For those of you who are my Facebook friends, you might have seen our big news. Our family has decided to host a 16 year old girl name Mariya from the Ukraine for 4 weeks this Christmas! She is an orphan, so we feel very honored to be part of giving her a taste of what Christmas is like in America.
New Horizons for Children is a non-profit organization that arranges these visits for Christmas and during the Summer to give orphans a chance to come to the USA. They have a few goals in doing this. Their biggest goal is to share God’s love for them. I can’t even begin to imagine what orphanage life is like, and the emotional turmoil they all must go through with not having a family to love and support them. Telling them about God’s love for them, and the value they have to him is an amazing opportunity! Also, another big goal is to let them feel the unconditional love that comes with a family. We hope to show Mariya what it’s like to be part of a loving family, and encourage her that we too find value in her life. Most of the children in this program don’t speak English, and those who do, speak a limited amount. We’ve been told that in the 4-5 weeks that they are here they can pick up as much English as they would back in their home country in 4-5 years! We’ve been told Mariya speaks some English, but we’re not really sure what that means. So, I guess we’ll be brushing up on our charades skills in the coming weeks :) Finally another very cool outcome of this program is the adoption of eligible children. Generally speaking, older children are not as desirable for adoption, and this program exposes these children to prospective families who may not have otherwise even thought of adopting an older child!
Unfortunately Mariya will not be available for adoption. We will only be hosting her. She turns 16 this month, and Ukranian law dictates that she will no longer be available for adoption once she reaches that age. My heart breaks for her, knowing that her birthday will not carry the same joy that a 16 year old birthday does here in the United States. I imagine her 16th birthday will be a sad day of loss. But, shortly after that we get the chance to love on her, and hopefully give her a really fun, relaxing trip here in the USA!
She will be staying with us from December 18th – January 15th. She will arrive with just the clothes on her back, so we will provide all of her clothes, shoes, toiletries, etc. I have to admit, I have zero idea what in the world to do with a 16 year old! I know God will arrange the details, and we’ll just have to do some shopping once she gets here and we find out her size. The planner, control-freak side of me has a hard time not having everything all ready to go once she gets here! But I imagine she might enjoy picking out things she likes, so we’ll just do our best to have a few things available for her and go from there.
It’s up to us to fund this trip for her. There is her plane ticket, of course, as well as program fees, visa, chaperone expenses, etc. All in all it will be about $3,000 for the whole thing. We are asking our friends and family if they would be willing to help us do this. David and I feel very passionately about orphans, and the idea of opening up our home for a month was something that both of us didn’t really have to think twice about. We realize that not everyone is called to do what we’re doing, but I do know that when Jeremiah’s adoption gets brought up in conversation I hear all the time from so many people that “they have always thought about adoption.” So I know there are so many other passionate people out there with big hearts, wanting to do something. If that’s you and you’re not in a place to be adopting, or hosting then would you consider donating to help us do it? Every little bit will help, $5, $10, $50…whatever you have to give will all add up and make it possible for her to come visit!
There are a couple of ways to donate. You can do it the old fashioned way and mail a check to the organization. It’s a non-profit so whatever you give is tax deductible and they will get you a receipt. If you’d like to do that:
Make the check payable to: New Horizons for Children and mail it to 3950 Cobb Pkwy Suite 708 Acworth, GA 30101. In the memo, please indicate that you’re donating for Mariya U159 or write our last name on it. That way they know whose account to credit it to.
The other way to donate is through PayPal. You can go through their website: www.newhorizonsforchildren.org. Look for the “More Ways You Can Help” tab. Hover, and then click on the “Tax Deductible Donation” option. It will take you to a new page and about halfway down, there will be a “Donate” button. Click it and you’ll be redirected to PayPal. It’s pretty self explanatory from there. Once again please either add a note with our last name in it, or mention the money should go to Mariya U159.
I’m sure as the date approaches I might be looking for people with clothes, shoes, winter coats, boots, etc to donate. And of course we would appreciate your prayers for Mariya. Pray that her heart is already being prepared for her time here with us, and for our hearts to be open to whatever her needs are so we can minister to her and love her in the way that she needs.
And for those interested, this is what she looks like:
The group that interviewed her learned that someone had recently decided to cut off all of the girls’ hair in her orphanage. They asked her about it, and her reply was, “it’s okay. It will grow back.” When I heard that, I felt convicted. This 16 year old girl, who has no family and lives in an orphanage appears to have a better perspective on what really matters in life than I do. It might look like we’re hosting her to teach her all sorts of things, but from what I can tell I think she will have a lot to teach us too. Look at her precious smile! I can’t wait to meet her!