“I’ve never met a person who was ugly, unless they wanted to be. I’ve never seen my wife’s face, but I’ve listened to the sound of her smile.”
– Tom Sullivan
“During the last week of camp I met a little boy named “Timothy.” He was blind. His face, where his eye sockets should have been, was flat and kinda empty, and on one side the eye was missing completely. When I first met him, it was really hard for me to look at him…I was disappointed with myself that I couldn’t love him instantly the way I had with all the other kids. I remember emailing a friend one night and expressing how sad I was about this little boy – I felt like he didn’t just have a minor disability but that his disability actually defined him. Eyes are so key to a persons’ soul, and to hardly even have eye sockets just seemed so unfair.
On the first day i went up to Timothy and his caregiver to see how they was doing. She was sitting their crying. Tears streaming down her face. Timothy couldn’t really engage in the art activity that we were doing so she had her iPod out and was letting him listen to her music. She was clearly overcome at the intensity of his disability too.
As the week went on. I got to know Timothy a bit. He was a pretty passive kid, in his own world a lot of the time, obviously had not received much education or one on one attention. He seemed very oblivious and quite removed from the real world. But still, I fell in love with him. I started teaching him guitar and just kinda interacting more with him – figuring out ways to include him and make his surroundings come alive to him. I ran his hand over the contours of my face and through the length of my hair. I started to explain about how my skin was a different color to his…but then i stopped – does color even exist to him? We connected through touch and he could tell instantly when it was my hand he was holding and when it was someone else’s.
Then on Thursday – this was the highlight of my entire summer – we took him to the ocean. At first he didn’t want to go in, he kept saying he was scared, and so his caregivers just let him play in the sand. But I really wanted to try taking him in. I knew he would love it once he got in, its just that he didn’t know what the ocean was – and how would he? He’d never been there before, he couldn’t see it and I’m sure the sounds of crashing waves weren’t the most inviting.
I held his hand and explained that i was going to take him down into the water. He said, “姐姐我不要，我害怕，害怕” – “sister! I don’t want to go in, I’m scared.. scared”. But we went nice and slow and I explained all the sounds and textures and smells to him. When his feet first hit the water he was a little surprised and kinda hesitated but I kept reassuring him, and then, he decided to trust me. We went further in. His face showed a mixture of raw curiosity and deep peace. He seemed to be enjoying it. When he was in up to his waist he was still holding both of my hands, but visibly starting to relax. Then I put his hands in the water and rubbed them together, he let out a little giggle and started saying 洗手洗手！”I can wash my hands!” He put his hands up to his face and giggled further, exclaiming 姐姐！看看我！我在洗脸！”sister look at me! I’m washing my face!” it was the coolest thing – so innocent, so pure.
We ventured in further. It was incredible. He was in awe of all that he was sensing. The way the waves gently lapped against his body, the saltiness on his lips, the all encompassing presence of water. When we were deep enough I told him to lift his legs up and that I was going to teach him how to float. He tried it immediately, trusting me fully, and relaxed onto his back. The look on his face was one that i’ll never forget. He was so delighted and kept doing his little giggle thing. He could have stayed there for hours.
I think it was then that I realized he didn’t need eyes to communicate delight. I didn’t need to be able to look into his eyes to understand what he was thinking/feeling, his voice and facial expression was plenty. It was also at that moment that I stopped defining him by his disability, but by his name – Timothy. He was no longer the little blind boy with no eyes. He was Timothy, the brave adventurer who I had the privilege of taking to the ocean for the first time, the innocent child who was so willing to trust, the young man who had no qualms expressing emotion and embracing freedom.
I hope that next time I see a little boy with no eyes I don’t have to wait a few days before I start seeing his heart. I hope that I will be able to remember that he is not defined by his physical features or lack there of, just as I am not. I now see that beauty is not only something seen with the eyes, but it is the delight that seeps out when you allow yourself and others to embrace freedom.
Timothy, thank you for redefining beauty for me, and for revealing something of my own beauty to me.” -Rach
We meet so many kids each year at camp that from the worlds view are “flawed” and “unlovable.” These kids are more than a number, more than a face and more than their disability. Timothy is like so many other children, is longing for someone to show him he is beautiful, he is loved, his life has purpose! Through HIM, we see the beauty of this boy and so many other children!
For The Kids – Bring Me Hope
P.S. Below are all the videos from this week’s Yantai blog features!
Fu Xia is a sweet, ten year old girl that Bring Me Hope staff and volunteers at the Yantai location had the privilege to meet and grow to love. Fu Xia’s special need is dwarfishness; and, she loves to sing, dance and play just like every other child. She lit up the room with her sweet smile and loving personality. But the resounding echo, the one we hear for every child, is that she needs a family.
Our hope is that through camp and raising awareness about the orphan crisis, forever families would be led to the precious children that we have the privilege of working with.
