I was reading "Hope Unfolding" by Becky Thompson this afternoon, and a quote really stuck out to me. "I really had no choice....It sounds easy and simple---but it was a truly, awesome feeling. And we are talking awesome as in...BIG.HUGE.SCARY." Are you feeling that nudge for something big, huge, and scary right now?
Let me encourage you to listen to that nudging in your spirit.
It may be to host an orphan this summer...that may be the reason that you are reading this right now, that you have gone back to this page over and over to pray for these children.
Whatever the reason, don't be afraid! Jump in!
So this will be a lengthy post, but worth the read. I have had a few honest, real friends ask "How can you send the child back after hosting?" "Isn't it almost cruel to bring a child over here, let them see the life we live, and then send them back?" Before my trip to Ukraine, I kind of stumbled over the answers. Just repeated what I had heard others say. Talked about the statistics for orphans once they age out. I have now seen for myself, the difference a hosting experience can make in a child's life. A life changing impact.
It was amazing to me that, as we walked into the different orphanages, that I could tell who had been hosted before, without being told. No they weren't waving an American flag or wearing an America t-shirt. It was the confidence that they walked with that gave them away. They would say hello to us, even give a little smile. They had experienced real love and acceptance.
The opportunity for an orphan to come to America is just that, and opportunity. A vacation. And this is how it is presented to them. An opportunity to experience America. Sure some of them find forever homes, but for most, it's a chance to feel and experience the love of a family. To be tucked in each night, prayed over, to be greeted each morning with "Dobroye Utro" (Good Morning). It is a chance to for the child to know an experience Christ through you. It is a chance for your family to experience putting someone else and their needs (not wants) before yourself.
Do most of them love it here and not want to return - yes! But they understand that it is two different worlds. Just like if someone were to give you and all expense paid vacation to Bora Bora....lodging in the most beautiful bungalow over the water.... meals made for you daily.... a maid. It will feel like heaven to you. An amazing break from the fast pace world you live in every day, but you would in no way expect them to pay for you to move there forever. You wouldn't resent having to go back to home. You would appreciate and enjoy the opportunity given to you.
I have also had friend asks why does it cost so much? Great question. Simply answered, they are orphans....everything must be paid and provided for them. Airfare, Visas, travel passports, chaperone to travel with them, donation to the orphanage. And then when they are here, they arrive with nothing but what they are wearing. Our average cost per child we hosts, ends up close to $4500 - okay, we might spoil them a little. ;) Those who know me well, know that I am not a spender. Couldn't even tell you the last time I bought a pair of shoes or purse for myself. But these kids are worth every sacrifice and penny saved. It brings me to my knees see how the Lord has provided and made a way for us to open our home to orphans. It is a faith walk, and I have loved seeing the growth in not only me but my husband and boys as we trust Him. It is a mission trip in your home.
When a child is hosted, they go back with more confidence and they know that they are loved. That someone cares for them and is praying for them. Someone is there to help them, encourage them and support them. Tanya , who we hosted at Christmas is a great example of this. For us, she was host only, but I am still daily in her life. Encouraging her from afar (online). She wakes up to a message from me each morning telling her Good Morning and that we love her. She writes to me and tells me she's sick, because she knows I care. There is someone in her world now that she knows, loves her.
I just felt it on my heart to write this post. I know many of you have wondered these same questions, yet don't ask. Please feel free to ask. And if He presses on your heart to open you home to an orphan, there are always children waiting, ready to receive your love.
If you would like to help us bring 2 orphans to spend summer with us, please visit https://www.youcaring.com/bogdan-zhenya-orphans-from-ukraine-love-hope-family-537392 Or check out our popcorn fundraiser and get a fun snack for your donation.
You can also choose a different child to provide a grant for. Children that have grants are more likely to be chosen for hosting.
Would you like a tangible way you can impact an orphan's or underprivileged child's life in Ukraine? One of our families is in Ukraine right now adopting their host son and will be taking gently used soccer cleats to the children at her son's institution. Here at the children receiving the first set of donations today!
As long as they are gently used-they will look brand new after being cleaned and having new laces put on! Look at the faces of these sweet children. The knowledge that they matter, that they are important, and that someones cares-that is immeasurable.
The biggest needs are for boys/men's size 7 and above!
If you would like the mailing address to mail a pair of cleats to-please contact us! If you are local to north Texas-contact us for a dropoff location. Thank you for your amazing hearts for these kids!
We were ready to get to work, but there were some things that were still holding us back. We were a pretty good family—very typical in so many ways. We were a little too plugged in to media, especially social media, and a little too unplugged from each other. I was not communicating well with my wife on many occasions and was getting too frustrated too easily with my children over things that really should not have mattered much. I mean, how egregious is it that my daughters did not put their shoes away like they were supposed to? I would hate to see what my record looks like for the same crime! I was in a rut; my family was in a rut, but no matter how strong my desire to change, I just couldn’t get out of it.
That is when God began remodeling our family. My wife came home one day from a play date with the girls and several other families. They had gone to a place local to our community who is heavily involved in finding ways to end global hunger and poverty. All of my girls got to tour and see how other people live in all different parts of the world, and they came home different, humbled. With what they had seen fresh on her mind, my wife reminded me of a host program that we had learned about from a friend a few years prior which involved bringing children from orphanages in Ukraine to America for six-weeks in the summer. Over a few days, we discussed the possibility very seriously of bringing over a child and advocating for them to find an adoptive family. Advocating was not the ultimate goal of where we wanted to be one day, but it was something we felt that we could do right now with all of the other stuff going on in our lives.
How we got from advocating for ONE child to advocating for THREE children is a completely different story!
So, what did God teach me from this experience?
He taught me how to cherish my wife more by watching three strangers fall in love with her in a matter of weeks. It reminded me of all the things that caused me to fall in love with her in such a short period of time after I met her. She is an amazing lady, and God used these children to teach me how to cherish her.
He taught me how to be a better parent to my children, as I watched U parent her brothers. It was humbling and inspiring to watch her wrap her arm around M and gently and lovingly correct him with a soft word spoken right into his ear. I, on the other hand, am the loudest person on the planet, but my method of “just raise your voice louder and speak each word with emphasis and maybe they will respond” does not work. What does work (because I saw it work, even on a very active child) is the gentle correction of a parent who has made sure the child knows he / she is loved above all else.
He taught me to be given to service, as I watched three siblings take turns serving each other at the various meals / snacks throughout the day. I watched three kids come into my home as strangers and serve their way into the hearts of my children, my wife, and especially me.
He taught me about self-sacrifice as I watched V give up whatever he had in his hand if it would make the person next to him happy—his glass of orange juice, his plate of food, the derby car he had built for himself to the kid who didn’t have one. It was amazing to see such sacrifice in such a young heart, but he was not lacking anything in his life because he shared his things. On the contrary, there was more joy in that boy than anyone in our home all summer long.
Many people have shared how much they have loved following our story. They have said they share it with anyone who will listen. Some of the stuff people say, though, is really hard to hear. “You guys are an amazing family.” “I am so proud to call you my friends.” It is hard for me to hear because I do not think that we are an amazing family. God is amazing! And, He did what was necessary to completely remodel our whole family to teach us who we ought to be. We had a lot to learn. I had a lot to learn.