Twice Adopted: Young Man Shares Powerful Testimony at Banquet
Published: 7/2/2012 10:58:14 AM
Banquet keynote speaker Sandeep Thomas and family with board members of Bethany Christian Services. Photo courtesy of Justin Tyler Photography (www.justintylerphoto.com).
In 2011, Bethany Christian Services placed 49 babies with families in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
At the ministry’s annual fundraising banquet on May 23, Nancy Dykstra-Powers, the director of Bethany Christian Services for the Tri-State region, said the evening was dedicated to celebrating all the children who were adopted by God’s grace. Additionally, other significant accomplishments were highlighted, including a pro-life outreach to churches in the African-American community, the opening of new offices in Brooklyn and Connecticut; Bethany’s birthparent assistance fund; and the ministry’s placement of special needs children.
Everyone at the banquet, held at The Venetian in Garfield, NJ, also celebrated the life and testimony of keynote speaker Sandeep Thomas, who was adopted by Peter and Vanita Thomas 15 years ago with the help of Dykstra-Powers and Bethany Christian Services. The Thomas family, living inParamus,NJat that time, eventually relocated to the West Coast.
With poise and grace, 20-year-old Sandeep told his amazing story and also compelled the crowd of nearly 400 to willingly receive the gift of God’s love.
“According to the Bible, even before the creation of the world, God planned adoption and He chose those who were to be His own children,” said Sandeep, quoting Ephesians 1:3-7.
But as an impoverished five-year-old boy in India, Sandeep was not feeling chosen at all. His birth mother, distraught and without hope due to horrible living conditions and an alcoholic husband, took her life by dousing her body with kerosene and lighting herself on fire. Sandeep recalled arriving home with his father as his mother wailed inside and called out for her son to join her. She died a few days later. Sandeep was soon orphaned when it was obvious that his father could not care for his three young children.
When Peter and Vanita Thomas heard about the plight of this young boy ten thousand miles from their North Jersey home, their hearts flooded with compassion and he became their son through adoption.
At the banquet, Sandeep spoke candidly about the inner pain he suffered after facing such trauma inIndia. Because of the hurt and anger, the young boy built walls to protect himself—walls that would take many years to crumble.
“I was extremely angry with my birth father, my adoptive parents, and with God,” he said.
He struggled emotionally, socially, and especially academically. But because of the persevering, unconditional love of his parents and a God that wouldn’t let go, Sandeep was able to open his heart and give the Lord a chance.
“In September 2009, I finally surrendered my life to Jesus,” he said. “He had chosen me before I was born, had pursued me through the hard times and had granted me the opportunity of being adopted a second time spiritually, into His family. There was no greater gift than that. My Heavenly Father set me free from the anger, resentment, and strongholds from my past. He transformed my life and began the rebuilding process.”
And there’s more to his story. The boy who needed hours of assistance to complete one page of homework is now on the Dean’s List at the University of Washington at Bothell. His breakthrough came when his parents discovered virtual schooling. He graduated high school with honors and is now an advocate for the program, speaking before the governor and both houses of the legislature.
Sandeep concluded his first keynote speaking address in May by exhorting the audience to support Bethany Christian Services and consider changing the lives of children just like him.