The victorious news for Fu Xia is that she now has a forever family and will be going to live with them soon! More than that, her parents have also decided to adopt a little boy! They hope to be able to bring the two kiddos to their forever homes together, but with that come a heap of expenses. The biggest barrier between this family and their newest additions is money, that is where you come in! Depending on where you feel led to give, the Parker family would so appreciate donations to help bring their kids home.
Heartsent Adoptions, Inc. China Waiting Child Fees
-HAI Program fee (part 1) $2,750 -HAI Program fee (part 2) $2750 -Beijing Service Fee $500 -I-800A Approval $2,850 -Visa Processing Fee $380 -Post-Adoption Service Fee (part 1) $1,800 -LSC $2,180 -China Travel Coordination Fee $2,000 -Article 5 Submission $2,000
In-Country Travel Expenses
-Orphanage Donation Fee $5,500
-China Notary Fee $550
-Registration Fee $325
-Application Fee in Province $95
-China Passport Fee for Child $110
-Flight from Province to Guangzhou for 3-4 people $1,000
-Incidental Fees: medical, photos, etc. $100
Heartsent Adoptions, Inc.
140 Brookwood Rd.
Orinda, CA 94563
The vision of Bring Me Hope:
“To convince orphans of their incredible worth and value, and to inspire volunteers to use their influence, skills, and resources to help orphans”
What a joy it is to serve the children for the one who loves us. We must never forget that we can cover these kids in love and trust that there is a greater love than even that, one that we cannot in and of ourselves give to them, one that only the Father can provide. We can trust him with their forever families.
So many more orphans are in need of forever families, and we want to do everything possible to bridge that gap, from the families to their kids.
Rally Day through Bring Me Hope is coming up December 1, 2012. This is the FIRST EVER Rally day in which the volunteers and staff will join efforts in their own cities, states, and countries, and raise awareness for the orphan, for their buddy or buddies froom camp. The goal is that our voice might be loud enough to be heard.
That resounding echo does not go away when we leave camp. It gets more intense. Living here knowing that our kids still don’t have families is heart breaking. This is our chance to really do something. Please continue looking at our facebook page, website, and twitter. Videos for several of these children will be posted on www.defendfoundation.org
As our tired tears watched the bus full of little ones drive away,
all we could do was declare His love over them in faith.
Knowing that His love is more satisfying and steadfast than anything
we could give these precious kids we had grown so close to.
This was the emotional departure that was shared among volunteers, translators, and staff across each camp site, each week of Bring Me Hope Camp.
Bring Me Hope had camps for four weeks in Xinzheng, Kunming, Taiyuan, and Yantai; and, one week of camp in Nanchang.
Week 2 of Xinzheng camp: after having a paper fashion show!
96 Volunteers from around the world came together for one purpose….to give China’s children HOPE.
Taiyuan Week 1
24 staff members and 31 Chinese staff gave support and encouragement throughout the many weeks of camp.
Yantai Week 2
274 translators helped immensely with the language barrier and had opportunities to be poured into by the staff and volunteers
All of this…
For the kids!
Bring Me Hope held camp for 347 Chinese Orphans this summer!
The goal of BMH camp is to show orphans their incredible worth and value, and to inspire volunteers to use their skills, resources, and influence to help orphans. Everyone that was part of the summer camps grew as a family and enjoyed crafts, swimming, and family time. Seeing the smiles as the children got into the pool, the first time for many, filled our hearts with a joy that is hard to describe; and, seeing the kids slowly begin to trust that their volunteers would protect them was such a beautiful picture.
The children and the volunteers wrote good-bye letters to one another; and, the responses from the kids show just how much love the children were shown and learned how to show while at camp.
“Dear sister, I really enjoy your laugh because it makes me feel that you love me and have fun with me. I love you. The happiest thing is that we went to the swimming pool together and you kept holding me all the time without any rest. Thank you. I was so happy with your company. I really don’t want to go home.”
“I’ll be a good example of helping people. If you have any difficulties, I will help you. Because you helped me, I should also help you. Isn’t that fair?”
“I like to draw pictures with you and swim together. I cannot swim, but you are here and make me feel safe. I am so thankful. I will miss you.”
“Thank you for taking care of me this week. I know you are tired sometimes but you are always smiling. You are a good sister. I really wish we can meet together again in the future.”
Hearts were forever changed by these precious children. Hearts break because their value and worth is not always recognized.
The goal of Bring Me Hope is that these kids would see their worth and beauty in the way they are created; and, that we would be a stepping stone for forever families to be united with these little blessings.
Bring Me Hope has a follow-up program in which the life of each child that attended camp is looked into and examined. For some of the kids it is addressing a medical issue or working on improving their living conditions. For others, it means contacting their orphanages and asking officials to start on adoption paperwork.
