Transformation: Past, Present, and Future
We speak a lot about transformation as it’s so tangible on trips like our recent Cleft Exchange. But transformation also occurs in perhaps less apparent, but equally or more important ways.
Past. All the kids on these trips are so special, but sometimes there’s one or two that stand out to become somewhat of a trip mascot. In 2012, that was Emily. With a familiar round face and striking eyebrows, she could have been my eldest daughter’s sister. Unlike my daughter, however, Emily was born missing an arm and both legs, as well as having a unilateral cleft lip. But we were all quick to realize that her resilient spirit was much more apparent than her physical differences. Several days into the trip she had a new smile, and not too long after that, a family halfway around the world would fall in love with her.
From what I see, her resilient spirit remains intact. Go get ’em, Emily (now Jennai)!
Present. Thursday’s blog mentioned 30 transformations, but I witnessed a few more. I saw a group of people from different countries, different languages and different organizations transform to a single cohesive team with one unifying goal – to heal children.
And along the way, ideas and techniques were exchanged, and friendships forged. But more importantly, I saw attitudes transform.
A visible deformity like cleft is considered unlucky by many in China, and for many families it is, as the cost to heal a child can put a family into financial ruin. But it’s difficult to keep that mindset when one witnesses the love and attention being showered onto these children during the week.
Attitudes change, and lives are transformed in yet another way.
Future. Heading back from these trips, many of us go through a low period. Part of it is the drop of adrenaline from working 16-18 hour days, but most of it is due to the fact that we are leaving and going home, and the children are not.
Most kids are going back to a less-than-optimal environment instead of to the loving and healing hands of a parent. And that is heart crushing.
But looking back at the 2012 trip, almost all of the children we helped then have now found their forever families. It’s my wish that the same happens for ALL of these kids I just met last week who are waiting for forever families.
Are there families reading this right now who might find their hearts opening to adoption? I hope so. Future families’ lives, and friends’ lives, all transformed. It’s the wonderful ripple effect of adoption.
I don’t know how to end this because the stories of these children are hopefully just beginning, so I’ll ask for a little help from Sir Paul and share a video that was made by one of the volunteer team members.
For those of you who have followed us on this journey, I want to thank you for your thoughts, prayers, energy, and yes — money. These trips do not happen without all of them, and all of you.
~Chris Ingoldsby, LWB Board of Directors