It is difficult to put into words how meaningful volunteering at Bethel was for me. I am a special education teacher by nature and by heart and I have worked with many special needs children before, but never with children who were blind or had visual impairments. This was a huge learning opportunity for me. I had to change my way of thinking and be creative to find new ways of teaching and learning.
It was also fun (but challenging) to teach English from the very beginning level and complete immersion. Five out of my six students had never been exposed to English, so there were some frustrations in the beginning. They caught on quickly and I loved seeing and hearing how fast they were learning! While I was there, one of my students (13 years old) got adopted. I will never forget the pure joy on his face and in his voice when he shared the news with me, and our class, that he was getting a
mom and dad! It was absolutely the best moment there, but it was also heartbreaking that he had to wait so long, and heartbreaking that he almost aged out of eligibility. Volunteering there was somewhat of a healing opportunity for me. It was a fulfillment to God’s calling. It solidified my thoughts about adoption that I had been having since I was a young child.
I was at Bethel for 3 months and I really bonded with all the kids in my class. They were all so special and I wish I could provide a home for all of them. They will always have a special place in my heart, but there was one child in particular who I connected with a little more. I started thinking more seriously about adoption, and it became hard to envision my life without this little guy. I was not sure if I was ready for adoption as I always thought I’d adopt when I was a bit older, married, or had more money. My heart and God were telling me now is the time. I felt God telling me to trust Him in this process as I had a lot of logistics to figure out when I arrived back in the US. Everything started lining up and falling into place and I started the process about 4 months after leaving China. The timing perfectly aligned with the release of the child’s paperwork. It is a long process, but now having my son has made it absolutely worth it!