At America World, we are constantly blessed by those who serve on our One Orphan Storyteller Assessment teams and choose to use their skills and God-given talents to help orphans abroad. These trips throughout the year are a very important part of what we do in our programs, and particularly in China where we work with a large number of medical needs children.
Today, Dr. Jacob Labahn shares his personal story
as a doctor and adoptive father of children from China
and how these trips have impacted his life.
"Human life is of paramount importance, more precious than a thousand pieces of gold; to save it with one prescription is to show your great virtue."
- Sun Simiao, Father of Chinese Medicine (581-682 AD)
I am a father to four beautiful children who were born in China. I am also a family physician. In my dual roles as father and physician, I have a great affinity for Chinese culture and medical history.
At the intersection of these interests is a man named Sun Simiao. Sun was a Chinese physician during the Tang dynasty and is remembered as the father of eastern medicine. Just as Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, laid out his moral code in his famous oath, Sun Simiao recorded his values in a treatise called "On the Absolute Sincerity of Great Physicians."
Whenever a great doctor treats an illness, he must first of all calm his spirit and fix his resolve. He should not give way to wishes and desires but should develop first of all an attitude of compassion. He must vow to rescue the sufferings of all sentient beings. If someone comes for help, he must not ask if the patient is noble or common, rich or poor, old or young, beautiful or ugly. Enemies, relatives, good friends, Chinese or barbarians, foolish and wise, all are the same.
He should think of them as his closest relatives. He should not be overly circumspect and worry about omens or his own life. He should look on others' sufferings as his own and be deeply concerned. He should not hide away in the mountains. Day and night, in cold and heat, in hunger, thirst, and fatigues, he should single-mindedly go to the rescue.
Whoever acts in this manner is a great doctor for the living. Whoever acts contrary is a great thief for those who still have their spirits.
I recently had the privilege of traveling with one of the One Orphan Storyteller Mission Teams to the Chinese social welfare institute where two of my children lived before joining our family.
The purpose of our trip was multifaceted. First of all, we were able to play with the children and give them lots of individual love and attention. We also got to learn the stories of these precious little ones, which is so important because telling a child's story is a wonderful way to advocate for them. After we got home, instead of leaving potential adoptive families to learn about these children through impersonal paperwork, we were able to tell them vivid stories of what the children could do, what they were capable of, the way they laughed, and the potential in their eyes.
I was also able to perform medical exams on many of the children.
The potential adoptive families I spoke with were so grateful for a medical update on their child because some of the health information in their charts was several years old.
Our team was also able to arrange for extra medical care for several of the
children at the social welfare institute.
As I reflect on my time in China with a One Orphan Storyteller Team, I am reminded of Sun Simiao's words. I often pray that I would continue to develop an "attitude of compassion" for these precious children, and I am challenged by the lines, "He should not hide away in the mountains. Day and night, in cold and heat, in hunger, thirst, and fatigues, he should
single-mindedly go to the rescue."
Medical personnel have special skills that are so valuable to these children and the families who are considering adopting them. I would encourage anyone with medical training to participate in a One Orphan Storyteller Mission Team.
If you have interest in traveling with a One Orphan Storyteller Mission Team and would like more information about how your skills would be useful, I'd love to talk to you about my experiences.
Please email email@example.com and our staff can connect you with Dr. Labahn or help you learn more about our One Orphan Storyteller Advocacy Trips. If you are interested in seeing and learning more about children that were not a direct match for families, but whom we advocating for, please visit our advocacy child page HERE or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800.429.3369 with any questions about our program.