Just a couple of weeks ago–this was totally NOT on our radar. We had typical summer plans in the works–Richard will go to Zambia to do ministry work with Wiphan. The kids will go to Vacation Bible School and a sports camp here and there. And maybe we’d take a few little day trips on a last minute splurge.
Then I remembered learning about New Horizons for Children last year. Every year during the summer and Christmas holiday, New Horizons for Children brings over approximately 200 orphans living in orphanages in Lativia, Ukraine and Russia. Many of the children who are hosted are later adopted by their host families or families who got to know them and felt a connection to them while they were here. For some though, they are considered “host only” because they are aging out of the system OR they have a living birth parent who is unable to care for them but hasn’t consented to adoption. For many–this summer will be their first and possibly only experience in a family.
At first I thought this seemed a little cruel…meet a family–fall in love–and then you go back. I thought we would sponsor a child who was younger…so the chances of them being adopted were higher. But as we looked over the pictures, we actually feel in love with a girl who will age out of the system WHILE she is in our home–meaning when she returns to the Ukraine…she will no longer be able to be adopted and she will very likely be on her own. While I don’t know exactly why the Lord put this on our hearts, I have a feeling that this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship for our family to this sweet girl.
I can’t WAIT for her to arrive! And I feel like I’m a doting mom and want to brag on her already. While she IS able to be adopted right now–in order to be adopted she would need a family who is already home-study ready filing for their USCIS and starting the process now. So while it looks unlikely that she will be adopted (pray the Lord will bring a family or even move in our own hearts if it is His will!) She is AMAZING. She loves poetry–and recites in contests. She loves folk dance–and competes competitively through her school. She loves to cook–and for years has worked with the cooks in the kitchen at the orphanage…a little apprentice…making ravioli from scratch! AND…she loves to embroider and her embroidery has won awards!!!
She is so talented–and she truly does have such a hopeful future ahead of her!
YET–the statistics for orphans who age out of the system in this part of the world are not good.
According to How to Help Orphans states: “In Ukraine and Russia 10% -15% of children who age out of an orphanage commit suicide before age 18, 60% of the girls are lured into prostitution, 70% of the boys become hardened criminals. Another Russian study reported that of the 15,000 orphans aging out of state-run institutions every year, 10% committed suicide, 5,000 were unemployed, 6,000 were homeless and 3,000 were in prison within three years.”
This is the opposite of hopeful…with amazing gifts in embroidery, cooking, dancing and poetry…forgotten. I really believe the Lord has a plan for these children–and while the Lord doesn’t always make sense…while we have 4 kids 7 and under–we are going to change up our summer plans and bring home this precious 15 year old girl…who I know is going to probably radically rock our worlds once again.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the 31 Gifts Fundraiser! We raised almost $200 toward Tetyana’s travel!!! Thank you for joining us in helping us bring her to America to be in our home and experience family through ours. We are going to have a fun little yard-sale next month to go toward these unexpected summer plans and expenses. We have A LOT of stocking up to do before she arrives–and I’m thankful we will be able to send her home with everything we get for her as she will be able to take it home and keep some of it-and also share it with others in her same circumstances too.
There ARE a couple of ways you can help in summer hosting–there are a couple of ways to get involved and help orphans in this program with us…
1. New Horizons STILL NEEDS families who are willing to host a child! The travel expenses, Visa costs, etc is right at $3,000. It’s NOT too late to host! And you can fill out an application and host 1 child or a sibling group for THIS summer! Visit the New Horizons website here for more information: http://www.newhorizonsforchildren.org/
2. If this isn’t your summer to host, we would love to invite you to come alongside our family! The cost of travel alone is $3,000 for each child to come. The experience they have with family and the fruit that comes from it–are priceless. New Horizons has set up a site for families so anyone who wants to be a part can make donations to the host child’s travel through them–and because New Horizons is a non-profit any donation is 100% tax-deductible! If you would like to make a donation for Tetyana’s travel directly that is also tax-deductible, you can do that by CLICKING ON THIS LINK.
3. You can pray for us as we prepare to bring Tetyana to our home this summer. I know it will be very different having and entertaining a teenager, but I’m so excited to get to know this precious girl and can’t wait for her to be a part of our family this summer! I know there will be many challenges with language barriers and even caring for a new one during our summer–so please add us to your prayer list and that the Lord would be with us! We would love to have you join us by being a prayer warrior/partner in loving and ministering to this precious child with us!
4. Pray specifically that if it is the Lord’s will for Tetyana–because she will be 16 THIS July–please pray that if it is the Lord’s will for her to be a permanent part of a family here that a miracle would happen as the ball needs to be rolling for something to happen before she turns 16 in July. Pray if this doesn’t happen–that our hands would be forever open to be willing to be used however and whenever to care for this sweet one. Thank you.
And thank you to those of you who join us in serving her. Truly–we are the body of Christ.