Bethany Christian Services Banquet Features Young Man’s Compelling Story
Published: 5/11/2012 6:13:00 PM
Sandeep Thomas is a living testament to adoption’s saving grace.
As a five-year old in his native Bangalore, India, Sandeep tragically witnessed his own mother’s suicide and was subsequently abandoned by an alcoholic father. The traumatized orphan seemed destined for a life of poverty and despair in the slums of his city. However, within the next eight months, he was adopted by Americans Peter and Vanita Thomas through Bethany Christian Services. Thanks to the care of a loving family and faith in a living God, Sandeep—a freshman at the University of Washington—now has hope and a future.
Sandeep will share his powerful testimony as the keynote speaker when Bethany Christian Services of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut hosts its annual fundraising banquet on Wednesday, May 23, 6 p.m., at the Venetian in Garfield, NJ. Bethany Christian Services is a global non-profit organization serving orphaned, abandoned, and vulnerable children on five continents.
“We are excited to have Sandeep as our speaker,” said Nancy Dykstra-Powers, director of Bethany Christian Services of NY/NJ/CT. “I had the privilege of working with Sandeep and his family when he first came to this country in 1998. At the banquet, we will hear how God is using his life to make a difference in this world.”
In June, Sandeep graduated from high school and was inducted into the National Honor Society—quite an accomplishment for someone who had a hard time academically and socially due to unimaginable childhood trauma. The boy’s grim condition was rooted in witnessing his birth mother commit suicide by lighting herself on fire; as she died, she asked Sandeep to join her.
“He was best described as the ‘walking dead,’ ” recalled his mother, Vanita Thomas.
Today, Sandeep is pursuing a business degree at the University of Washington–Bothell with the hope of one day attending law school so he can be an advocate for children victimized by human trafficking. The teenager with a big heart has previously raised money for orphaned children in Asia and Africa. As a high school senior, Sandeep spearheaded the 30 Hour Famine through World Vision.
“Because of my adoption, I have a family who really loves me, a chance to live in the U.S. along with opportunities many kids in India can only dream about,” he said.
“Sandeep is convinced that his life was saved from the poverty and desperation in India for a bigger purpose,” said Vanita Thomas. “He looks forward to caring for many other broken kids.”
Bethany’s fundraising banquet will help the organization continue to make a difference in the lives of children like Sandeep and impact local communities with its many programs. Through its African American Church Outreach, Bethany seeks to work with local ministry leaders and encourage pregnant women who are considering an abortion to choose adoption. Statistics indicate that 60 percent of African American pregnancies in New York City end in abortion (and 40 percent overall).
In another effort to reduce abortion and place babies with loving families, Bethany has entered into an aggressive marketing campaign to visit abortion clinics and hospitals in the region and let administrators know about their services and the life-saving option of adoption. Bethany also cares for birthparents by helping them with food, clothing, and medical needs. In this tough economy, there is plenty of need.