The Benjamin Andrew Lance Foundation is more than just a Foundation. It’s a story. A story of tragedy turned into hope. Today we want to share a glimpse of that story as we introduce you to an inspiring family, foundation and the young man who started it all.
Benjamin Andrew Lance, “Andy”, was born in 1984 in Rolla Missouri. A blonde-haired, beautiful firstborn baby boy. His dad, Steve, had a busy career with Chevron that started in Missouri and eventually allowed the family to live all over the world, including Bangkok, Thailand.
Andy had just graduated from high school when the rest of the family (His parents and two sisters Amanda and Rebecca) relocated to Thailand and remained in the States to complete a Bachelor’s in Nursing on his path to becoming a Nurse Anesthetist. However, he did join the family in Thailand during his school breaks.
While on break, Andy began to join his mother, Melodie, at an orphanage she volunteered at regularly. This is when Andy’s heart for the orphan became very evident. He was able to visit twice per year and he spent much of those visits playing with and caring for children at the Pakkret Babies home.
Melodie recalls Andy saying “If every family in our community would adopt one of these children, this place would be empty!” Andy felt strongly that children needed to be in loving, Christian homes.
Andy was a positive and kind presence in the orphanage, and everywhere else for that matter! There was one little girl in particular, Napassorn, who connected with Andy in a special way. Nappassorn was about 6 years old when she first met Andy. The orphanage staff needed assistance putting on her braces and Andy was just the guy for the job. They bonded quickly after that moment and Andy returned to spend time with her as he was able, even making quick phone calls from the States to sing Jesus Loves Me.
Andy taught Nappassorn that Jesus loved her. Not only with words, but with actions. Eventually Nappassorn was matched with a family in Kentucky.
Andy had the opportunity to see Nappassorn with her forever family a short time later. Melodie recalls how emotional he became after seeing her home, thriving and no longer pulling herself around on a concrete floor. Once again, he spoke about the need for children to be in loving, Christian homes. Today Nappassorn is 18 years old. She is educated, loved and has the tools she needs to live a full life.
Tragically, In 2008 Andy passed away due to a weather-related car accident. A bright, shining light in this world too quickly extinguished. But in the grief and sorrow of the aftermath Andy’s family remembered his constant love for the orphan and his desire to see each child become part of a family.
In Thailand they were exposed to the difficulty and expense of preparing a child’s file for adoption. They saw first hand the extended wait this caused at times. They also realized that funding was part of the issue. In their son’s memory, Steve and Melodie decided to start a foundation to address and fund this particular issue.
Steve and Melodie spoke with their pastor, Kevin Donaho and his wife Rachel. They had recently completed the adoption process through America World. Kevin encouraged Steve and Melodie to speak with AWAA and establish a fund with their partnership.
So much of what Andy brought to light during his time in the orphanage, the need for loving Christian families, aligned with the core goals of America World.
Eight years later, it’s Andy’s birthday week. A fitting and appropriate time to celebrate his life by unveiling this foundation and making it available to those who also feel that paperwork, or expense of paperwork, should never make a child wait longer than necessary for a family.
The Benjamin Andrew Lance Foundation was established in Memory of Andy. A passionate, kind and extraordinary young man who believed children belong in families. His foundation will provide funding and ease the financial burden on orphanages as they complete the necessary investigations and medical appointments for children waiting to be adopted.
In honor of Andy’s birthday we encourage you to rally around this beautiful cause. In honor of a life that was spent loving others.
Visit the website here and select the Benjamin Andrew Lance Foundation from the designated fund options to give in Andy’s memory today.
The Lance Family with Andy in 2003
Steve and Melodie today with their daughters and son-in-law