Whew… what an incredible week. Yes, a hosting experience that was supposed to last 5 weeks actually packed itself into one. It was completely nothing that we expected, but nonetheless we have been forever changed by it.
Two or three months ago I began receiving emails from our adoption agency advertising the hosting program. Something would prick my heart at these emails, but I would delete them all the same. With as crazy as our life is lately, I was not interested in adding to that. So even though there was an inkling that we should step up to the plate, I did not feel we were in a position to do so. David, on the other hand, had no such qualms. He called me up one day and asked if we could host 2 children from the Ukraine. Despite my hesitation, I agreed. If David gets this serious about something, it is usually a God thing. If he actually does all the work to get it set up and ready to go, we call it a miracle…lol.
One week before the children were to arrive, David called again and asked if we could also host one of the chaperones for a week. I really felt like he might be trying to kill me off for the insurance money, but he had basically already volunteered, so once again I agreed. Although I was excited about the opportunity to serve God in this way, I was also scared to death about how in the world I would keep everything together even for 5 weeks. Nevertheless, the time arrived for us to meet these precious people from the Ukraine.
I will never forget that day at the airport. We waited excitedly to see a group of 29 children as they entered the US. I was even more excited for a couple of host families that we met who were actually in the process of adopting some of the children that were coming. One lady was to meet her 2 girls for the first time. At 14 and 16, these girls were about to be let out of the orphanages in the Ukraine and thrust into the society of sex trade and womanizing among other things. They were absolutely gorgeous and they are fitting in well with this family. In the midst of all of these children were Danyk and Stasik. Two little shy, cute boys who hardly hugged us and talked even less. The older one seemed to be a little more comfortable, but the younger one was emotionless. I was completely heartbroken for them. They actually live in one of the better orphanages in the Ukraine. It is a Christian place where the kids live with foster families in apartments. So these boys were being pulled away from the only “family” they know.
The ride home was fine as the boys were too tired to do anything but sleep. It wasn’t until the next day that we found out that these little shy angels were actually incredibly hyperactive little boys. The little one, in particular, had to be watched every second. And then he started having discipline issues. We would tell him to do something and he would do exactly the opposite and laugh about it. We would tell him not to do something and that is exactly what he would do with a smile on his face that said, just try to stop me. We could not control him in timeout and he was biting and hitting and throwing things. Despite my heart for these children, I called the program director and told her that we needed help. Even Olga, the chaperone, was having no luck with him. So we took him to the male chaperone for the night to see if he could get him under control. I also called David and told him to get ready to work from home for the next 5 weeks. We were both at a loss of what in the world God was doing. When Stasik returned he had a run in with David, who could also not control him, so we called again and the director thought it best to look for a backup host home. She said that this was the first time since the inception of the program that they had had these type of issues. Usually children with such behavioral problems were filtered out before they got to the US. Stasik had also only turned 6 in May and almost missed the age cut off for his visa to come here, but had squeezed through. What was God’s plan here?
Before these children got here, my only prayer for them was that God would give them a family. Many people said that he would put them in our family. In my haste to figure out what God was up to, I had never considered that He might have only used us to bring these kids over here. The guilt at not being able to manage them was overwhelming. My thoughts ran to the people who would happily tell me, “I told you so”, and those that would question our own adoption process in China. All of this on top of the fears of how these boys would handle yet another transition. This was not their fault. I felt that even Stasik’s behavior was not entirely his fault. I was running the gamet of emotions while I was working all day long just to keep everyone busy, fed, clothed, safe, and happy.
Stasik’s behavior improved slightly the last two days he was with us and we found him to be a smart and funny child, but the plan had already been set in motion. The program director had found a back up host family in NC who were missionaries. These people were considering adopting. Not only were they considering adopting, but they would have participated in the hosting program and probably even picked out Stasik and Danyk if they had not received the paperwork too late. They have 4 children, but there only son had been begging for 2 brothers. I won’t even go into all the amazing ways that God showed that this was His direct working, but let’s suffice it to say, it was one step removed from writing on the wall.
So yesterday, we met this beautiful family in Augusta to drop off the boys with them for the remaining 4 weeks of the program. My heart was still very heavy as Danyk had cried himself to sleep after we told them. Evidently both boys had been under the impression (not sure from whom) that they would be staying with us forever…that we were their permanent home. They didn’t even know that they were going back to the orphanage in 5 weeks. Wouldn’t that have been a rude awakening. In one short week they had come to love “their new family” and we had come to love them too. Even “God” transitions are not always easy.
I am so thankful for the way that our Father looks after all of His children. I am overwhelmed with the knowledge that even the smallest and seemingly forgotten orphan is a treasure in His sight. Oh, how we take for granted the amazing love and faithfulness of our God. This experience has changed me forever… it has changed our family forever. We are reevaluating and rethinking a good many things about our own adoption and ways that will change our lives. Now we are able to prepare to be more prepared! Some people might look at this situation as a waste… we look at it as an investment. We just learned more in one week then we probably have in two years. Not only that, but our prayer for these boys may be getting answered and if they go back with a waiting family, it will stand as one of the greatest accomplishments of our lives.
We are in West Palm Beach now, taking the vacation that we had planned to do with the boys. Though I miss them, I am thoroughly enjoying resting and recuperating. The host training manual made it clear that we were to send back with our orphans everything that they came with. It noted not to even keep one small thing to remember your child(ren) by. There was no need for me to keep anything… I will never forget Danyk and Stasik, precious treasures of a huge God!