Celebrating the Dads Who Touch Our Hearts
On Father’s Day in the US, many of us reflect on childhood memories with our father. Some of us are fortunate enough to spend Father’s Day surrounded by our family, making memories we hope will last for years to come. Fatherhood is definitely a privilege worthy of celebration.
As a Board Member of LWB, I have been blessed to witness a number of men show me what it truly means to be a father. These men have unselfishly sacrificed their own lives for the lives of their children. At Love Without Boundaries, we want to celebrate the fathers who have touched our lives through the way in which they love their children.
Many of you remember Harley and James, the conjoined twins who were surgically separated earlier in 2016 with the help of the generous gifts of our donors. At birth, the twins’ father must have been overwhelmed when thinking about the future. Would he have enough to feed, clothe, and educate twins? How would he ever afford the huge cost of life-saving surgery?
Sadly, the decision to abandon his children at the steps of an orphanage almost certainly crossed his mind. However, he sought out a way to get his children the help they needed. Because of his selfless choice, his children are healing in the arms of their mother and father.
Also we remember Samuel, the young boy from the Tibetan Plateau who was born with a cleft lip and palate. Samuel was not able to attend school because of his cleft lip, but the surgery was much too costly for his family who live on a very meager income.
This father learned of LWB’s Cleft Medical Exchange and was determined to have his son’s cleft surgically repaired. When it came time to travel thousands of miles from Tibet to Kaifeng, Samuel’s father found a way, and he now has a wonderful repair performed by the surgeons gracious enough to use their skills for the benefit of others.
And what about Laurel? Laurel is also from the Tibetan plateau and also from a family who has very little. Laurel was born with a GI malformation that was repaired surgically when she was 18 months old. Unfortunately, her complex surgery was performed by an inexperienced surgeon, and she was left with daily complications and excruciating pain.
When Laurel’s father learned of the Unity Initiative and the possibility of LWB helping her, he would have climbed a mountain to get her to us. In fact he did climb a mountain. Laurel and her father left their home and literally climbed over a mountain to get to the nearest city to catch a train to Shanghai. Laurel then received life-changing surgery and resided with her father at the Loving ARMs Healing Home while she recuperated from her surgery.
The two were then finally able to take the long trip home to begin a new, pain-free life for Laurel.
On a personal level, I can relate to each of these men and the desire to give their children the very best care possible. My wife, Lauren, and I have eight children. Four of our children are biological, and four are adopted from China. Patrick, one of our adopted sons came to us with a very complex congenital heart defect.
We knew that in order for Patrick to live, he would need a complicated heart repair soon after we brought him home. Fortunately, we didn’t have to climb any mountains, but in November 2015 we took Patrick to Boston, where a skilled group of medical professionals performed a 13-hour surgery and gave our son a new life. At the time of his adoption, Patrick couldn’t walk up stairs or even across the room without being short of breath. Now he outruns his brothers and sisters with a laugh and a smile.
To fathers everywhere, Happy Father’s Day!
~Jason Ayres serves on LWB’s Board of Directors.