This post is part of the “Donning a Cape” mini-series, a series of posts about families who are making a difference for orphans around the world.
I love stories.
Professionally, I work for a publishing company that tells the true, inspirational life stories of real people with real problems who’ve fought for change and discovered transformation in the truth.
Personally, I thrive on telling the tales of my failures, my superheroes, my military life and my God (and how jock strapping during deployment has become one of the privileges of my single-mama-on-the-homefront life).
There’s something so remarkable about sharing life experiences in real, raw and vulnerable ways. It connects us. It empowers us. It inspires us. It encourages us. And as I’ve learned to do it better in both a professional and a personal setting, I’ve seen firsthand the POWER of the story.
Sharing our story, our whole story (not just the one we put on Facebook), openly frees us from the shackles that trying to keep it hidden in the dark puts on. Guilt, shame and failure can’t call our names in the shadows when we’re proclaiming courageous truth in the light.
It lets other know that they’re not alone. That someone else has been there, too. And that there is life and even laughter after the trials and tragedies we sometimes face in this world.
And it encourages others that, if God can do it for us, He can also do it for them. It builds our faith. It builds our confidence. It builds our trust in a God who moves mountains.
In the book of Revelations in the Bible, the story of how God moves in our lives — our testimony — even has the power, combined with the blood of Jesus, to defeat the enemy.
Our story slays fear, enemies, defeat, lies and loneliness with a single slice.
What’s more, it has the extraordinary power to bring hope, healing and help to a world that desperately needs to know that they’re not alone. That someone hears them. Someone understands them. Someone else knows their story.
Someone else is willing to SHARE their story.
That’s exactly why one group of volunteers travels to China each year — to share the orphan story. Because they know that telling the story of children without families links superheroes-in-waiting to forever-families-in-reading, and what takes place when an orphan story touches a family’s heart is a forever HOME.
Story is THAT powerful.
Which is why this particular group of volunteers from Storyteller Missions and America World Adoption has put theirs into a book.
Not all of them can adopt. Not all of them can bring home superheroes-in-waiting. But all of them CAN share the stories of the children they served, the faces they met, the angels they held, the needs that they witnessed when they served on a short-term missions trip to orphanages in China.
And that’s exactly what they’ve done.
Today, this group of volunteers from Storyteller Missions launches their book, Cradles in Q City. I was privileged enough to get to edit it.
This book shares the heartfelt and compelling stories of everyday volunteers who traveled to China to serve “the least of these” — and returned completely changed.
Some of them returned as adoption advocates. Others, as committed future missionaries. Yet others, as forever families for sweet superheroes-in-need. All of them with a renewed heart for sharing the orphan story.
An excerpt from "A Million Little Miracles," just one of many incredible stories in this new book:
I walked past a crib and stopped. A child sat with his head bowed down, so still, so quiet. I ran my hand over his head, and he tilted his face up toward mine. He smiled broadly, completely transforming his face with joy. I picked him up and held him. With each moment that passed, my heart belonged to him a little more fully.
He was blind. That little crib contained his whole world, and I needed to know that he would get to feel the sun on his face, hear the sounds of leaves rustling in the wind and feel the warm skin of a mother’s face pressed against his.
I asked God for a name, and one immediately popped into my mind. Jeremy. I wanted Jeremy, but I knew I couldn’t be his mom. My life already felt like more than I could manage. But I couldn’t leave him in his dark cage, alone. When we left, would anyone rock him and sing to him? Would he receive tickles and kisses and hugs? Jeremy deserved to be loved. Would anyone love him?
When our group left, my heart broke. I found out that Jeremy had once been eligible for adoption, and I asked if they would reinstate his papers if I could find a family for him. They agreed. Through tears, I vowed to myself that I would find Jeremy’s mom. The flight home nearly destroyed me. I knew my heart should leap at the thought of rejoining my six children, but I could only think of the child I left in Q City, China.
God, why this child? Why break my heart for a child I can’t have? Help me find his mommy.
I wrote Jeremy’s story and shared it everywhere I could. Later, I looked up the name Jeremy. It meant “appointed by God.”
Someone has to love Jeremy like I do. Someone has to want to be his mommy. He is the appointed one. God saw him in his darkness, like a hidden treasure. Someone else will understand how precious he is.
Someone did. She read his story and contacted me. She is raising money now, waiting, as I struggled to wait, for the day when she can finally bring Jeremy home and spend a lifetime teaching him that he is loved. Not just by his new American family, but also by the God of a million little miracles.
One shared story had the power to REWRITE one superhero’s story FOREVER.
So don your cape, sweet friends, because whether you’re telling the orphan story or reading it, documenting the orphan story on missions trips or sharing it with friends on social media, you are making a difference for superheroes-in-waiting.
Want to hear the stories of children in China still waiting for forever families and the volunteers who traveled there to document their stories? Check out Cradles in Q City, launching today, at this Amazon link.
All proceeds from this book go to caring for superheroes-in-waiting and funding future missions trips to serve them.