Today I happened upon an article about Marian Wright Edelman, who founded the Children's Defense Fund in 1973. As I read the following quote from her, I of course (as always), read the words and thought about how they relate to working with children who live as orphans:
'We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make, which over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.'
Sometimes it is very easy to look at how many children there are around the world needing help and almost be overwhelmed to the point of non movement. I think we would be hard pressed to find very many people around the world whose heart isn't affected by the thought of a child growing up without a mother or father to love them, but I think many people read the stories and hear of the needs and think, "what difference could I really make by helping even one of them?" I have actually been told this on several occasions, of course reminding me of the famous starfish story that every child we can touch is absolutely essential.
I had a very emotional conversation one day with the mother of one of the children we had healed in China. Her daughter is now their beloved child, but without the life saving surgery she received in China, her fate would have been quite different. I know when I think of the children we help, I almost always think just of the child and how we can make a difference to them, but in talking to this woman, I realized that when we touch the life of a child....the results to the world are so much greater.
The mom explained to me that the adoption of her daughter post surgery had changed not only their lives in an incredible way, but also the lives of those around them. For instance, she shared that the teachers and parents at her school now understand that "special needs" isn't a term to be feared, and that her neighbors now understand that real families are formed in many ways other than genetically. I was nodding about all of this as she then said, "and just think that someday her own children will know the story of how she was first healed in China and then adopted to the US." It was those three words..."her own children"...that really got to me. Because then I realized that when we work together to change the life of one child....that child will then have a chance to grow up healthy and most likely will have children someday as well. Children that might never have existed except for the very real fact that perfect strangers stepped forward to help heal their mom way back when she was just a little baby. How monumental is that? It really is not an overstatement to say that the very fabric of the world changes each time we are able to help give the gift of life through healing to a child.
So I reread the words of Ms. Edelman today and agreed that it is those perhaps seemingly small daily differences that do add up in astonishing ways to bring real miracles to this world. Miracles like baby En below, who now has a chance to grow up and be a treasured son, and maybe a doctor or a teacher or a writer, and yes....even a daddy himself someday.
Thank you EVERYONE who is helping to make a difference to children. You are a part of the whole rest of their lives to be sure, but isn't it amazing to think that you are even playing a part to future generations as well?