Other than being the strongest woman anyone has ever known, Bev Lindholm was most known for music. She was an amazing musician and shared that gift with as many people as she possibly could. That gift even stretched across an ocean. You see… without Bev, Sweet Hope would not be where it is today. You might ask yourself what does music have to do with orphans? I’ll tell you the story.
In the early 90’s Bev asked me if I wanted to attend a women’s luncheon. She said her friend Bobbi had just come back from Russia and was sharing stories about her trip and this new organization called To Russia With Love. I happily agreed. I sat at the luncheon mesmerized by the photos Bobbi showed us and hearing the stories of the new post-soviet Russia. Bev was equally enamored. As time went on Bev became more and more involved with To Russia With Love and met a woman named Galina Potapova. Galina was the woman Bobbi had stayed with. Somehow these women managed to arrange exchanges with multiple groups from Khabarovsk to the US. They hosted business women, doctors and most importantly a choir.
The choir is what solidified my relationship with Galina. My sister-in-laws were more involved with either the business women or doctors (I can’t remember), but I traveled around with the choir. It was either 1994 or 1995. The choir was a group of teenage girls. In total the choir was co-ed back in Russia, but in that newly post-soviet era the Russian government was not allowing boys to leave the country for fear of them not coming back. They only let the girls go. Those girls sang wherever they could. They sang in a Burger King, on a ferry boat, at multiple schools, in the car, in the Capital rotunda and at the top of the Space Needle. I went with them as the “film crew.” To this day I can still hear their music.
When we made the decision to adopt from Russia it was truly only coincidence that the agency we picked only worked in Khabarovsk. That is not why we selected them. Looking back on it I know there was a reason for that. Galina and the other women we met during their travels to the US had become friends, especially of Bev. When we stepped off the plane for the first time in Khabarovsk Galina, Evelina (the former head of the children’s hospital) and Tamara (the choir director) were there to greet us. It was like coming home.
Without Bev I would not have such good friends in Khabarovsk willing to help us further the mission of Sweet Hope.
The Lindholm family agreed that if people would like to give memorial gifts in honor of Bev they could do so to the American Cancer Society or Sweet Hope. I had been thinking about that. Not so much that I wanted the memorial gifts to go to Sweet Hope, but how to honor the memory of a woman who helped me to create something that is so much bigger than all of us. Bev loved music and Bev loved children. Music is one of the foundations of the Russian culture. The children who live in the children’s homes don’t have access to full extent of their culture. The home workers and directors do their best to incorporate music into the daily lives of the children, but again, that costs money. I’ve proposed to the Sweet Hope board that we designate a special fund in honor of Bev. I would like a portion of our yearly proceeds to somehow include music. We don’t know how that will manifest itself yet. All I know is I can’t think of a better tribute to a woman who gave us so much.