Originally published in the WFCF Newsletter, Vol. 7, No. 1, August 2013
There are many children around the world who are born into loving families, but regrettably, this is not always the case. A percentage of the world’s children are physically or cognitively challenged at birth, and are born into low income families where their arrival is not always welcomed. In many third world countries, physically and mentally challenged children are viewed as liabilities and in some extreme cases, due to lack of education and the presence of societal taboos, the birth of these very children is viewed as a curse or God’s punishment for a wrong doing of the family.
Unfortunately, these children receive the least amount of recognition and treatment, and tend to have a very short life span. Luckily, there are many kind-hearted individuals around the world who do whatever they can to assist these children and provide them with a decent home and upbringing, including Pastor Lee Jong-Rak from South Korea, who provides homes to neglected children such as these.
In a country such as South Korea, every family’s dream is to have a perfect child. After the birth of his physically disabled son, Pastor Lee came to the realization that all children deserve a chance, and he has been providing loving homes to neglected infants through his drop-box program, which he initiated in 1998. Outside of the program’s building there is a sign with a very strong message that reads, “This is the facility for protection of life, and if you can’t take care of your disabled babies, don’t throw them away or leave them on the street, bring them here.” Through his drop-box program, Pastor Lee has lovingly taken in many children, sent them to school to receive an education, and has simply changed their lives the better.
Throughout the years, children involved in the program have been inflicted with many types of challenges and disabilities, including deafness, blindness, quadriplegia, paralyzation, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and permanent brain damage. In the eyes of Pastor Lee, they all are perfect children of God. He has found them homes at the ad hoc orphanage that he runs with his wife and small staff, which is the only private center for disabled children in South Korea. Today, his orphanage facility includes 21 wards, which currently house children from 2 months to 18 months of age.