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A child and her mother reach back.

10 year Anniversary Trip:

Why I support Big Big World Project and hope you will too…

Big Big World Project (BBWP) is an outstanding organization that makes a difference in the lives of children and youth, and one I support because it makes a difference in the lives of those who supported my daughter at the start of her life. I adopted Isabella at 5 months old from a small government run orphanage in a rural part of Vietnam. It was home to many children of all ages. It is difficult to articulate how such a small drab space could contain such laughter and promise. The memory of the sparse rooms stands in direct contrast to the attention and care that the nannies and the older youth lavished on my daughter. Many people approached us on the streets of Vietnam to tell my daughter she was a lucky baby. Lucky because they could tell she was going to America, where she would have many opportunities.

My daughter continues to astound and amaze me with her health, intellect, talent and joy. Her choices are endless when she grows up. However, I often reflect on the children who were not adopted. As a result of circumstances beyond their control, they face limited opportunities once they leave the orphanage. Phan Thiet, located on the South China Sea, is lined with resorts, and yet the poverty nearby is great. And while cities such as Hanoi and Saigon have undergone unprecedented growth and modernization, opportunities are available only to those who have the resources to relocate and can afford the sky-rocketing housing and schooling costs.

That is where BBWP comes in. An independent non-profit, run entirely by volunteers, BBWP offers incentives to the kids of Phan Thiet orphanage to complete elementary and secondary school and a commitment to cover postsecondary education and living expenses until they graduate. BBWP also provides access to healthcare, such as dental work and eye exams, as well as other critical needs. The organization also provides the sort of enriching experiences a family would—traditions such as a barbeques, fruit parties and field trips. Every year, members of the volunteer Board join with other volunteers - just like a family would - to visit the kids in Phan Thiet. We bring them hugs and kisses, check on school performance, replenish needed supplies and clothes, and have heart to heart talks about setting goals and preparing for their future. In short, BBWP provides opportunities for young people to change their lives and reach their full potential.

This summer, Isabella and I will return to Vietnam as part of the BBWP family. It is a chance for her to continue to know her birth country and build her understanding of Vietnam. She will also be learning about poverty first-hand and the importance of giving back.

There are many things I wish I could change about the world. But what I have learned is that the best way to make a difference is at the individual level. BBWP impacts individuals. I saw it first hand when my family and I took Isabella back to visit the orphanage several years ago. Through donations, BBWP had provided furniture for the kids, including their first dedicated space that could be locked, and a refrigerator. Already, youth have accessed postsecondary education and are working, married, and living lives that they could have only dreamed about, were it not for BBWP.

Please consider making a donation to Big Big World today. You can see the results of your contribution on our journey to Vietnam this summer, our 10th anniversary trip, by following and sharing this blog. Help us make a difference, at the individual level.

Pictured here: Nga, Isabella, and Jade in 2008.

Isabella is now 10 years old, and Jade is on the board of Big Big World Project. Nga is a college graduate, wife, and mother.

NOW pictures coming soon. Follow our 10 year anniversary trip to see how your donations change lives!

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