My husband just celebrated his birthday. He’s 41.
Or maybe 39.
Or did he just turn the big 4-0?
I’m not being coy. We really don’t know his age. Like millions of children around the world, my husband was born into a life of poverty.
There are no records of his birth. He never knew his parents, although he understood from an early age that he was a G.I. baby. His size marked him a hapa, a Euro-Asian mixed-race child, a particularly negative thing in Asian countries where purity of race is a matter of pride and worth.
From his earliest memories, he was an orphan. He lived primarily on the streets, except for times he was taken in by “foster families,” where he was little more than an outcast mongrel and slave.
He was often hungry, usually cold, sometimes abused, always alone.
Sounds pretty hopeless, doesn’t it?
But something happened to change the story. A small thing, really.
Someone noticed him.
That someone was a Korean woman. Shunned by her Buddhist family because she had become a Christian, she noticed Corey one day outside her parent’s home.
Recognizing him as a child of an American soldier, she alerted an orphanage in the area that was run by an American organization. He was taken to the orphanage — more correctly, two men lured him with a bag of candy and threw him into the back seat of a car, which might explain his lifelong abhorrence of sweets — where he was given clothes and food and eventually adopted by an American family.
At the age of 8. Or maybe 7. It’s not really important, as long as he’s older than I am.
Today, my husband is an executive at a company that works with nonprofits. He teaches Bible study classes, studies Greek and has a wicked sense of humor. He is both one of the smartest people I’ve ever met as well as one of the most talented.
Most important to me, he is the father of our three children and my lifelong companion and love.
And, as you might imagine, he has quite the passion for orphans and the poor.
I sometimes wonder about that Korean woman. I doubt she knows the impact she’s had on me, my children and the hundreds of other people Corey has touched.
If she hadn’t reported his existence to that American orphanage, Corey would most likely have died of disease or malnutrition before he was a teenager.
Even if he had lived, there was no future for him in Korea. As a half-breed without paternal bloodlines, he was considered a gutter rat, without worth or identity.
But because she saw him, the story turned. Such a simple act, but it changed everything.
Sometimes, when we look at the ocean of poverty and need, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
“What can I do in the face of such hugeness?” we wonder. “What good would my pebble do in such a vast sea of suffering?”
But here’s the amazing thing about pebbles dropped in the water — they create ripples.
All you have to do is notice. See one child. Just one. Then act. Sponsor that child. Throw your pebble into the ocean.
God will take care of the ripples. You never know how far they might reach.
Kelly @ Love Well is a writer, mother, wife and pebble thrower. She’s passionate about the ripples created by child sponsorship and delights to introduce people to Compassion. She also loves her coffee. Her life ambition is to laugh often, live purposefully and love well. When she has a few free seconds, she blogs at www.lovewell.blogspot.com.