Once a family adopts, they are changed forever. Throughout the process, their eyes are opened to the needs of children locally and across the globe who need a forever family. These children become more than numbers; they now have faces and names and souls that are deeply loved by God. Many of Lifeline’s alumni families find that this passion drives them to return to minister to children worldwide. Read about how adoption impacted the Beard family and prompted them to return with (un)adopted to show the love of Christ to children.
When you traveled to China to adopt your children, what did you learn or realize on your travels?
As adoptive parents, you really are not aware of the extent of orphans waiting in China. I incorrectly assumed that the majority of orphans in China had adoption files and would eventually be adopted. The heartbreaking reality is that less than 1% of the orphans in China will ever know the love of a forever family. When we visited our son’s orphanage in Nanjing, we were told there were 500-700 orphans in his orphanage. Many of those children were considered harder to place for adoption because of their age or significant special needs.
What made you decide to go serve with (un)adopted, and take your kids?
We took all five of our children (ages ranging from 1 to 12) to China when we adopted our daughter Rachel in 2014. We took a few days to explore and visit all the tourist attractions in Beijing. While in Beijing, we were able to take our children to visit a medical special needs foster home. They were able to hold, love, and play with kids there. Our greatest goal as parents is for our children to really know and experience the gospel of Jesus Christ in their hearts and minds. After lots of prayer once we were home from adopting, we decided that the additional cost of taking one of our children on an (un)adopted trip was truly an investment in their hearts and future.
One reason I chose to travel with (un)adopted is because of their heart for the gospel—providing medical care and meeting the needs of ALL the orphans, not just the select few with adoption files.
Where have you gone with (un)adopted?
In 2014, six months home from our first adoption, we traveled to Chongqing, Fuling, and Love Manor. Our oldest child, Ashlynn, who was age 13 at the time, traveled with me. In 2016, we traveled to Lingshan CWI, Beihei SWI, and Guilin SWI and our oldest son, Noah, who is 12 traveled with me.
Describe your experiences?
We had great experiences on both trips. One thing I would share is the importance of all the roles on the trip. As a “medical trip,” it would seem that the doctor and nurse would have the most important role, but I have found the opposite to be true. Each role is so important, from the photographer, who can capture the personality of a waiting child; to the teacher, who can provide prospective adoptive parents an accurate portrayal of a child’s development; to the general volunteers, who can share the love of Christ with orphanage staff and officials and show the love of Christ by holding and praying over each orphan we encountered. Ashlynn and Noah both were able to take photos of the kids and to play with them and love on them. They were an essential part of the team, too.
These trips provided great experiences for Ashlynn and Noah too. “When you meet the kids, what sounds like a scary medical need on paper is not as important once you hold them,” says Ashlynn. “You realize they just all need love.” Our son Noah realized the importance of being able to love on the kids that are still waiting for families.
Written by: Jeff Beard, Adoptive Dad