The first time I walked into an orphanage, my entire life changed forever. I was the mother of six, living the typical suburbia life where my biggest worry each day was getting the kids to baseball or school. And then, one cold day in January, I walked into an even colder orphanage in China filled with row after row of metal baby cribs, and stared into the eyes of a tiny boy who was dying of heart disease. He was SO blue, and as I stood by his crib I felt so helpless, thinking it would be impossible for me to help him.
I came back to the states and actually tried to put that little boy out of my mind. After all, what could a mom in Oklahoma do to help a child half a world away? But when I looked into my own children’s eyes, I only saw his face, and so I took a huge leap of faith to try and save him.
With the help of many friends, I was miraculously able to arrange for the baby to have surgery, and soon after he was healed, he found his forever family through adoption. Now he is a giggling little boy in Sweden, and his parents can’t imagine their life without him. What if I had chosen to do nothing?
Following that surgery, I decided to devote my life to helping even more orphaned children. Amazingly, over 500 kids have now had surgery, and so many are now adopted. While overwhelming at times, I will never give up because of the core belief that I carry in my heart that “every child counts”. I believe that every child we can impact has the ability to change the course of the world forever. Each child we touch could grow up to be a great teacher, or the scientist who cures cancer, or the next Martin Luther King.
Recently, one of our tiniest and sickest heart babies, who has fought so many obstacles, grabbed onto my finger and looked me straight in the eye as if to say “don’t give up on me.” There are millions of children around the world who feel the same way. Don’t give up on them. Far too often we adults get so caught up in our own problems that we forget to look down and see the troubles of those who are small. Truly it takes so little. Often all it really takes is looking at a child and saying, “I believe you are important to this world”.
Every child counts, not just those that we can hold in our arms and tuck warmly into bed each night. Every child that has been born deserves everything that we can give. Every child deserves to know that at least one person truly cares about them. Each time I return to an orphanage, and walk slowly past the rows of metal cribs, that belief is cemented in my heart even stronger.
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