Sing With All Your Might

By Tercius

Bethany's director of adoption recently traveled to meet with our partners in China. The following is part of a piece she wrote upon her return. I was moved by the scene she describes as I have also witnessed similar scenarios in my travels to China.

Kids are lined up on the stage in rows-smaller in front, taller in back, and those in wheelchairs in the middle. They are all different ages. The music starts and they begin to sway and move. A few sing softly along with the recorded music. Then the music swells and all of the kids burst into song . . . a loud, boisterous song. One little guy catches my eye. He literally throws his head back and sings with all his might with such joy on his face.

This could have taken place in any church or school in America where kids are practicing for a spring concert. But it was taking place in an orphanage in China, and these kids were all orphans who are waiting for a forever family.

Meeting with many of the kids later in the afternoon, it was heartbreaking to hear so many say that they want to be adopted and want a family. It's heartbreaking because there aren't enough families who see themselves becoming parents through adoption to a child with disabilities. But there are some who adopt kids with Down syndrome, or cerebral palsy, or a hearing impairment. Funny thing is, they often talk about being told how lucky their kids are when, truth be told, they are the ones who feel that their lives have been blessed beyond measure. Not without difficulties, but blessed.

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet these kids and hear them singing with huge smiles on their faces and all the gusto they could muster. My visit to the orphanage was part of Bethany's ongoing effort to partner with orphanages in China and in finding families for very special kids. These children happen to have the kinds of challenges that get them labeled as having "special placement needs," causing them to remain in orphanages for years in many cases. Bethany works to place these children in families through adoption as well as foster care. In-country foster care has been established in some provinces in China, and we hope to continue to grow this service as a way to provide the kind of one-on-one care that can't be provided in an institution-no matter how good and how loving.

Since 1992, Bethany has facilitated more than 2,400 Chinese adoptions. Since 2010, we have served more than 160 children with special needs through family-and community-based care. Find out how you can be part of something bigger, whether by supporting foster families through sponsorship,providing resources, or adopting a child.