Rancho Santa Fe teen to hold benefit concert to raise money for adoptions


By Kristina Houck

Laura-Valentine Lock was adopted as a baby from China. Now, the Rancho Santa Fe teen is helping other children find loving homes.

“Whenever I think of kids without families in other countries or in our country, I just want them to be adopted into an amazing home like I was,” said 17-year-old Laura-Valentine. “That’s why I want to do this.”

To help support the adoptions of three young boys with Down syndrome, Laura-Valentine will perform songs from her first album, “My Sweet Home,” on Oct. 18 at Santa Fe Christian School in Solana Beach.

Money raised at the event will help the Francisco family in Oceanside adopt Noah, a toddler from Eastern Europe. The couple has four children of their own, including Andrew, a 6-year-old who also has Down syndrome. Funds will also help the Butlers in Virginia adopt Wilson from the Ukraine, and the Sellers in New Mexico adopt Endale from Ethopia.

“These families are heroes to me,” Laura-Valentine said. “They’re going all the way over there to bring these kids back.”

Laura-Valentine was adopted when she was three months old in China after being abandoned by her birth mother. Her adoptive parents, Ken Lock and Susan Sharpe, planned to adopt a baby girl named Feng LiLi when the baby went missing from the orphanage.

“I was blessed to be the second one picked,” Laura-Valentine said. “Adoption is such a blessing to the children. And my mom always says that it’s really a blessing to her — that she’s the lucky one for adopting me — so it’s also a blessing for the parents.”

In memory of the baby they never knew, Laura-Valentine’s parents started the Feng LiLi Foundation to help find homes for abandoned children around the world.

Sharpe said the organization has financially assisted adoptions of more than 100 children so far.

“A lot of people think that adoption is a last option when you’re unable to have your own children,” said Sharpe, who has an 18-year-old-biological son, James. “Adoption can be your first option. It’s been wonderful. She has changed our family dynamic.”

Laura-Valentine’s own adoption, as well as mission trips to orphanages in Uganda, France, India and Mexico, inspired her to help other families adopt children.

She raised donations to support the adoption of a young Ugandan girl during her Sweet 16 birthday and album release party in March 2012. Since then, Laura-Valentine has raised more than $30,000 to help with the adoption costs of seven children. She has also launched her own nonprofit organization, Laura-Valentine Ministries, to support the adoption of children around the world.

“If I wasn’t adopted, I would be just like those kids,” Laura-Valentine said. “They’re all such wonderful people. They need to grow up in loving homes, too.”

The concert begins at 7 p.m. on Oct. 18 at Santa Fe Christian School, 838 Academy Drive, Solana Beach. The event will also feature a raffle for a rescue puppy.

Tickets cost $10 per person or $40 per family at the door. Raffle tickets cost $10 or $50 for six tickets.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun and we’re going to be helping kids. Who doesn’t want to help kids?” Laura-Valentine said. “Our community needs to know that by helping out, they are saving three wonderful children and giving them an opportunity to be adopted into a home and to be loved.”

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