Since August we have:
–moved several children into foster homes
–researched medical treatment options for the kids
–helped find several adoptive families
–provided many adoptive families with information and photos of their little ones waiting in China
For children who are ready to be adopted, many volunteers have been actively trying to find families for their children. An outlet making it possible for voices to be heard is Defend.
Defend is an extension of Bring Me Hope that seeks to defend the poor and needy. Through videos, social media, and word of mouth volunteers spread the word about specific needs; and, raise up teams to meet those needs through awareness, prayer, and financial support.
Right now we are featuring children from our camps who need families or sponsorship. Eventually we hope to expand to feature needs from other non-profits and help people defend needs around the world.
Wow! What a blessed Night Walk 2012! We are so thankful for each of you for participating! An official Night Walk Recap will follow this post, but we wanted to give you all a little hint into the awesomeness that was Night Walk!
We started the beginning of the Night Walk with a conference call, led by Lacey Scott (Bring Me Hope’s U.S. Operations Director) and David Bolt (Bring Me Hope’s Executive Director). During this conference call we had the opportunity to hear the voices of some of the orphans Bring Me Hope will be working with this summer. We were also able to hear the story of an orphan who Bring Me Hope worked with in China, was adopted, and had the opportunity to go back to volunteer at a BMH Summer Camp! Whoa! Check out the whole call HERE!
“This was my 1st “Nightwalk”! I love those littles very much and wanted to help somehow.”
-Misha Barcroft, Alamo Night Walk
“This is the fourth annual Night Walk my Mom, Grandma, little brother and I have done. I do it because Bring Me Hope is near and dear to my heart. I would love to volunteer one year and go to China for the summer camps but that hasn’t worked out so Night Walk participation has been a great way for me to help.”
-Joyce Campbell, Kaweah Night Walk
Birubi Beach, Australia
“We had a beautiful day for our ‘night walk’, and it appears that we will raise about $2000 so it was a great success.
We were joined by a small band of faithful, and all creatures great and small. We had our dogs, horses, camels and God even sent two humpback whales to ‘walk’ with us.”
-Steve Odger, Birubi Beach Night Walk
“We typically have service and study on Friday nights, so we just incorporated the Night Walk into our Friday service. I led our congregation in by giving a presentation on our Bring Me Hope experience in 2010 and the importance of the Night Walk. We set up luminaries (paper bags with candles in them) to make a path around our campus and basketball courts, about a quarter mile circuit, and started walking! A couple of our guys walked with guitars and sang songs the whole time. I did not know that our own daughter, Eden, would be featured in the conference call!”
Meet CongCong, the Bring Me Hope Star of the Week. Please read his story and let it touch your heart. In the days ahead, join us as we pray for and encourage CongCong, an aged-out orphan who is fighting leukemia.
An 8-year-old boy living in an orphanage in Xi’an, China. He is not an orphan but a son of an ayi there who now lives and is growing up with the children his mother also cares for.
Everyday, he lives among these children who have no family. He eats with them and plays with them but gets to leave the grounds to go to school as “normal” children do.
There is another young boy in that orphanage about the same age who doesn’t have the same life as Kobe. He is an orphan, but one different from many of the children there. No “special needs;” but an orphan nonetheless. He wasn’t entirely alone—his older brother and younger sister had come to the orphanage with him after their parents had died. And, that is where they stayed, not ever even eligible to be adopted because they had at least one living relative.
This boy, CongCong, became a big brother to Kobe and his closest friend as they grew up side by side.
When Kobe left the orphanage to live with his father at their home in Baoji, their hearts hurt. But, every summer, he still came back to the orphanage in Xi’an and joined his brother CongCong until one summer when he was no longer there. He had aged out at about 15 years old and was somewhere on his own.
Years later, Kobe is now a man, a man doing life again with orphans as he works in Xi’an with Bring Me Hope. A few months ago, when he saw an old friend from the orphanage, he heard news that broke his heart. His dear friend CongCong is dying, suffering of acute non-lymph leukemia. Alone. Kobe wrote, “It’s just like when you find a lost precious thing but it turns out to be broken.”
Since then, every Saturday he has spent with CongCong. Encouraging him through their Father, the only Father CongCong knows, and caring for him. His treatment is expensive, too costly with no guarantees. At last visit, he had 300 yuan in total, the equivalent of under $50.
Kobe knows he cannot do anything to help. But, he can pray. And, he has—though he has struggled to continue to trust through it all.
And so, now, we are joining him, lifting him up, holding the arms of Kobe up and holding this young man CongCong up as he prepares to meet His Father who created him.
And, we are asking you to do the same. Please lift him up.
