Sunday, April 5, 2009

What's Your Dream?

LWB's 7th medical exchange just started this week in Shanghai. You can read more about it on our main LWB blog at Seeing the photos of the children has made me reflect back on the missions I have been on, and it made me think today of the very first international medical exchange we ever did, back in 2004. I can only smile when I think of that trip, as I knew absolutely nothing about sending a medical team to China, of getting medical supplies through customs or obtaining international medical licenses. All I knew was that there were babies in orphanages who needed cleft surgery, and I knew we wanted to help them. Thankfully everyone involved on both sides of the ocean granted me a lot of grace for my mistakes, and wonderfully.....SO wonderfully.....over 50 babies were healed.

It was on that trip that I met Dr. John Padilla, who has sinced tragically passed away. We were sitting on a bus in China when he first turned back in his seat to ask me, "hey Amy...if you could dream anything for your foundation, what would it be?" How's that for a question that makes you stop and think? And so I began to tell him what I dreamed of, about a day when no baby would be abandoned simply from being born with cleft, of a day when any family who was too poor to afford surgery for their child could have it for free, of a day when LWB would be throughout China helping kids. And then he looked right at me and said, "then make it happen."

Of course I tried to protest and tell him those dreams were too huge for our then tiny foundation, but he smiled with confidence and said, "Dream big.....dream big....dream big."

I can't help but think of him each time another LWB cleft trip happens. Because of John's encouragement to never stop dreaming, LWB now has a cleft home specifically for babies born with cleft. We have a Unity Fund for rural families who have children born with medical needs so they don't have to make the awful decision to abandon their children in order to get them healed, and we of course are now helping babies in orphanages throughout China. John's words have stayed in my heart that great things can happen when you do dream big.

So my question today is whether you have a dream of what you would like to do in this world. Is there something really big you want to do but you don't even know how to get started? Do you think you will act on that dream? Why or why not? Of course this mom from Oklahoma would encourage you to I have seen amazing things happen when people step out in faith to help others.



  1. Thanks, I needed to be reminded of this. My dream is to adopt more special needs children. What's standing in my way is my dh does not feel that call. He is too worried about how to pay for college for all the kids we already have. So I am just going to keep praying.

  2. My dream right now is for my children. I want them to feel a responsibility to other people - to care how others live and recognize when help is needed. I want them to be caring and compassionate more than anything else.

  3. John;s words are certainly a good reminder, but I'd like to add "dream big, then take the first step, then the second"

    Sometimes our dreams do seem too big and then we abandon them without trying. Just think of what you might get done if your big dream takes 10 steps, but you only get 8 of them would still accomplish so much of the big dream, then you could keep taking steps toward the whole thing.

  4. Amy, I'm a huge fan of yours! I hope to meet you as we are in Oklahoma, too. We're in the Waiting Child program with gwca.
    I just read the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Have you read it? It talks about discovering your Personal Legend and striving to achieve it. I thought of you and how you really took this dream and turned it into a reality. I applaud your work. It does seem that "all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it" as the book says. Since you had the courage to pursue your dream, just think how many lives have be immensively changed for good.

  5. I pursued my dream for almost five year, working in an orphanage. I wish I was still there but now my dreams have taken a new road. There is so much more for me to do to keep advocating for the children of China. They are my dream--

  6. Thank you for the book recommendation! It has been so wonderful to me to see how many people want to help orphaned children, and LWB has only achieved what it has because of hundreds of people taking that first step with me.

    Kay, how wonderful that you were able to help so many kids. I am sure many more will have their lives' changes through your efforts.

    I had read a good quote the other day from Martin Luther King, Jr. I think it applies perfectly to what Nancy said above:

    "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."