Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Dichotomy Times Two

Some of you might have read my original post called “The Dichotomy of the Season”, which I wrote a few years ago as I struggled to reconcile the excesses of our holiday seasons with the realities of how many children around the world are hurting.

This last week, I had another experience which has caused me to deeply reflect on the inequities in our world, and I am wondering how everyone else comes to terms with this in their own hearts.

LWB was incredibly blessed to be able to win the Smart Cookie Reader’s Choice Award sponsored by Cookie magazine and CITI. Through this event, we received essential funding to sponsor many children needing medical care as well as general funding for our Heartbridge Pediatric Healing Unit outside of Beijing. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the staff of Cookie magazine passed my name to a new TV series which will air on a cable channel. This new show, which will air in July, surprises unsuspecting people whose families and friends feel they need a break from their work, and takes them on vacation.

Last Thursday, during what I thought was a small documentary interview on grassroots charities, I was surprised by my family and friends and quickly whisked away to Scottsdale, Arizona, where I spent three days doing things I never in a million years would have ever done for myself. Our activities included soaring over the Arizona desert in a hot air balloon, having a private meal prepared for us by one of Arizona’s top chefs, and being treated to an afternoon of art gallery browsing and then presented with an original ink etching. Not only that, but we were housed at our own private ranch, complete with pool and rock waterfall. Pampered doesn’t even begin to describe it, and so those of you who know me well know how very much I struggled with it all. Probably the very hardest moment to me was the massage, which was done at poolside. Oh I tried to relax….I really, really tried…….but the harder I tried, the more I pictured all of the faces of the children in China that I know are waiting for help right now. And the more I tried to clear my mind, the more the images burned brighter and the more ashamed I became that I was lounging poolside being “served” while so many children around the world are in need. It felt ……well…….not right.

I don’t want you to get me wrong…….this was a once in a lifetime trip that I will never forget, and we had so many moments of real laughter and fun. I loved getting to have so many new experiences, but I realized so clearly that what brought me the most joy was simply connecting with others. It was in meeting the artists and watching them work, in getting to sit and visit with the ranch owners about how their love story began on a dance floor, in being able to sit and talk on the porch with the production crew about the children in China after the cameras were turned off that I truly found my much needed rest. It wasn’t in the actual balloon ride; it was in being up 6000 feet with a dear friend laughing about conquering our fear of heights. It wasn’t in the actual meal by the chef (although it was magnificent); it was getting to talk with her and learn how she creates her new dishes and finds her inspiration. It definitely wasn’t in being filmed since that’s far out of my comfort zone; it was in driving our extremely kind cameraman to see his aunt and uncle in Phoenix and getting to hear about what he’d experienced in his work. The true gift of the weekend was in meeting new people, finding our connections, and forming friendships. Once again I realized that our lives on this earth were created to be shared. Life isn’t supposed to be done alone.

So all this past week I have been reflecting not on the dichotomy between those who have “stuff” and those who do not, but instead on the dichotomy between those who get to feel love and those who do not. My family and friends wanted this surprise for me because they care about me, and that is a gift I will keep inside my heart forever. But I continue to struggle with the knowledge that all over this world there are abandoned babies who cry out for help and no one comes, orphaned toddlers who lie alone in the dark, hearing the thunderstorm approaching, with no mom or dad to run to for comfort, forgotten children who look out barred windows and see families walking in the street picking up their children in love and who must then turn away to get ready for their day alone.

That is the discrepancy that is burdening my heart right now.....the disparity between those who are loved, cherished, treasured, valued.....and then all of those children who are not.

My hope when this new show airs is that it will help at least one person who watches it to consider adoption as a wonderful way to form a family. If even one more child can go from being orphaned and alone to being someone who truly knows love, then all of the cameras and wireless mics and being filmed (yes even while getting that massage) will be worth it all. I hope we can all take a moment to realize how truly blessed we are to have people in our lives who love us, and then take a moment to say a prayer for all of the children around the world who wait each day for someone…..for anyone… truly care.



