Dr. Kanhka Linthavong is a North Carolina doctor with a huge heart for adoption. His family is in the process of adopting a child from China, and he loves how adoption demonstrates how God brings us into His own family.
In just a few days, Dr. Linthavong will be traveling to China on a medical missions trip where he and his team will conduct medical evaluations for orphans with special needs, in the hopes of better telling their stories and providing awareness around their conditions.
We had a few minutes to catch up with Dr. Linthavong before his trip to learn more about him, his goals of this trip, and his heart for adoption.
Q: Tell us about your background.
A: I’m a family physician, and went to school at UNC Chapel Hill’s Medical School. I’ve been practicing medicine since 2008, and currently work at the Kernodle Clinic in Burlington.
Q: What do you enjoy about being a doctor?
A: I really enjoy the relational part of being a doctor and getting to take care of entire families. I also love the intentionality of what I do. Every day, every encounter, and every visit is intentional, and is about more than just medicine.
Honestly, medicine is the easy part. The hard part, but the part I love, is figuring out the person. What are their motives? What is their background? The Lord has given me a platform through my job to extend His kingdom, and being in a private practice allows me to pray with my patients, to share the Gospel…it’s amazing.
Q: How did you and your wife develop an interest in adopting from China?
A: Before we even got married, my wife and I knew that the Lord had given both of us the desire to adopt. When our adoption agency told us that China has a huge orphan population in need of families, and a particularly high number of orphans with special needs, we knew that was where we wanted to focus. It has been a long process due to family circumstances, but we’ll be approved to receive a referral in October, 2016.
Q: How did you get connected with this medical missions initiative?
A: This trip is with Storyteller Missions through our agency, America World Adoption, which sends teams to interact with orphans all over the world so that we can share and write their stories with hopes that God will lead families to adopt them. The specific purpose of our upcoming trip is a little different as we will focus on a large number of children who have often been forgotten and it will have a large medical and advocacy focus.
Q: Tell me about the team. Who’s going?
A: Our team is made up of 20 people from all over the country. Most of us are medical providers, but the few who aren’t are individuals with a passion for orphan advocacy. We’ll be splitting into two groups to serve at two different orphanages.
Q: Are you at liberty to share when and where you’re going?
A: The trip will be from October 6-16. We’ll be in the Guizhou province of China, but I’m not able to disclose the exact location of the orphanages for privacy and security reasons. This is the first time Storyteller Missions has been allowed to send a team to this province, which is exciting.
Q: What will you be doing on your trip?
A: Our team will be conducting medical evaluations to report exactly what situation each child is in and what condition they have, so that potential families will understand where the children are coming from and what kind of care or treatment they need.
Common needs range from surgical needs (cleft palate, heart deformities, etc.) to blood disorders and cerebral palsy, among others. We will also be meeting foster families and spending intentional time with older children to learn more about their stories, with hopes that we can provide helpful information and pieces of their lives that otherwise may have gone untold.
We want to help create awareness about the huge need for adoption and what a great opportunity it is, and we believe this trip will help do that.
Q: Personally, what do you hope to accomplish through this trip?
A: China is a closed country, so I want to be able to love on the children and staff well without telling them why, but in a way that they can see the Gospel through our interactions. I also hope this trip can help spur future trips for the ministry. I hope God uses this trip to prepare my heart for our future child, whether or not he or she is one of the children I get to meet.
Q: How can people pray for you and your team?
A: My greatest prayer is that we’d be able to conduct our work as true ambassadors for Christ, in a way that the people can see that there’s something different about us, and that they would ask why we’re here. Please pray that, through all of this, the orphans and staff will know who Jesus is and the great love He has for them.
Be sure to check out this update from the field.