An Experience Worth a Million Words

On a recent trip, long-time supporters of the Peace House — Holt’s medical foster home in China —  got the chance to visit this vital program for orphaned and abandoned children with special needs.

If it is true that a picture is worth a thousand words, then seeing something in person must be worth a million! This became a reality for us in July when we had the chance to visit the Peace House in Beijing, China. Over the past three and a half years, we have been vested in this initiative, primarily through prayers and financial support.  So when Holt invited us to travel to northeastern China to visit multiple Holt initiatives in the area — including Peace House — we enthusiastically accepted.

The mission of Peace House is to take in orphaned and abandoned children from across China who have various health conditions that can be surgically addressed, such as cleft lip and palate, club feet or heart issues, and nurture that child through three steps. First, the staff at Peace House works to ensure the child is healthy enough to go into surgery. Second, Holt facilitates the corrective procedure at a quality Beijing-area hospital. Finally, following the procedure, they nurse the child to good health.  Once this is completed, the child returns to the orphanage or foster home where they came from. In most cases, these children will ultimately be placed in a loving home in China or the U.S.

A number of things impressed us during our visit. We were impressed that the care being provided by the staff is phenomenal.  It also reinforced our belief that the children absolutely deserve a place in life where they can thrive and fulfill the plan that God intends for them. And while there are multitudes of children in China who need medical help, it was extremely fulfilling to help the 8-10 children who were at the home during our visit. We felt some natural anxiety as we entered the Beijing apartment that houses these children and their caregivers.  Would this be what we expected it to be?  Within minutes, it became abundantly clear that this was more than we could have imagined.  We immediately “hit the floor” to hold and interact with these beautiful youngsters.  After we passed the children’s scrutiny, they warmed to us and permitted us to hold, cuddle and play with them.  At various times throughout our visit, our minds could not help but think, ‘Could we bring one of these precious kids home?’  : )

Marit and her family have supported the Peace House in China for the past three years. This summer, she got a chance to meet some of the children in care!

While the children left many impressions, we will always remember: one child who loved to be cuddled and place her head on our shoulders…

The infectious laugh of a 4-year-old who enjoyed playing with balls…

A toddler who had challenges walking but who proudly pranced around the room…

And a young child who was particularly attached to one of the caregivers, and made sure everyone knew when she was separated from this certain caregiver. This is very good thing regarding attachment, but will cause a lot of grieving for that little one when she’s adopted. In the end, that is the beauty of Peace House. We wanted to see that attachment and special care!

There are many reasons for our involvement in this program, but here are a few we’d like to share:

  1. We have four children, including two adopted through Holt — Peter, 12, from Korea and Sarah, 11, from China.  Peter and Sarah have both had various medical conditions that required attention, so we can personally identify with the important work of Peace House.
  2. Each child who comes through Peace House is a gift from God.  The opportunity to assist with a correctable medical procedure gives that child a greater chance to become all that they can be.
  3. The model works! Many of these children enter care in need of nourishment to gain weight and strength. They receive care for several weeks or longer to prepare them for their procedure.  The procedure is performed at a quality Beijing hospital with excellent surgeons.  The post-procedure care successfully nurses these children back to health.
Mike and Marit Sprenger have four children, including two adopted through Holt. Both of their adopted children had medical conditions that required attention, so they identified with the work of Peace House.

We are so blessed to be able to invest our time and resources into orphan care that we are so passionate about. We absolutely embrace the Holt motto that “Every Child Deserves a Home.”  Peace House is one outlet for us to act upon this passion. When we received written updates with before and after reports on the children we have supported through the years, we have always felt a personal connection.  But as good as the written reports are, imagine our joy in actually experiencing this in person!  We love the fact that this is a chance to help these kids in a very personal way — not some abstract concept, but by personally doing our part to try and make these little lives better both now and into their futures.  It is a blessing to find an opportunity to work with Peace House, where our passion blends with a great need.

Marit and Mike Sprenger | Edina, Minnesota

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