Please also consider caring for CongCong in a tangible way. Send him words of love and encouragement; send him messages of hope (check out www.congcongscare.blogspot.com to do this). Each word will be read and translated to him by Kobe himself. And, consider giving financially even if only a small portion to help him spend his last days differently than he would be spending them otherwise.
Together, we can help CongCong spend his final days knowing that he will not leave this world with no one knowing his name.
But we at Bring Me Hope want to not only bring awareness, but a chance for you to respond. Lift these kids up, sponsor a kid to go to camp, or come volunteer with us this summer! Advocate for our “Star of the Week” and ask families you know to adopt these beautiful kids.
Together, we can change the lives of these orphans!
Name: XiaoNan – Age: 8 – Favorite things: Helping and playing with friends and caretakers, being active – Status: Needs a forever family! (Read the full post for more information and photos of XiaoNan!)
XiaoNan is a fun eight year-old orphan. While his smile gives away that mischievious vibe, NanNan is a sweet boy who enjoys helping his friends and caretakers. He even helps decorate the Christmas tree!
NanNan has Down Syndrome, however no heart or thyroid problems have been detected. Physically, NanNan is very sure of himself and enjoys running around and playing with his friends!
NanNan has a bit of a sweet tooth… which makes sense for such a sweet boy. He would be a fun addition to a forever family!
Here is an update on David (volunteer Micah Crowe’s buddy from camp in Xi’an this summer!)… the awesome sequel to the post, “Ready to Belong”. We are excited to lift Jim and Kari Schott up as they seek to bring David home to be a part of their forever family! The following is a guest post by Jim and Kari about their “China adventure” to bring David home!
“Smooooch!” The chapstick worked well for the principal as he bent down to kiss a way too cute pig at the school carnival. A highlight of the school carnival, there was also good food, lots of kids, and fun games. In the midst of all the candy and treats, one game was thoughtfully giving toothbrushes to the winners. Our little man came home with two new toothbrushes feeling very proud of himself.
As he handed them to me to put away, he said, “Mom, I want you to save this for my brother.” He has three older sisters. We have been praying about a brother to adopt. We began the adoption road almost three years ago. There is no doubt why He gave this little man the nickname “Hope-bug.”
Not that cross your fingers kind of hope. A wish. A dream. Known certainty is the kind of hope we can have. Lots of things we don’t know, but we can focus on what we do know. He is love. He sent His Son to adopt us into His family. He is with us! If we will put our hope in Him, we know we will be with Him always. Why? Because of who He Is. We put ourselves in the very Hands of Hope.
Two weeks after the school carnival, while checking out Facebook, I saw a post by Micah Crowe on the Bring Me Hope website. Micah wrote about a sweet, smiling little boy who needed a family. I could email Kelly to learn more about him. I did. We talked on the phone.
My husband and I talked to Living Hope Adoption Agency. We liked the “hope” connection. We sent our application in with much prayer and hope. We were so excited to learn that we had been matched and could begin our China adventure!
How did I read the post on Bring Me Hope’s Facebook page? My friend, who has four children adopted from China and whom several of our children are in the same grade at the same school and we go to the same church, took her oldest daughter to China last summer to volunteer at a Bring Me Hope Camp.
We walked to help raise money two years in a row with this beautiful family and were blessed to be a small part of their love and time given in China last summer through Bring Me Hope.
Since our being matched, we have met many special people who love our son. Pictures and videos have been given to us and many people have been lifting him up.
Bring Me Hope has been a connection for many of these people and especially for the precious children the summer camp is meant for.
Who knew that a little smiling boy, often pictured right in the middle of a group of children, would attend summer camp for Chinese orphans, have his story shared by this organization by someone who loves him and asked for him to have a family, read by us just because we had supported friends who volunteered at this camp? He knew.
We hope to complete one more major piece soon to complete our home study and then have all the paperwork put together and mailed to China.
My blog is www.growingforeverdaisies.blogspot.com.
Thank you for your prayers for us as we continue our China adventure to bring our son home.
Micah Crowe (the volunteer who worked with David in Xi’an) adds that she highly encourages everyone to advocate for all these amazing children who still need forever families. Please continue to lift up every Bring Me Hope “Star of the Week” and spread the word about these kids! Praise Him that David’s forever family found him so quickly- now let’s help other forever families find their kids!
Name: Peter – Age: 10 or 11 years – Favorite Things: Playing soccer, swimming, singing songs, reading, and writing – Status: Needs a forever family! (Read the full post for more information and photos/videos of Peter!)
“Peter is a 10 (or 11) year old boy with a heart looking for genuine love. Peter will quietly perform acts that show his desire for attention. He will give his last piece of candy, hold your hand all day, draw pictures of him being the prince and you the princess, and ensure that you are protected. He doesn’t smile quickly or give hugs readily, but you can see in all the small actions that he is waiting for love.
“Peter can play soccer, swim, sing songs, read, write, and feed himself.”