The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Brittany Allen
News Editor 

A Goldendale adoptee on Adoption Week

 

Contributed

BACK TO ORIGINS: Adam DeHart will visit India next month

As the month of pink for breast cancer awareness is now long over, November has not only brought along the frost and fog, but another cause: national adoption month.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 40 years ago, then governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, implemented an annual statewide Adoption Week in order to garner awareness of the need for foster children to be adopted into stable, long-term families.

Jumping forward, in 1984, Former President Ronald Reagan made this week of awareness into a national cause and in 1995, Former President Bill Clinton extended it to last throughout the month of November.

Ten years later, local Adam DeHart, who was adopted at the age of nine, took his first trip back to the country of his origin-India-where he would find what he originally thought was a call to connect with his past would lead him to want to do much more.

DeHart and about six other community members will return to India this December to continue his mission to end the poverty cycle he was once very much affected by.

DeHart's story is one for the books; he still remembers much of his young life leading up to his being taken in by Mother Teresa's Orphanage and, eventually, being adopted by Ray and Alice DeHart of Goldendale through the World Association For Children And Parents (WACAP), which is also celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

According to DeHart, he feels very lucky to have been adopted out of the situation he was born into.

"The way I look at it, I was given an opportunity for a life and a family and I feel bad that these guys never got that," DeHart says. "So, I'm trying to, in a nice way, pay my gift forward, and the only way I can do that is-to give something that big-I have to literally have other people's help into doing it. [...] Another good part about it is adoption awareness. I'm very thankful, not just to be alive, but to have a loving, caring family. I know that with adoption, the United States benefits in the sense that Will Garnett being a ranger, Alika being a nurse practitioner. It's not just we're given a life as we are able to give other people lives."

When DeHart made his first trip last winter with his wife Jacqueline and son Ethan, he admits that it took them about a week to get accustomed to the haggling required to make your way through the marketplace, but it did not take long before the memories began flooding back, and some old acquaintances too.

In his time at Boys Town, the orphanage where he lived before he was brought to the United States, DeHart was able to catch up with a friend from his past, a man named Frederick who was once an orphan at Boys Town like DeHart and is now helping to run the orphanage.

Of his experience, DeHart also says he enjoyed the time he got to spend playing with and reading to the kids and doing laundry and disinfecting toys with the sisters.

"The sisters are amazing, because they speak-they have to be able to understand literally every languages or anybody that comes there," DeHart says. "So they are, in my opinion, very intelligent. They've found a way to communicate with everyone."

DeHart's mission after visiting last year is one he plans to build upon for years to come. In an email, he gave a step-by-step outline of what he hopes to accomplish starting this year.

"There are three main steps that we are working stages. One: give them food, clothing and housing: the basic life needs. Two: build a school and teach them from grade school to high school. Three: teach them a skilled trade. Work with them when we build homes, schools, bathrooms, do the electrical, plumbing."

DeHart himself hopes to finish his current training in journeyman electric and be able to pass that knowledge on to kids back east.

Among the children whose lives DeHart hopes to affect with his involvement in India is his son, Ethan. He and his wife are hoping that these childhood experiences will help teach him some compassion.

"I don't want him to volunteer because we want him to," DeHart says. "We want him to do it because he loves other people."

So far DeHart and his band of volunteers have resorted to hosting bake sales to raise some funds for their trip. They also have a GoFundMe page (https://www.gofundme.com/2wmfdx44) and a website (http://indiaorphan.com) dedicated to raising such funds and promoting awareness of the cause.

"I just look at the mathematical odds a bit, being that I'm fortunate enough, and I have these pictures and I'm able to go back," DeHart says. "I'm really beginning to see a bigger picture that maybe this is where I was supposed to go or be."

 

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