Don't Fall in Love with the Children

A warm rush ran through James’ body as the taxi pulled up to the front doors of the Philippines orphanage where he’d spent his first eight months of life. An old black-and-white photograph attached to his birth certificate was all he’d seen of the Hospicio de San Jose in the past 30 years, but his heart confirmed the importance of this visit.

“I felt an incredibly strong impression I knew could come from only one place. It told me to be prepared to have a great deal of information revealed to me during these next few days,” James wrote.

Thirty years earlier, James Badham had been adopted by an American family and brought to the United States. An unexpected business trip to the Philippines allowed him to return to the orphanage.

“I remember getting off the plane in awe, thinking to myself that never in my wildest imagination did I think I would have had the opportunity to return to the Philippines, yet here I was in the land of my heritage,” James recalled.

Entering the orphanage, he was greeted by Catholic sisters who took him on a room-to-room tour. When he was escorted to the nursery, he saw the same cribs and thin mats he’d slept on 30 years before when, as a sickly baby, he was adopted by his new mother.

As James looked upon the orphan children, the sisters gave him the same counsel they’d given his mother many years before. “Don’t fall in love with the children,” they said. “It will hurt too much to leave them.”

Strong Promptings

But it was too late. As he played with and hugged those loving little babies, he felt as if they’d been his from the beginning. In a moment of reflection, he realized that the principles of the gospel, instilled in his own heart from childhood, allowed him to feel a profound love for these children. He loved them as individuals and children of God, and he knew he had an important mission to fulfill.

“I probably had as many spiritual experiences in those few days as I’d had in my whole full-time mission in Honduras. It was almost like ‘do this’ and ‘do that.’ It was that strong,” Badham said. “My eyes filled with tears knowing that not long ago it was me being held by another who’d felt the same thing.”

As he hugged and looked upon the little orphans, James’ thoughts turned to his own family back in the states. He thought of his wife Jennifer and their three children. Then he thought of his unborn baby who’d died in the womb a few months earlier without having the chance to come to earth.

As Jennifer recalls, “It took us a year and a half to get pregnant, and we were overjoyed when it finally happened. Just 19 weeks into the pregnancy, we learned that the baby’s heart had stopped beating and we had lost our child. Our hearts were broken.”

The miscarriage sparked an interest, but it wasn’t until a business trip that they seriously considered adoption. Scheduled for the very month she would’ve given birth, James would have been with her instead of going to the Philippines.

After two days spent visiting the orphanage, it was time for James to return home. “I stood and faced the front of the Hospicio de San Jose, pondering on the short visit and the experiences I’d just had. My heart filled with great emotion and I had tears in my eyes—and once again the Holy Ghost came and comforted me.” Immediately upon his return, James related his experience. He and Jennifer began researching to learn all they could about adoption so they, too, could bring one of those children home.

The Badhams searched, and finally found an adoption agency they wanted to work with. “We went to our first meeting and found that it would cost nearly $15,000 to adopt from the Philippines. We went home disappointed. It would take us at least a few years to come up with that much money,” Jennifer wrote.

'A God of Miracles'

While expense was disheartening, James and Jennifer decided they still wanted to do something to help the orphanage during Christmas. They began a fundraiser and wired the $4,400 they collected to the humanitarian missionaries in Manila. They missionaries took the children to a department store and let them pick out their own Christmas presents. The missionaries were also able to buy a DVD player and some movies for the handicapped children, as well as a few computers for educational use.

A week later, the missionaries went to the orphanage to sing songs and celebrate Christmas with the children and the orphanage staff. “It touched our hearts and the hearts of others to watch the video of these missionaries singing ‘I am a Child of God’ to God’s most precious gifts—His children. Oh, how we wish we could have been there,” Jennifer wrote.

While adoption seemed so far away, it remained constantly in their thoughts. In an act of faith, they decided to start filling out the papers right after Christmas, even though they didn’t have the needed money.

Not long after that decision, James lost his job. It seemed yet another setback in their plans, but they didn’t lose faith. Friends and neighbors helped in the job search and offered prayers in their behalf.

Then a miracle happened. “James came in from getting the mail and called me down to the office. He handed me a $10,000 check that had anonymously arrived in the mail,” Jennifer wrote. Adding up the adoption fees, they discovered they now had enough money to cover them.

An Act of Faith

“How many of us say to ourselves, ‘If I were only a multimillionaire, what could I do?’ I’ve felt the Spirit say to me, ‘First, I want to see what you will do without it. Will you give all that you have, even though you don’t have much right now?’ The test is now. Are we like the widow who cast in her mite? Will we give all that we have?” Not long after receiving the check in the mail, James found a job. The job was not only better but paid more as well.

“I was raised in a land of opportunity, but the greatest blessing is that I have the Gospel, and that has given me eternal freedom,” James said. “The adoption allows me to provide this opportunity for someone else. ‘How great shall be your joy’—adopting a child into a covenant family is exactly that.”

James likes to ask himself this question: “‘What am I willing to sacrifice?’ Most people have to really get on their knees,” he said. “I want to be able to reach out and help somebody. You only need to ask, ‘Lord, am I doing it the right way?’ He will consecrate those efforts. Then we will begin to fulfill President Hinckley’s counsel to ‘get out of your comfort zone and watch yourself grow.’”

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