Today is the day that our sweet summer guests arrive and we are so excited! We have their beds ready with gifts for them. We have fruit ready, in case they don’t like American food. We have translators ready on our phones because we know very little Ukrainian. Now if I could just pronounce their names…
Stanislav and Danylo are 8 and 6 years old. We learned yesterday that the 6 year old had just turned 6 a month or so ago and in doing so, secured his trip here. For some reason the Ukraine was turning down the visas of children younger than 6 this time around for the hosting program and so several children could not come. These boys actually have only been in the orphanage since last summer so they are relatively new to the system. They are in one of the better orphanages in the Ukraine that is actually Christian, so they do get to hear about Jesus at home. I don’t know any of the background that they came from, but the facilitators of the program said that many of these children come from alcohalic and abusive situations. Whatever the situation, we are super excited to have 5 weeks to love on them and enjoy them and pray that God will send them permanent homes, we hope right here in America.
We met several couples yesterday at the training that have been called by God to be involved with orphans. Several of them had adopted more than once. One family was hosting 4 girls through this program, already having 2 children of their own. Another family had 5 children and were hosting 2 other little ones. There were also 2 couples that were grandparents that are hosting children. The sacrifice of these people was motivating! I am excited to see all of them with their host children at the airport this afternoon at 4pm.
On the long road to adoption, full of uncertainty and waiting, this time will be not only good practice for us, but also a small amount of reprieve as we get to care for orphans directly and not just look forward to the day when we welcome our girls. We have no idea what to expect, but we know that God will be with us every step of the way. He has already been working to make this an easier transition. My dad and his wife came for an unexpected visit and she has been cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry while my dad has helped get and build furniture. I would have been crazy this week if they were not here. Also, we have the privilege of hosting one of the chaperones from the program who is bringing the children here and she knows English and will be able to translate and help the boys adjust to US craziness. We will have her here with us for a week, so even though at first the idea overwhelmed me, I am gratefully seeing it now as the hand of God. We could be bringing home two very homesick, tired, and scared little boys, so to have her here will lessen the strain a bit.
So off to the airport we go at 4pm! We will have our welcome signs and our smiles on (though we were told yesterday that all our smiling makes us look like “stupid Americans” to the children…lol. Being blonde, I am used to that anyway ;)). We are ready for the challenge that the next 5 weeks will bring. We have no doubt it will be life changing! And bottom line is that we only have this one life to live and it is passing us by fast, so no matter the sacrifice or the uncertainty involved, we are determined to make it count. These are some of God’s children that will not be overlooked or unloved. We have the privilege of being a part of their lives and we are embracing that. And I am praying with all my heart that God picks parents out for them while they are here :).
This hosting program from the Ukraine is done every summer and winter. There are over 200 children selected for the program, but only 29 had available homes this time, so if you are all at interested in this program, even to present it as an option for ministry at your church, please let me know and I can get you the information. The Homes of Hope website is www.hohinternational.com .
One last little note, we sent off our first phase of immigration forms to the government last week as I finally received our approved home study. Once we get US approval back, we can finally send our docs to China and I am hearing that once they get there in two weeks we will know who our girls are! Thrilled!! Please pray that the beauracracy hurries our paperwork through as sometimes this can take 2-3 months to get back (which throws our whole timeline off).
I will post pictures on Facebook later of the boys’ arrival! Yay!