Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Imagine This - please help!


I know this will be a longer story than usual, but I am going to ask you to read it all the way to the end. Something amazing happened to me today, and I believe it was for a reason. I hope you will feel the same after reading this letter.

LWB has been working in China since 2003, and just a few months after we began helping children there, we decided to do our very first cleft surgery mission to Guangdong province. It was on that trip that I met Dr. John Padilla, one of the most extraordinary men I have ever had the honor to meet. His love and compassion for children born with cleft was humbling, and he influenced me in an enormous way. He helped heal 53 children on that first mission, and he promised me he would return to China with LWB every year to heal more. Tragically, John died just a few months after our trip to China in a plane crash. I wrote a blog dedicated to him that you can read here. I hope you do have the time to read about this extraordinary man, but for those of you who don’t have the time, I will tell you that John Padilla is a hero to me. He is the man who dared me to “dream big”, and our cleft healing home idea was created completely in his honor. I think of him every time we heal another child born with cleft.

Recently LWB was invited to submit a project to a new proposed television reality show called “Imagine This”. This show was created in large part by an actor named Eion Bailey. Many of you might have seen him in Band of Brothers, on ER, or in many movies. He is a man with a heart of compassion, and he came up with the idea of doing a reality show where each episode would be shot in a different location around the world, and a team of people would come together to do something amazing…whether it is to build a school for kids in South America, or provide a well system for a village in Africa. We were asked to submit a project for consideration, and immediately we knew that we wanted to submit the idea of a new cleft healing home for a province in China, where all the orphanages in that province could send their children born with cleft for loving, one on one care. We have created our sample episode at this website location: http://imaginethistv.com/group/chinahealinghome

Today Karen Maunu and I had a conference call with Eion Bailey and one of the show’s producers. We were discussing the possibility of building a new cleft healing home, and Eion told me that he would really love to see it happen because it had personal meaning to him. He went on to tell me that he had a friend who had been so influential in his life. This man had believed in him from the very beginning, had invested in his future and his career, and was someone that Eion admired greatly. He told me that he wanted to see this episode happen because he wanted to dedicate it to this man’s life, as he had sadly passed away. And then he told me that this man had an absolute passion for children born with cleft, and I got goosebumps all over my entire body. “Are you by any chance talking about John Padilla?,” I asked holding my breath. And unbelievably, beautifully, miraculously…he was. So while I tried my best not to cry, I said, “Eion…I need to tell you a story.” And so I told him about LWB’s relationship with John, how he had gone with us to China and fallen in love with the people there. How he had told me he wanted to return every year to China to help even more children in the future. How he had told me that if I really dreamed of a day where no orphaned child would die from being born with cleft that I needed to never give up until we made it happen.

I think everyone on the call was emotional by this point. Somehow a mom in Oklahoma helping orphans was on the phone with an actor in Hollywood who wanted to help bring change to the world, and we were both tied together through the same amazing man who had died far too soon. I am sure that John was up in heaven at that moment smiling, saying “I told you all to dream big.”

There have been times with this foundation where I have known I was part of something absolutely extraordinary. I have seen miracles happen and have felt the enormity of God working for the good. I remember baby Kang, the baby who started it all. The heart surgeon in China told me he was not going to survive post surgery, but when thousands of adoptive families came together through the internet to pray for that one tiny baby, he rallied the very next day, and LWB was born. I remember baby Hercules from our cleft mission in 2005, and knowing that I was in the middle of something so beyond me as everything came together in the exact right way to save his life as well. I remember Baby Li, and Cui, and Chang, and hundreds more lives which have been changed because people came together and believed a difference could be made. I have been so blessed to see again and again that when people step out beyond themselves to help others, the EXTRAORDINARY occurs.

Today, I felt again with everything in my heart that something extraordinary is going to happen. I don’t know what, I don’t know when, but I felt so strongly that something wonderful is going to come from this show if it becomes a reality. It might not even be in China…it could be an episode shot in Peru, or in Haiti, or in the US, but I believe that Eion Bailey and I were supposed to speak with each other today and learn about our connection to John Padilla for a reason.

PLEASE join with us one more time and be a part of making something wonderful happen. We need your help! We need as many people as possible to visit http://imaginethistv.com/group/chinahealinghome, sign up to join the group, and leave a comment on how important this project and show would be to orphaned children. The producers will be meeting with the networks very, very soon, and there are still people out there who don’t think that America would want to watch a show where people are doing good in the world.

YOU CAN HELP MAKE IT HAPPEN. Log onto our page, join our healing home group, and leave your feedback that this type of show is EXACTLY what we want to watch, what we want our kids to see, what we believe is important. Forward this to everyone that you know, help spread the news for as many people as possible to voice their opinion. I know every single person who supports us believes that saving the lives of children is absolutely important. But now we need to take action and let the networks know as well. Thank you so much in advance for believing this project should be done and that our healing homes can give orphaned children a second chance. Let your voice be heard, both in John Padilla’s honor and in honor of every child with cleft who is in heaven right now with him because they lost their struggle. You helped save 10 babies’ lives with the Facebook challenge, you saved even more with the Cookie Contest, and now we have a chance to impact countless others by showing our support for this new series and an episode to help orphaned children in China. Thank you, thank you, thank you….for always believing that every child born deserves to know love. Together, I know completely that we can make this show and a new healing home a reality, and give some of the most vulnerable orphaned children real hope.

