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Love is Blind

As I cradled 18-month-old Qiushi in my arms, he squeezed my left pinky finger and seemed to say without words, please don’t let me go. He had just completed surgery in one eye and was preparing for yet another. His arms were locked into casts, to protect himself from touching the good work of the doctors and ensure his healing. His mind was no doubt wanting to be the active boy that lived inside.

Qiushi looked straight up at my own eyes with a kind of love that made me think for a moment he could see. But I knew he couldn’t...Qiushi is blind. His disability caused his parents to abandon him on a street in Beijing, only to find his way here, to Bethel Foster Home, a place built on a kind of love and generosity that knows no boundaries.

Walking into Bethel on the outskirts of Beijing, you find the words "Love is Blind" (perhaps the truest phrase ever told). The women that oversee the health and safety of the children here are nothing short of angels. Anna from Spain and Wendy from China work with their team to ensure the children at Bethel learn, grow, eat, and stay warm as the cold November days began to pervade the space. No one took their coat off during our visit. It was too cold. But the hallways feel happy and the classrooms are filled with books, toys and tools…loving donations sent from people all over the planet. Cut out tracing paper of children’s hands dot the main hallway, highlighting the children who have been adopted by families in China, the USA, Australia, the U.K. and more. Anna works tirelessly to see that one day every child in her care can live in a safe environment with a loving family. She has devoted her life to this purpose.

The day before our visit, my co-founders on Team See Possibilities completed a nonstop, three-day endurance challenge on The Great Wall of China. My teammates Charles Scott, Brad Graff and I guided our friend Dan Berlin, who is blind, on a multi-sport journey (trekking, cycling and kayaking) over remote and unrestored remains of this iconic piece of history weaving like a snake through China’s towering mountains. The steps and rocky terrain weren’t easy, but the views were breathtaking. I felt simultaneously insignificant and connected with everything in the universe. We slept in tents in abandoned watchtowers, stopping only to share meals with local villagers.

The purpose? To help Dan make history and inspire others to see past their own disability, uncovering instead what is possible. Since we formed our nonprofit a few years ago, we have run rim to rim to rim across the Grand Canyon and back in one day, ran the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in 13 hours and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in the dark in 2.5 days. This Great Wall challenge took us one step closer to achieving our goal - helping Dan make history on 7 continents in 7 years, inspiring children along the way to believe that they can do a lot more than people might think.

Dan’s message to see his blindness as an inconvenience rather than a disability resonated here at Bethel Foster Home. If he could do this incredible challenge, perhaps that anything they set their hearts on could be possible too. This philosophy is the way that Anna, Wendy and the team care for the children at Bethel, valuing a more inclusive society.

Their work takes resources and support. If you’d like to make a donation to Team See Possibilities to support our efforts and our mission to support children who are blind around the world and challenge perceived limits, you can make a donation directly on our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/teamseepossibilities/ or visit our website at www.teamseepossibilities.com

For more information about Bethel or to financially support a child in need, you can visit: https://www.bethelchina.org/sponsor-a-child-2/

It’s an interesting exercise to try one of your daily activities with a blindfold on or your eyes closed. You’ll find that there is so much you can “see," even without your sight. Indeed love is blind.

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