Kindness Matters

Amy and Wilson Hillman traveled to China to find their daughter, Sue Ling. Photos courtesy Amy Hillman

Amy and Wilson Hillman traveled to China to find their precious daughter, Sue Ling. Photos courtesy Amy Hillman

By Amy Hillman

For many years I had a pillow that sat on our guest room bed. It was a small accent pillow that had beautiful hand-embroidery designs stitched on it and the words “Kindness Matters” in the middle.

At times I thought it was an odd pillow to have, but the more I live, I have decided that the statement is very true. Kindness does matter. It’s something I have to remind myself to do more and more these days.

A little more than three months ago my husband, Wilson, and I brought home our gorgeous daughter, Sue Ling, from China.

She is 8 years old and the most amazing child I have ever been around. I sit at night and study the face of the child we waited for so long.

We experienced years of hearts hurting for the child that would come…waiting and waiting. Now our hearts hurt because it’s been filled up with so much love that it feels like it could burst!

She’s an absolute beauty! A true joy. I love to feel her baby soft skin; stroke her shiny black hair; look at her delicately formed lips. She’s perfect in every way.

Above her bed, these words are painted on the wall, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made… (Psalm 139:14)”.

If you spend any time with our daughter, you will find a little girl with tremendous personality! She has some of the best laughs and giggles. She loves to sing and dance and will entertain you all day long. She says the cutest things and amazes you with her language development, even though she has only been home such a short time. She has such a kind heart and sweet spirit.

She bonded with us instantly and gives us endless kisses and hugs all day long. My husband says it’s like being kissed by God. It is.


Sue Ling, looking beautiful in purple and pink

Our child has facial features that are different from most people. She’s unique.

In fact, when we finally have genetic testing done and if it confirms our hunch, she will be considered rare. To me she is like a rare jewel that was hidden for some time, just waiting for the moment that the Lord would bring her out and let her shine for His glory.

She’s bold and courageous, and you better believe she is going to let her little light shine. I can’t even imagine how the Lord will use her in the years ahead.

Will He develop a strong faith in her so that she can share how the Lord cares for us and redeems us from despair? Will He give her opportunities to become influential in society to help people see that disability can sometimes only be a reflection of a shell and not a limitation of what the person is like on the inside? Or, will He use her to simply bring joy into people’s lives that need it the most?

I don’t know, but what I do know is that He’s up to something. She’s already changing lives. She’s changed ours.

So how does kindness connect with this story? Three months ago, when we became a forever family, we began learning valuable lessons in kindness.

We were taken aback when we first began venturing out of our hotel into the streets of China with our daughter.

The Hillman Family gets to know one another just a few minutes after meeting in China.

The Hillman Family gets to know one another just a few minutes after meeting in China.

We were so proud as new parents, but our smiles quickly began to fade as we began seeing people staring at our daughter with ugly expressions on their faces. Some would act rudely and make unkind sounds or gestures that broke a mother’s (and father’s) heart.

Differences aren’t always accepted in other cultures and places. I worried about how much my daughter could understand and how this would affect her.

Our child had been sheltered behind walls and gates at an orphanage all her life. Now, she was coming out into the world, but the faces that she saw were not of smiles or acceptance. They were expressions of disgust and rejection. It broke my heart. The Lord encouraged us to be strong and courageous and reminded us that He was with us wherever we went. I never knew that He would teach us so much about how kindness does matter.

I could tell you more about our struggles on the streets of China, but I could also tell you about the time a beautifully elegant Chinese lady followed us along the streets and did nothing but smile and make my child feel special. It did a mother’s heart good after days of feeling like we had been beaten down by the stares of people.

Kindness matters.

I could tell you that we were apprehensive about coming back to the states and wondered how our daughter would be accepted in America, but we knew that all was going to be okay the moment we landed in Los Angeles. People working in the airport went out of their way to help us navigate our way through the airport to our next flight. People smiled as we walked past. People came out of their way to talk to our daughter.

Kindness matters.

I could tell you about the first time we ventured out of the house to visit a public park and had an unpleasant encounter with an unkind little boy, but I could also tell you about the awesome families that have spent time preparing their children to meet our daughter. The have taught their children that differences are okay and that we can be kind to children who are different. Sweet children were waiting for our daughter to come home so that they could play with their new friend.

Kindness matters.

I could tell you that there are times you wish you could just fade into the background. Times when you wish you could enter a restaurant or event without the whole room looking at you. But I could also tell you about how fun it is to visit the grocery store each week. The people who work there know who we are now. They give us stickers, balloons, and even get upset when we don’t come through their checkout line.

Kindness matters.

I could tell you that we have days when we feel exhausted and discouraged from taking care of a child with many needs, but I could also tell you about times when complete strangers have come up and given us encouragement during the moments we needed it. Like a family that saw us eating and brought a note to our table as they left. They told us that our family was beautiful and wished us God’s blessings. They also included money for our next meal “on them.”

Kindness matters.

Let me stop now, for I might go on and on about the acts of kindness we have received, and overwhelm you!


The Hillmans

However, I think it’s good for us to stop and appreciate the kindness of people around us. It can seem hard to find in all that is going on in our society, but it is not dead.

Kindness is the overflow of love. And the best example of kindness… love…was shown through our Savior Jesus Christ. He showed kindness to us even when we were sinners. Even when His creation rejected and crucified Him, He showed us that love mattered.

