Sandeep and I just returned from a wonderful experience at the American Federation for Children’s Summit 2018 in the heart of Washington DC. It was the meeting of some of the top education think tanks in the country as they shared ideas and successes while discussing the biggest problems facing our nation’s children today. Lack of equal access to education being # 1 on the agenda. Many children are enslaved to their zip codes which prevents them from accessing better schools which could be their only ticket out of poverty and crime. The AFC and other organizations like PSO (Public School Options) and EdChoice work together to make School Choice a reality for children which would give them access to all sorts of education options including public school, private school, virtual school, charter school or home school. This is not pitting one form of education against another for each system has its pros and cons. Instead it’s recognizing that children learn differently and that parents are usually the best judges of their child’s academic needs so it is fighting to place the choice of schooling with the parents allowing their tax dollars to follow their children.
As I listen to the talks and watch the dedication and hard work of so many who made School Choice possible for our kids, I am thanking God today! Why? For both our older kids who had faced trauma and loss due to their being orphaned did struggle tremendously which seriously affected their ability to think and study for years. Sandeep could not think or function normally while he was in the deepest trenches for 11 long years as evidenced by his notes to us during that time shown below. The effort we had to put in to help him cope was overwhelming and there were times we almost gave up as it seemed almost impossible to help him. The attached notes he had written to us at age 13 telling us that he did not want to study are heartbreaking to read for behind them was a hurting child who was daily using all his abilities to suppress the memory of his childhood trauma. I see the stark contrast in his abilities which were so damaged as compared to my youngest daughter who is the same age but who never had to face any major challenges in her life-like her siblings have.
School Choice was a tool that helped all our children navigate through the challenging years. We needed to move them from brick and mortar public school to private Christian school to online home school to private Catholic school to virtual public school to the home school co-op at different times of their growing years. We had to move from NJ to WA because we had no options except the public brick and mortar school system supported by the state and Sandeep would definitely have failed in such a system. But even in WA, only the public brick and mortar and Public virtual schools systems were supported by our government’s education department. We lobby because many children like ours need options to succeed in life! Though he struggled tremendously, Sandeep went on to graduate from UW with a degree in Law, Economics and Public Policy while Ruth is working on her Graphics degree from ASU. Our youngest Sarah is a month away from stepping into high school and though she studied online her entire life until last year, she does now enjoy studying at her local brick and mortar public school. Not an easy journey for each of them but a journey of hope and gratitude because of School Choice!
I respectfully asked Sandeep if I could share his notes as it might encourage another struggling family out there to persevere even when it seems hopeless. He reminded me that his identity does not come from what people think of him nor from his achievements or positions but from Christ alone who has redeemed him and given him infinite value!
Every time we attend one of these conferences and I watch the respect Sandeep has gained from people ranking far higher than himself! It blows my mind as to how an orphaned, unwanted, traumatized 6-year-old child from India who had almost no primary education and who struggled daily until the end of 10th grade has now been specially chosen to represent the vulnerable young people on national educational issues. Praising God for He alone can bring such beauty from ashes! He alone uses the weak in this world to teach the wise!
The American Federation for Children Summit 2018 in Washington DC held at the Mayflower Hotel.
Sandeep outside the WA Representative Susan DelBene’s office on Capitol Hill lobbying her staff about School Choice in WA.
Students in a round table discussion with House aides and members of the press on The Hill in Washington DC on 5/2/2018.
Students being honored at the AFC Summit dinner.
Sandeep and I being interviewed for the “Interviews with Mom” Program in the School Choice movement.
We are truly grateful to the Lord not because Sandeep has achieved very high by the world’s standards (because he is just an average young man) but that his all powerful God has chosen him for purposes that He predestined for him before the foundations of the earth for His glory! So, we give God thanks and praise!
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” ~ Ephesians 3:20-21