Stories of Hope

Meet Our Staff: Xiao Li

Sep 7, 2019

Those of you familiar with the story of New Hope Foundation will likely know that there were three special Chinese individuals who helped Robin and Dr. Joyce Hill launch this work. This is the story of one of them.

Li Meng, who we affectionately call Xiao Li, holds the distinction of being the first person to begin working for the Hills. He’s been the four wheels of NHF since April of 1999. If you were to ask him about his role here, his answer would likely be that he is just a driver. But as we sat down to interview him, the memories he recounted, and all the tears that came with them, made it clear that he is much more than “just a driver.”

It was a couple from Korea who initially introduced Xiao Li to the Hills, and in the early days, he accompanied Robin to different state-run welfare institutes. He witnessed firsthand the hardships of the children and the things he saw impacted him very deeply. When the Hills decided to open their foster home, he agreed to stay on and do whatever he could to help.

Our Xiao Li has a very expressive and “go-getter” type of personality. Although he doesn’t have an English name, Determined might be a good one. He doesn’t let anything stop him! Because of this natural inclination, difficult tasks fall on his plate, and he’s known for being willing to do what no one else wants to do. He has often traded his chauffer’s “hat” for any number of others, always with one main goal in mind: to lighten the load of the nannies so they could focus on taking care of the children.

While he adored all the kids, one of Xiao Li’s extra special little ones was a boy called Herakles. He had a unique love for Driver Li and would follow him around everywhere he went. Herakles was eventually adopted into a forever family in the United States, and Xiao Li still keeps a photo of the two of them together and a couple of his favorite toys as well!

Xiao Li and Herakles

Herakles’ toys that Xiao Li keeps

One of the hardest parts of his job has been the goodbyes. Sometimes saying goodbye for Xiao Li has meant escorting a child to a new location in preparation for his or her adoption. Other times it has meant driving a precious little body to the funeral home and taking care of the necessary paperwork. Both of these scenarios bring with them powerful emotions, especially when you love the children like your own. Letting go, he says, has been really tough.

A few years back when all hope seemed to be gone for Dr. Joyce’s recovery from a stroke and Robin was faced with the gut-wrenching decision of discontinuing life-support, it was Xiao Li that suggested—or shall we say insisted—that Rob wait until tomorrow. That was one goodbye he was determined not to witness! As you probably know, Joyce revived the next day and is still doing very well. We thank the Lord for using Xiao Li’s persistence!

Driver Li readily admits that he had a very bad temper in his youth and he says that this work has helped him to become more unselfish and more giving. He has the utmost love and respect for the Hills and regards them as close family rather than employers. At the end of his interview, he remarked that if he hadn’t had a family of his own to support, he would have gladly worked for them for free. New Hope is blessed to have a team member who is as dedicated as he is determined!

An old photo of a young Xiao Li 

Xiao Li with Baylor