I hope that you are encouraged to find ways to show kindness today. Make kindness matter. Extend kindness to others, even if it doesn’t get received with appreciation.

I can bet that you will find people who really needed a smile, needed those encouraging words, or needed your help. Look for people who are different, and encourage them. Teach and prepare your children for the day they might encounter someone with differences. How will they react, and what will they say? You’re not just teaching them to be cordial, but you are developing and opening their hearts to love.

Teach them that kindness matters.

Show the world that kindness matters.

To read more writings by Amy, visit her blog, A Rare Jewel: Our Adoption Story.


About Sunnyhuckle

Sunnyhuckle is an online magazine dedicated to enriching the heart, mind, soul, and body through the sharing of stories, insights, thoughts, ideas, and perspectives.

There are 17 comments

  1. Karen D'Avignon

    Beautiful story and family! I’ve taught special needs children for over 40 years, and they really taught me more than I ever taught them. The smile of acceptance with a hand to guide them is a great first start.
    Your journey is just beginning, but it looks like you’re on a great path. Thanks for sharing and letting everyone know about how kindness matters. Karen

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill

    You know I love this and YOU! This is beautifully and powerfully written and so true. I’m grateful our babies have such a special connection. Please know all the Bevan kiddos LOVE your girl! She’s got 5 BIG fans in the Buckeye State! Xo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lisa Solomon

    Amy, I cried when I read this but my heart is full !!! I have a. daughter with CP and my mind was full of worry to bring her home ad wonder how she would be accepted. To my surprise, she went full steam ahead and never looked back. I have prayed for your daughter to have a wonderful family like yours from the first time I saw her on an adoption website. I have always remembered her and when I saw you had her, I just screamed with joy!! God is so wonderful to bring the best to you all !!! Such a precious girl given by him !!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Leigh

    Beautiful little girl! She looks amazing in that purple and pink.. Those are definitely her colors. Congratulations I know yall are happy!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Apryl hoot

    I hope to see updates on your wonderful journey. We have adopted six kids, five with special needs, so I’m always encouraged to see another special child come home.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tatia Pender

    Amy, I love your story. I love your transparency in the longing for a child, the sheer excitement of your “gotcha day,” and the instantaneous instinct to protect your child from the the unkind world. That unfurling fierceness to protect and provide comes directly from the Father. Only the God who gives His one and only Son can give you that “heart set” of unconditional, unending, and overwhelming outpouring of love for a child. The way you feel about Sue Ling is the way He feels about YOU as well. I smiled as I read your words, “she is fearfully and wonderfully made.” The thought came to me that as He was preparing a child for you, He, in His wisdom, was knitting together the broken hearts of Amy and Wilson for Sue Ling; He was preparing you for her. It all comes full circle. I don’t know you, however, I am so excited that the Lord gave Sue Ling such wonderful, caring parents. He knew what she needed. He’s that kind of God.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sue Powers

    I think of this song…to God be the glory, great things He hath done, so loved He the world that He gave us His Son!! May His Love guard,guide and protect you, your husband and your precious daughter, forever, AMEN!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Shan Crumpton

    Ms. Hillman, My mom saw your ” Kindness Matters” article on FB and made sure I read it. You’re so right, kindness does matter. But that wasn’t the first thing that caught my mom’s eye. The first was the picture of your adorable daughter and her hands. You see, her hands are like mine. My name is Shan Crumpton and I’m from Raleigh, MS. Forty-one years ago I was diagnosed with a rare syndrome called Carpenter’s Syndrome. Carpenter’s is a cranio-facial syndrome with many characteristics. The most noted characteristic is that a child is not born with a soft spot in the skull. The other is short hands and feet. The fingers and toes are extremely short due to only having one knuckle where everybody else has two. Carpenter’s is very rare. I know of about ten in the U.S. and only one older then me. So you see, kindness matters a great deal to me. I had many surgeries as a child and people could be cruel. People are cruel in the grown up world too. So I just wanted to thank you for loving your adorable daughter and writing the article.
    Shan Crumpton❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dena Hensley

    I am a nurse that takes of a 25 year old out on outings three days a week. He has a rare neuromuscular disorder, and people were skepitical at first of his intelligence of playing cards with him. It goes to show u that a person with a disability should never underestimated. He beats alot of players and i get such joy when he comes in first place and its all because we do go out in public and do not stay home and look at four walls in his room.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Patricia Luxon Fast

    Oh my what a beautiful and uplifting story, how wise and great is our God, he chose two people to be Sue Lings parents, that would love her unconditionaly ,nurture and show her in so many ways that she is a child of God. My prayers and good wishes go out to the Hillman Family. May God bless you abundantly, (Suffer Little Children To Come Unto Thee.)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Bridget Broussard LaRue

    Thank you for sharing your story and for reminding us that kindness matters. You are a beautiful family with beautiful souls. I hope that your story reaches out to many; as our world is filled with so much hatred. You’ve inspired me today to extend my kindness where it is needed. Thank you and best wishes to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Courtney

    She is SO BEAUTIFUL!! What an incredible story to share. My daughter was also born with physical differences (a skin disorder) and you encompassed so much of what we hope for every day: that kindness outshines any rude remarks or points from other people. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Robin Walker

    You are beautiful! Thank you for this wonderful, and inspiring story of your family. I am a teacher who is anticipating the beginning of another school year; being nice does matter and I love reminders of the impact it has on the lives of others. Sue Ling is a beautiful child who is lucky to have amazing parents like you!

    Liked by 1 person

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