  1. Well said, Amy. I understand what you're thinking. For me, along with everything you said, I am disturbed by the mothers around me that don't appreciate their children. They say how much their children annoy them, or how they need to get away from them. I can NOT understand how some don't view their children as the greatest blessings in their lives. I supposed it has something to do with "That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly." --Thomas Paine
    After many years of infertility treatments to have my biological children, and after striving for this adoption for years, how could I possibily take them for granted? I love that you recognize that every child is precious and deserves love. It's sad that more people don't want to even think about this fact.
    Hey, got a referral yesterday! WOOHOO! A little girl with a heart defect. I am just thrilled to get her ASAP.

  2. I think a lot of us are guilty of taking our family for granted or assuming that they will just "always be there". We all know that every day is a gift that should be treasured, but we sure can fall into that "hurry up" mode of not recognizing the blessings right in front of us. SO happy to hear about your referral! Congratulations! I never, ever, ever get tired of hearing about referrals and families being matched, as there is nothing more wonderful than a child finally getting their chance to be loved. Hope your travel approval comes quick as can be and that she is in your arms VERY SOON.

  3. I've written to you privately about this before, and honestly....working with LWB still doesn't help with this problem. :) I LOVE my job, but it doesn't really help with seeing those little faces and aching during those amazing times with my kids.

    I can tell you this -- I would rather be burdened than be ignorant of what I'm burdened about.

    Mary Morris

  4. Amy -
    This much I know:
    You are good at holding the two ends of the spectrum - life and death, joy and sorrow, empty and full. Try to hold this as well - you do so much and anyone - everyone - gets depleted. You found a way to make connections in the middle of all that luxury and that is what gave you joy. When things are very very bad, anyone can run out of gas. You have certainly had plenty of bad to deal with in the last year. So see if you can look at the experience in Scottsdale as just a chance to fill your gas tank so you can go out and do more good in the world. Even the Dalai Lama enjoys a gourmet meal now and then. He likes to fly business class because he is uncomfortable with the luxury of first class...but he didn't say he likes to fly coach either. When you give yourself a break, you get a chance to feel replenished. So hold it all. If any of us thinks you are sipping mai tais under a palm tree for too many weeks in a row, we'll let you know. love, peggy

  5. WOW, this is a wonderful call for us to remember our children and those children we can love in a direct or indirect way. I guess this also applies to the lonely and elderly as well! You are so right. All children deserve to be loved, hopefully by a family, but certainly loved. Today I heard the Cinderella Song today by SCC and so have been thinking about this topic all day. I think I'll go hug and smooch on my little ones right now. Love, Patti

  6. Amy,
    I remember your Christmas post way back when. My family was in the car looking at a Christmas light show, my husband had just read your post that day and was telling me about it. When I got home, I read it for myself. It's unforgettable.

    And this post is too. You are obviously living for the eternal, and it's contagious. Thanks for the reminders.

    Living for the orphans seems 99.9% a blessing. The only part that is a "curse" is that the faces of the ones left behind never leave our minds.

    I agree with others though, in that you deserve a break and the best. You have changed so many lives, and will continue to do so for generations.

    mom to Mia, Ava and Kai, adopted 2005, 2006 and 2008

  7. Amy, I love this post because I think that no matter what we have--or do not have--the most important thing we can do is to love others. God puts us in different income levels and we should all share what we have. But Love--we ALL have that and we can all give it. :) As for your 3 days of was a gift to enjoy. As others have said, you need to rest and recharge. Even Jesus got away from everyone at times to get his batteries recharged. :) I so appreciate, though, that you keep your eyes on what is important, which is why God is able to use you.

  8. Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments. I really thought about the comment about being burdened versus not knowing. I have asked myself that question many times....would I want my "old" life back, when my biggest worries were about getting my kids to different ball practices and making sure that their costumes were done for a school play. I wouldn't be truthful if I didn't say that there are times that I think that would be easier than worrying about a child dying or going blind if they don't get immediate care. It was definitely "easier" to not know. But I think once you do understand the poverty...once you have seen the numbers of children who are orphaned and hurting and so in need of someone to believe in them.....there is no going back. I give thanks to God for opening my eyes and my heart to the more painful realities in our world, and for giving me the strength to share in those sorrows.

    And Peggy, thanks for keeping me real. :-)