“You’d better not care about it,” was the warning from a Chinese official when a group of Americans happened upon a baby boy on a path by the side of the road. A Life magazine article from September 1997 that told the story of abandoned infants in China was the genesis of Christy Depriest Wright’s mission to help orphaned children in a country where policies and customs are hard to understand. The remarkable part of the story is that Christy’s big heart and determination to do something about it started with an eighth-grade essay that developed into her new world view to make the world a better place. Christy continued to feel the urge to help children throughout high school and college, where a teaching trip to China secured her desire to return after graduation to fulfill her purpose-driven aspirations. Importantly, while at Liberty University, she met her future husband, Cory Wright, who also shared her desire to help children. Together they made it their mission to move to China and dedicate themselves to this new endeavor.
I was drawn to Christy’s story from the small amount of knowledge I learned from my sister and brother-in-law who adopted two Chinese girls several decades ago and discovered all the complexities of adoption and general lack of care for these deserving children. I have a huge amount of respect for the many dedicated people who are doing their part to make this unconscionable policy and custom in China and other regions of the world better by extending a helping hand. In my mind, these parents and caregivers are providing a life raft to infants and children who often don’t have advocates for them where they are born.
Christy’s mission-driven compassion to help orphaned children throughout the world was cut short by an unimaginable rare cancer her body could not fight off. According to Karen, her mom, Christy was a champ throughout her ordeal, always had a smile on her face, and kept the entire family moving forward, buoyed by the strength of her faith, despite the inevitable diagnosis. Christy passed away in 2010 and one would think that would be the end of this purpose-driven effort.
But the mission lives on. I have had the pleasure of speaking with Christy’s mom, Karen DePriest, over the past few weeks and have become a big fan of her drive and commitment to make Christy’s legacy a new chapter for her family, by taking the loving baton from Christy and continuing on with a mission to help children in China, Haiti, Sierra Leone, India and more recently in Michigan. Below is a great video from the website that shares Christy’s story and the continuation of her legacy through their charitable organization, CLOH, Christy’s Legacy of Hope. You will see that Karen and her husband Jeff have made quite a contribution to orphans in many areas of the world.
Last year, with the onset of COVID, access to orphanages in many locations was totally closed off. Karen and the family quickly shifted their efforts to children in foster care settings who also need compassionate people and organizations to help children often that have a very difficult time finding loving foster parents and support. Through introductions to many great people in the foster caregiving community, Karen was introduced to Darryl Bonner of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Lynda McGhee, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Michigan’s Children’s Law, Saba Gebrai, with the Park West Foundation, and my new best friend, Pastor Kate Thoresen of First Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Michigan. Thank goodness we have so many compassionate people focused on this much-needed service concerning foster care in all aspects of support.
I have included some timely pictures from a recent diaper bag donation that Karen and the CLOH organization made to Pastor Kate Thoresen’s foster care outreach programs at First Presbyterian. Eighty-nine diaper bags, as seen in the picture, were delivered to Kate two weeks ago and I know some foster care moms are very grateful for the kind donation.
Christy’s Legacy of Hope and the other noteworthy organizations need our financial support. As we approach spring, Karen has a wonderful plant and flower fundraiser that is now accepting orders. Looks pretty easy from my brief observation. Orders must be picked up at her house in Taylor, Michigan, but I think a nice drive to Taylor makes sense to me.
In addition, Karen and Jeff have a golf outing that looks very inviting. The outing is on Saturday, June 12th and will be held at the Taylor Meadows Golf Club. Again, a banner in the events section of the website provides all the information to sign up and different levels of sponsorship. Golfers looking for a good cause to show off their game should consider this event.
Please check out the website’s donate and register section to find easy and timely ways to support their efforts.
One final important event to bring to your attention. Karen is hosting a simulcast at the Beacon Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, in Taylor on April 23rd and 24th on all aspects of adoption and foster care. It will be led by a great organization out of Franklin, Tennessee, called Show Hope. If anyone has an interest or has thought about adoption or becoming a foster care parent, this looks like a great conference that will answer your questions.
The Hope for the Journey Conference will equip parents and caregivers meeting the everyday needs of children impacted by adoption and foster care and further resource churches in their endeavors to be beacons of hope and encouragement for families in their congregation and surrounding communities.
WHEN: April 23 (6pm-10pm) AND April 24 (9am-3pm)
WHERE: Beacon Baptist Church Fellowship Hall
COST: $10 For more information and to register for this incredible conference, click here
In summary, CLOH is the type of charity and organization where the 3rd Act community can make a difference. I promised Karen a podcast in future months so I plan to do all I can to illustrate the good works they are doing in a multitude of outreach programs.
Keep spreading the word and don’t hesitate to send this newsletter to anyone you think might have an interest.
All the best to you and your family,
Roger N. Steed