One of my wise friends posted the following on her Facebook page last week: “Some days it seems like bad news yells and good news only whispers.” Isn’t that the truth? Our society LOVES a good scandal, and bad news is the stuff of major headlines. For a topic like international adoption – trafficking, rehoming, and corruption will always make the New York Times. Parents trying their best, kids just being kids, and the thousands of successful families formed through adoption rarely get a mention.
Under my friend’s post, someone had left a wonderful comment. It said, “Remember to listen to the whispers.” I think we forget at times to stop and do just that. There are such terribly sad stories each day in the news, both in our backyard and overseas, and so it’s easy to think that everything about our world is going to heck in a hand basket. I’m grateful that I’m in a position with my work to see that there are countless small miracles and loving people out there that unfortunately the world just doesn’t ever hear about. Parents and children and volunteers and donors – going about their days as quiet heroes, trying to do the very best they can to lift each other up.
Many of you might remember when we posted about a wonderful boy named Ben who needed an adoptive home. He had been born with cerebral palsy, and he had watched almost all of his friends get chosen by families.
He had reached the age of 13, just one year short of aging out of the adoption system forever, when a family in the US knew he was supposed to be their son. Ben was adopted just days before his 14th birthday. I recently got this photo from his mom now that he has been home for six months – and oh yes, I immediately burst into happy tears.
This is a story you won’t hear on the evening news. I won’t have a reporter from the Wall Street Journal calling to ask me about this wonderful child who made it out of the system. But now I have this beautiful photo to remind myself how important it is to listen when good news whispers. How important it is to listen to the stories of people opening their hearts to one another and helping each other out. I don’t think anyone could look at that photo and not admit that it shows the real joy that can come when a child who was orphaned is CHOSEN and finally understands that they completely belong.
A few days later I got a few more couch jumping photos from the same family. One was of a little boy named Gang who was also born with CP and was in our nutrition program in China.
His mom wrote, “He was asked to give a talk in church in December. Most kids are afraid to do that but he said, “I love giving talks”. He gets so excited that he can’t contain it and the energy comes out as jumping and wiggling his body. During his talk he had the biggest grin plastered on his face. When he finished, he jumped down from the podium and did his little excited giggle with a wiggle and ran to his seat. I walked to the back, and on my way a boy about 9 said, “I just love all his happiness”.
The next photo I opened was of baby Bergen, also a member of the same amazing family, who came to our Anhui Healing Home with a complex heart defect. After sending him for exams, we sadly learned that he was considered “inoperable” in China. His only chance at life was to be adopted overseas. What a JOY it was when he was chosen by a family who understood that no one could promise just how many days he would have on this earth, but they promised to love him completely every single day he is here.
Bergen’s mom told me that having him for a son is such a priceless gift. Even though he is still battling complex heart disease, there is no taking away the beautiful fact that this child is CHERISHED. That probably won’t make the papers either, but it sure is a whisper of true good news that honestly deserves to be broadcast near and far. I know adoption is such a complex topic, with valid opinions coming from a thousand different directions. But there is no getting around the fact that Ben, Gang, and Bergen deserved for this family to love them. They are now HOME, and isn’t that where every child deserves to be?
This world will always be filled with the shouts of all that is bad, and I will be the first to admit that it sure is easy to fall into the habit of concentrating only on the negative. Getting these three photos last week was such a wonderful reminder that we also need to look for the good, as there is such simple beauty all around us that we often overlook. I am just so grateful to everyone who supports our projects with orphaned children. You inspire me daily to keep doing work that is often quite hard emotionally. Let’s remind ourselves regularly to recognize all the kind and compassionate people we are blessed to know in our lives. May their quiet whispers of love and hope continually fill up our hearts.
~Amy Eldridge, Chief Executive Officer