Back in October I became interested in the work of Harmony Outreach, a 501(c) (3), non-profit organization, that literally saves abandoned babies in China. It’s run by an American couple, John and Lisa Bentley, who live in China with their six children. They took a huge leap of faith when they moved from their safe and predictable life to one quite the opposite.
I’ve communicated with them via e-mail for the past four months and have found myself looking at their photos, reading the many articles about their work and even listening to interviews that Lisa has given to a radio show – all to both confirm and understand their work.
THE BENTLEY’S STORY
Their story is a long one. But the short version is:
- A slightly germ phobic mother of four young children is asked by her lawyer husband to go from living the American dream to an uncertain life in China.
- She reluctantly agrees to a short trial period.
- Many heart-wrenching trials, two adopted children and several years later, Lisa and John have no plans of leaving their ‘new’ home.
LISA IS CALLED TO SAVE
“A six-week old, badly burned baby is left to die in a field. The villagers stand around staring, unwilling to burden themselves with the responsibility of helping him. Despite its heartbreaking beginning, this remarkable story has an ending that's full of hope and inspiration.”
Learn the rest of their story here in an interview Lisa gave to In Touch Magazine.
Lisa goes on to write her first book, Saving Levi, which tells of her and John’s struggles and triumphs after their decision to help this dying baby. Later, Levi is the first child to be adopted into their family.
”I WANT TO HELP”
That was the title of my first e-mail to Lisa and John – “I want to help.” Simple. After reading the article in In Touch, which literally brought me to tears, I didn’t just want to help – I needed to help.
Sometimes when you gain knowledge, you also gain responsibility. I’ve always had a strong urge to help people who need help. Not people who want help or people who behave like they need help – but people who really have very little means of helping themselves. When I see that in someone, there’s no way I can turn away.
I decided to help by creating and selling a bracelet that symbolizes Chinese adoption. My husband Bob agreed to put up a few hundred dollars so I could purchase the supplies for the bracelet. November 12, 2007, the first day the bracelet was in my online shop, I sold two. The first week, I sold four. Our goal of selling thirty bracelets was reached before Christmas.
TINY BABY HOPE
We are so happy and proud to report that through the sale of this symbolic bracelet we have been able to donate over $750 to Harmony Outreach. We have chosen to have the funds go directly to Baby Hope, who was in need of heart surgery but didn’t have the entire cost covered. Her surgery is now completely paid for thanks to the thirty folks who have purchased this beautiful symbol for their loved ones and for themselves. Hope’s surgery was just a few weeks ago. I’m told she’s back at Harmony House and doing very well.
Through this work, I’ve been able to meet so many wonderful people. Many of whom were willing to share their personal journals and photographs – all devoted to their journey to adopt a baby from China; many who are still on their journey, some sad, some anxious, but all ever hopeful. My customers (they feel like more than customers really) tell me the bracelet has such meaning to them and they fill my e-mailbox with special messages of thanks. But it is really them who deserve the thanks. They are the ones who are helping the world, one child at a time.
SWEET SWEET HELEN
Word has gotten around about the bracelet, so instead of abandoning the bracelet project, Bob and I decided to sponsor a child from Harmony House. Hope is completely sponsored, so we turned our attention to the other 32 children in the orphanage.
A portion of the sale of each bracelet will go to help sponsor sweet little Helen - Wang Xinrui. Helen will turn five years old this year and is described as having a love of performing. She does not like sitting in a chair for long unless she’s drawing or reading a cartoon book. It was difficult to choose who to sponsor, because all the children really tug at our heartstrings. We chose Helen because her name holds a special meaning in our family. Look at her photo – she looks so happy and sweet!
A lot of gratitude and appreciation goes out to the many families who have adopted babies from China, sponsor a special little one from China or are waiting for their angel to be delivered safely into their family. You are truly making a difference in our world by saving lives from a land not seen - out of pure love and faith.
You can read all about Harmony Outreach and the progress of the bracelet project, by searching my blog for the word “hope.” (see the word "Labels" at the bottom of this article - click on the word "hope")
Please learn more about the needs of many children in China as well as Chinese adoptions by visit Harmony Outreach online at www.HarmonyOutreach.org.