We thought about it for a few minutes when we got the email from Living Hope about their new orphan hosting program. And, then we moved on. It was a neat thing; it would be great for the families who could do it. We weren’t one of them. We had a lot of reasons not to:
1. It’s our first year with our four kids in school full time which means my first year to be doing more outside the home and actually get some things done.
2. We travel a lot, like a lot a lot. In fact, my husband had a trip to China scheduled over the hosting time.
3. We had just finished hosting a whole family in our home last year. That experience did leave us with some empty room, but it also left us with the knowledge that hosting is not all easy.
4. It cost a good bit of money to cover the child’s visa and travel and subsidize those of the chaperones as well.
We didn’t think about it again until late October. Living Hope had hoped to bring over 20 kids but since it was the first time they were doing this, they were only at 11. A flurry of emails went back and forth, and lots of conversations happened which four children became a part of. They looked at pictures and subsequently begged us to say yes.
Mark and I asked ourselves the question, “Why would we not do it?” and all of the answers that seemed to roll off our tongues months before in a neat little list could be summed up with one answer, “It would be really hard.” And, we just decided that that answer wasn’t enough.
1. Our kids were excited about making our Christmas traditions be about joy for someone other than ourselves. Their words.
2. The decision became less about if we were able to do this and more about if we were willing to do this.
3. We had been just talking about the lesson we had been learning about how we can only be filled up again and again when we are poured out. Somehow, whenever God has us learning a lesson, He gives us lots and lots of practice to learn it.
4. That cost that had seem daunting had been provided, nearly completely provided, down to our social worker even offering a few hand-me-downs the little pumpkin could use when he arrived with only the clothes on his back. (Yup, couldn’t even use finances as an excuse.)
So, we kinda closed our eyes and held hands and said yes; together as a family, we said yes.
We knew it would be hard. It’s been a long time since we did this. Our life is really different now. We’re in a good parenting season right now. He will be in such shock. What will he be like? How much good can we do making him transition to here only to say goodbye and send him back?
But, our kids kept reminding us as we waited for his arrival of why we said yes. And, we needed those reminders. They promised they’d help. They promised it would be their ministry, their way to serve, their gift this Christmas to offer the King. They wanted a little one around here who they could help take care of and help find a family for. They wanted a way that they could be a part of significant work. They were compelling, though Mark and I wondered what that would end up actually looking like in all practicality.
Nearly 3 weeks into the adventure, let me give you a few glimpses of what it has looked like.
Hosting programs are costly — for children and for host families. They transition here and have to transition back. They are brought into unknown families speaking an unknown language. We recognize how hard these programs can be on children.
But, the blessings? Oh, the blessings. They so far outweigh the costs. Because these hosting programs work, friends. They work to make waiting files into a waiting child. They work to make what looks so insurmountable on paper something doable. They work to make an orphan into a beloved son or daughter.
Interested in learning more about becoming a host for the next group of children coming this summer? Email Sarah at Living Hope to learn more.