This past weekend I was honored to have been invited to speak at the Colorado Heritage Camp which is held every Labor Day weekend in the Rocky Mountains. Really wonderful sessions about issues surrounding adoption were held for both children and adults, and my kids have already made me promise that they can return next year. I have to admit that because of my work in China, this was a very emotional weekend for me on so many levels.
On Sunday night, all of the children got to perform up on stage. As each group of children headed up to sing or dance for the audience, it hit me so strongly that each one of them had once lived in an orphanage. I listened to their parents clapping wildly and cheering for their beloved kids, and gave thanks that adoption is able to change so many lives. But then a wave of sadness came over me thinking of all the children still in orphanages who don’t know what it feels like to have someone believing in them so strongly….children who go to sleep each night wondering why there isn’t someone to love them.
The best moments of the camp came when adoptive parents would come up and introduce themselves to me, and let me know that their child had once been in an LWB program. I have to admit that it always makes me feel so completely humbled to know that we somehow got to play a part in helping a child better transition to a permanent home. What particularly struck me this weekend, however, was that every person who came up to me to tell me their child had been in LWB Foster Care went on to say how wonderful their child was doing, and how they felt being in a family environment in China made all the difference in the world.
It is no secret that I adore foster care. No matter how modern or big or fancy an orphanage building is – there is no changing the fact that it is still an institution, and babies weren’t meant to grow up in institutions. I am so grateful to all the orphanage directors in China who still want to support foster care and who still believe that all children deserve to grow up with parents who love them.
Over the next few days, we will be highlighting some of our foster care programs which we are now expanding. We are so happy that this means even more orphaned children will be able to experience family care.
I hope when you see the photos of the children, that you will consider sponsoring one of them or sending the information to friends and family who might be able to help. We will only be able to move children into homes as new sponsors are found. To all of our current foster care sponsors, and all those who I hope will join us in changing lives, I say thank you. When you help a child know the love of a HOME – you are providing a gift that a child can carry forever in her heart – the priceless feeling that she is special and worthy of being loved.