The Ripples of Child Sponsorship

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.

Corey with the kidsAnd, 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

21 Comments |Add a comment

  1. sue February 11, 2011

    thank you so much for sharing your story !! my son is a holt – wacap baby from south Korea . we just never know the impact that we make when we reach out .

  2. shannon February 11, 2011

    So I would love to hear the rest of nthe story….how did he become the man he is now? Curious bc we are mid adoption process….btw, beautiful kids and handsome hubby. 😉

  3. Amy Noel February 11, 2011

    What an amazing story! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Suzanne Eller January 6, 2010

    This is why it is such a privilege to be both a sponsor and an advocate for Compassion. Thanks for sharing this!

  5. Michelle October 17, 2009

    Oh wow… that yanked on my heartstrings!!!

    The picture is a perfect complement. “The big ripple and some little ripples…” :o)

    I’ve tossed one pebble and aim to toss some more….

  6. Mike Stephens March 29, 2009


    Thank you for sharing!!! I thought it was cool your husband didn’t know his age!!! He could celebrate his birthday 365 days a year just to make sure he didn’t miss it!!!

  7. edj May 13, 2008

    What an amazing story! You’ve referred to it before, but I never knew the whole thing. I’m so glad to have read it.

  8. PJ May 13, 2008

    As a mother of 3 adoptees, I can attest to the ripple miracles. Our oldest son is Korean and came to us as a result of Holt International. Holt is an organization born of one man’s “ripple” when he saw children such as Corey when he traveled to Korea.
    We will be forever grateful for the ripple Matthew (God’s Gift) is making as he trains to enter the ministry.

  9. nancy pursino May 2, 2008

    Miracle’s like that are happening every day somwhere in the world – God is still in charge, praise God!!

  10. Kelley@ Aroma of Joy May 2, 2008

    Oh, what an amazing testimony. And a great motivation to reach out and help! I think this post sums up the very definition of compassion! Thank you for sharing your heart on this, it has obviously blessed many!!


  11. Lisa@Take90West May 1, 2008

    How can one story be so sad and yet so happy?
    I have a feeling I’ll be reading this more than once.
    Thank you, Kelly.

  12. Mocha with Linda May 1, 2008

    Wow. What an incredible story and testimony. Thanks for sharing.

  13. jen May 1, 2008

    Thank you for sharing that story. It reminded me how crucial it is to always be aware of the needs of others and how powerful a simple act can be.

  14. Vicki Small May 1, 2008

    This story is both parable and metaphor. Thanks so much for sharing it for those of us who had never heard it. God open our eyes to each day’s opportunities to create ripples!

  15. Fran May 1, 2008

    Oh my goodness!! Bring those ripples on people….lives are forever changed!!

    Simply beautiful Kelly. Thank you so much for sharing. We CAN make a difference.


  16. Lisa @ The Preacher’s Wife April 30, 2008


    I’ve heard this story before but I still get chillbumps. That woman didn’t just change one life, but generations because of her act on that day.

    Have I told you lately that you and Corey are my favorite imaginary friend couple? :))


  17. kelly April 30, 2008


    This is absolutely the most beautiful thing you have written, and that is saying a lot. Thank you so much for sharing this story. What a wonderful reminder that each one of us has the ability to generate a ripple.

  18. Ian Durias April 30, 2008

    I’m so thankful that you shared this story, Kelly. I’m grateful to the Lord for how he notices us as his children. The results will astonish. May the Lord continue to bless your family. His love endures forever.

    Ripple effected,


  19. Compassion dave April 30, 2008

    I love it! Throw the pebble and let God worry about the ripples. Amen.

  20. Juli Jarvis April 30, 2008

    Amazing story. Thanks so much for sharing. One little act of kindness can really change the world.

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