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Tracy Arnold-Chapman's family bustles with the vitality of six-year-old Anna and seven-year-old Ada , the children she and her husband Jeff adopted from India . But there's another youngster who has a position of honor in the Chapman household: Sweet Lily, who struggles with the challenges of developmental delays.
Though Lily lives far away, in the same Indian orphanage that once sheltered the Chapman's daughters, she also dwells in the heart of the Michigan family whose monthly contributions have assisted with her care since she was two.
"At one time we had hoped to adopt her. However, once we realized this was not God's will, we embraced sponsorship as a wonderful way to impact her life and make sure she is able to receive the care and therapy she needs," Arnold-Chapman said. "We still pray that she will find a forever family, but she will always be part of our family. We love her very much."
Participants in Dillon International's child sponsorship program receive pictures and updates on the child they are assisting.
Those updates created a special connection for Ruth Kitchen, whose family has sponsored a boy from Korea since the adoption of their two daughters in the late 1980s. That child, who struggled with autism, has now grown into adulthood and moved on to a vocational program. "It was a joy to our family to sponsor him from the time he was a youngster and watch him turn into a young man who is very dear to our family," said Kitchen, whose family now sponsors a 15-year-old girl in Korea.
Lorraine McNeil, the adoptive mother of two daughters from Korea, has also experienced the joy of watching a child grow up through sponsorship. The New York family began sponsoring a girl with developmental delays in the mid-1990s after Lorraine visited Korea with her teenage daughters and saw the needs firsthand. "I think sponsoring a child has helped us connect with Korea," McNeil added. "We were so fortunate to adopt our daughters and we wanted to help more children there."
Ellis and Sue Orendorff of Oklahomathe adoptive parents of a son and daughter from Koreahave sponsored children for more than 20 years. "We had a heart for the little children there and we couldn't adopt any more, so sponsorship was a way to help provide for kids who have a hard life to live," Ellis Orendorff explained.
That generosity prompted a family tradition for their daughter, Sarah Williamson of Kentucky. "When I was growing up, I can remember seeing photos of our family's sponsored child on the refrigerator and preparing and sending Christmas gifts," she recalled. "My parents were definitely an inspiration in our decision to sponsor. I am blessed by their care for me and in their influence of helping others."
Now a grown mother of three, Sarah and her husband, Justin, sponsor a young man in Korea. As an adult adoptee, receiving updates from Korea can be an emotional experience, Williamson said. "There is a chain reaction of thoughts and emotions that pass over me in respect to sponsorship. I am so grateful to be placed by God in the family made for me, but my heart is also saddened by the acknowledgment of other children who are still waiting, especially the older children and those with mental and physical limitations. Yet, there is great joy in knowing of the caring people working hard to give these children, in each of their circumstances, the best care."
Arnold-Chapman witnesses similar feelings in her daughters, as they learn about the little girl their family sponsors. "Ada has begun to grapple with who Lily is and what sponsorship means," she said. "Ada is sad that Lily does not have a family, but she's very excited and proud that we sponsor Lily. When we talk about Lily, Ada is proud that the orphanage staff takes good care of Lily; it gives her a sense of connection not only to India and the orphanage but also how our family has been built through international adoption. It helps Ada to talk about issues which puzzle or intrigue her like how adoption works, who lives in an orphanage and what that life is like. It isn't uncommon for us to pull out the map, check out India and see where Lily lives."
Simply put, sponsorship is an expression of love. "Sponsorship is an easy way to give action to the abundance of love and blessings in my life, an opportunity to be able to share in such a simple way," Williamson said.
"It has been one of our best investments,'" Arnold-Chapman said. "It provides for us a way to give back to a place that has given us so muchthe precious gifts of our daughters. And most of all it allows us to remain part of the life of a perfect gift from God: Lily!"
For as little as $20 per month, sponsors can help provide food, clothing, education, and medical care for the children in orphanCare International's child sponsorship program. orphanCare is the humanitarian aid program of Dillon International, a 36-year-old non-profit international adoption agency. In addition to helping individual children, sponsorships for programssuch as the medical personnel at the Indian Society for the Rehabilitation of Children or Eastern Social Welfare Society's foster care program in Koreaoffer much-needed assistance to support orphanCare's mission to make a better life for children.
Dillon International is an experienced Hague-accredited adoption agency with an excellent reputation at home and abroad. Headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., Dillon has regional offices in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Texas, Florida and California. Families in all 50 states can be served.Learn more, see kids, or contact agency 7335 S Lewis Avenue Suite 302 Oklahoma
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The author hopes that other adult adoptees from Korea will share their stories, or at least say, "Me too-I'm happy, healthy and was raised in a loving family because of adoption."
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