Because every child counts,

Amy

24 comments:

  1. Amy, My friend - You gave me goosebumps on my cheeks! Why do you ALWAYS do that? :-) Talk about a Red Thread for you! You know what? You are pretty AMAZING for a housewife from Oklahoma. ;-) You have my complete support. I am off to spread the word. Lots of love to you from Colorado. XXXOOO, Holly (Mom to 3 lovely daughters from Jiangxi province)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Holly, I wish everyone could have been on the call when we realized that Eion was talking about John Padilla being the man who had fully believed in him. It was just one of those moments when you realize that even though we know God can do anything....sometimes WOW just isn't a big enough word to describe how things come together. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Like I said...it might not even all be for China. It could be for another project that needs to be featured. But I absolutely, 100% believe that something amazing will come of this. Just can't believe that all of this is a "coincidence".

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am so excited about this project! My son was born cleft-affected and two years ago we traveled back to China in July of 2007 to adopt him at the age of 3 y 9 months. Both his lip and palate were repaired in China through their Tomorrow Plan and there is no doubt in my mind that these surgeries saved his life. People talk about being in the right place at the right time. I don't believe situations like that just happen... in this case you were meant to be there at that time, on that phone call and with that person for one reason - something big and exciting is on the horizon. I have goosebumps anticipating what it is and the same hopeful anticipation I had in my heart when I first saw pictures of both of my kids. This is HUGE!

    ReplyDelete
  4. please see the link >

    http://about-orphans.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh, Amy... you forgot to mention "tissue alert!" Wow, is all I can say!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Amy, This is amazing! I pray every day for LWB and know just how much this show would mean to your organization! Good luck!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Amy, I think this is going to happen, because you're right, John has a hand in this. I can feel it. I'll post to my groups.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Jill Padilla VaccaroJune 3, 2009 at 8:10 AM

    This is touching, beautiful and inspiring...and of course, SO JOHN!!!
    sending loves and more loves, jill

    ReplyDelete
  9. LWB is helping fill two huge needs simultaneously: finding kids for people who want to be parents, and finding parents for kids who desperately need them. What could be more beneficial to society?

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm so moved....God created us for helping others. I'm so thankful, and will keep you in my prayers.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is what our country, our families, and each of us needs to see and breathe more of.... giving and inspiring others to join in. Dreams are so powerful especially with God is the director. No doubt He would be a huge part of a show like this. Success is inevitable and the results incalculable!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you for posting this. I'm off to spread the word now. After I dry my eyes and gain some measure of composure. God is Good. All the Time. In awe of His amazing attention to details, even after one of His servants was called home. . . SOOO COOL!

    ReplyDelete
  13. bonnie stevensonJune 3, 2009 at 11:35 AM

    bonnie stevenson
    Yes, our dreams do create the world we live
    and helping others is the connection that we are one and not seperated. Our world is ready to receive this and john got that. They do continue to live on with us, we create the seperation or not.
    Let's all dream it and see it bloom!

    ReplyDelete
  14. WOW!!! Is that THE BIGGEST God "thing" or what??? ONLY GOD!!!!! Off to cast my vote!!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Amy... words fail me. John Padilla is still helping to heal children - I stand in awe of all you and he have accomplished together.. and will accomplish. Blessings!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Fantastic post, Amy. I am touched and watch in awe at the difference you are all making!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Amy, great post and great story. I am amazed and in awe at the difference you & LWB are making in the world!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. My friend sent this link, so I read it, and I feel like you are faithful to a great call. What a wonderful way to show the world the work of God. He is alive.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thank you all for your incredibly kind messages today. When we first started working with orphaned children, I drove out into the country and told God that I promised to always put the kids first and that I hoped He would bless our work as long as we did just that. As we have grown so rapidly over the years, it is easy to get bogged down with the day to day details of simply running a charity of this size. Having moments like yesterday is just wonderful, as it reminds me yet again of what our original desire was six years ago....to bring as much love and hope to children who matter SO much to this world. No child should grow up alone, without someone to truly love them. I just have to believe that as long as we always think of the children first, wonderful things will continue to happen. I am so blessed to get to work each day with the most amazing people who feel the same way. Can't wait to see how this all unfolds.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I learned of this group through Karen's parents. Having lived in the Orient for 1 1/2 years I know how life changing something like cleft palate repair could be. It is mind boggling what this group has accomplished. Betty N

    ReplyDelete
  21. That John, I tell ya... always always on his way to help someone out. And when he was sitting around hanging out, in between those moments, he made sure as hell that he never left out an opportunity to suggest a way to make your own life bigger, fuller and more noteworthy. My brother lost his best champion, most distinctive friend when John passed. And I think we, all who knew John personally, feel that in our own way, too. His daughters were left with an astounding role model for sharing who we are as individuals with the world, in the most powerful of ways.
    Always missing John...

    ReplyDelete
  22. I think you guys are doing an awesome job! Go ahead and make the world a better place!

    ReplyDelete