptive father Michael and his daughter Grace at the Great Wall of China.

When Grace chose that photo, Xing was the same age as Grace, but living in China, not America. Now a young woman in college in China, Xing is alike and different from Grace in so many ways. What was God’s purpose in these things?

Even though Xing, is 20 now, we still keep all her pictures and letters. Images and stories from a young girl growing up with a grandmother, but without living parents. It is hard sometimes to think of the path Xing has taken into our lives. 

Was Grace’s road easier because she was adopted by an American family, with two parents and an older brother? In a biological sense, our daughter never knew her mother or father, grandmother or grandfather. 

xing mei writing on a chalkboard
Xing Mei answering questions in class. She graduated from Holt’s sponsorship program and the Richard family continues to support her college education.

Yet, Xing did have some of these things once, in a way Grace did not. And even into Xing’s sophomore year of college, her living, breathing grandmother remains with her still. Xing’s story is, in a way, an open door to a past Grace never knew — except for a few government reports detailing the circumstances of our daughter’s birth in the city of Mao Ming and two silver rice bowls, a gift my wife thoughtfully picked out from the place of our daughter’s birth.

While the choice to sponsor and later support Xing’s education may have begun with Grace, the decision had God’s gentle nudge behind it. He allows us the privilege of participating in a small but necessary role in a young girl’s life. We all face choices.

Some may ask why did our family decide to support Xing’s education after she moved beyond the age of sponsorship? While we are in this life, we don’t graduate from caring for children of every age.

If God stands before a young boy or girl, knocking at the door to your heart, what will you do?

Looking at her pictures, I am amazed at the generosity of Xing Mei’s drawings — and her courage. Yet, now at age 20, her beautifully written English words speak deeply to me.

In her own words, translated into English by Holt’s team in China:

Now I have a summer holiday. I did not go to do a part-time job. But go home to help grandma do farm work, such as picking Jasmine flowers, drying cereal and transporting rice seedlings and so on. Helping my elderly grandmother to reduce the burden. I work for grandmother during the day and do my favorite things at night, such as practicing calligraphy, reading and reciting English words.

I envied other kids can grow up with a parent’s love countless times. I slowly took it easy all. Because I lost the parents’ love, but at the same time I got love from you, my sponsor, and more kind strangers loved me and helped me.

‘As the saying reminds us, where the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window for you.’

May joy and health be with you always.

Yours sincerely, Xing Mei Huang

Xing Mei Huang enjoys reading, practicing calligraphy and reciting English words. She plans to be a teacher and will be a third-year student studying Mathematics and Application Mathematics at Yulin Normal University.

About Michael

Michael L. Richard is an author, writer, and husband who still hopes to see the wishes of his two young adult children (and his readers) come true. His fiction novel Chosen’s Beautiful Heart is being pitched to publishers. He loves to write about parenting, adoption, Hong Kong, China and the horizons of our dreams and abilities. His email is [email protected].

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