Elizabeth shares about how she started sponsoring a child at Bethel China and how it is such an incredible way to get involved in caring for orphans!
It was Christmas Day and it came time for me to open my present from my older brother and his wife. I was giddy with anticipation – they’d gotten me the most amazing perfume from Anthropologie the year before, so I knew this year was going to be as good or better. They passed me a small, simple envelope, but what I found inside simultaneously stopped my heart and filled it to the brim all at the same time.
Inside was a picture of a soft, sweet face that I recognized immediately. I read their card through tears to find that they had decided to Sponsor a child at Bethel China for a year in my name. Bethel China is a foster home and school in Beijing, China where I had just spent three months volunteering and living. They give care and advocate for visually impaired children and I could never forget the relationships I’d formed with those amazing kids. This gift was greater and more meaningful than any lavender perfume or material possession.
Fast forward a few months, and I had moved states away from my family and began my first full-time, post-college job working at a non-profit autism center. Having this consistent income, I made the decision to adjust my budget to include sponsoring my own child at Bethel. A few specific children came to mind, ones whom I pray for daily, whose pictures I have on my wall, whose hands, quirks & voices I miss so much that it hurts – but I surprised myself and e-mailed Bethel asking them to sign me up to sponsor one of the “new arrivals” – to allow me to sponsor a child I hadn’t met.
And now, what has happened since I first began sponsoring this girl, is a new, huge love for a sweet girl on the other side of the world named Belle. Even though I haven’t met her, the sponsorship program has allowed me to feel such a bond to her and crave every update. The current technological age we live in gives such an amazing opportunity to sponsors. Through e-mail newsletters, facebook updates, and instagram posts I am able to get to know this little girl and begin to build feelings of commitment and connectedness. I see myself in her as I read about how she is shy in her new environment, but slowly coming out of her shell; how she loves being outside. I deeply want good things for her and rejoice to hear updates that this once vulnerable child without resources will be starting occupational and speech therapy soon. Doing my small part by giving monthly to an organization I can trust has made the orphan crises feel less insurmountable and distant. I am not old enough or established enough to adopt from China, but through child sponsorship, I am able to provide for a child in her time of waiting.
If I could tell my sponsor child anything, it would be that she is seen. Though she is an orphan (for now), she is not hopeless and she is not invisible. I notice her. I see her. If anyone is considering child sponsorship, my word to them would be – do it. Because what you will find is a capacity within yourself for a kind of love that crosses oceans and that you likely didn’t know was there.
– Elizabeth, Current Bethel Sponsor