Day by Day

Well, another successful day with these sweet visiting brothers.

IMG_7538

Marissa and V. doing dishes this morning.

The day began with a big breakfast of eggs, hash browns, toast and juice.  They eat everything we put in front of them and usually take seconds. I’m very glad they are not picky eaters! Our daily meal routine of practicing language around the table continued with talk of colors and lots of laughter.  I would like to publicly thank the inventors of Google Translate. Things would not be going this smoothly without it!

IMG_7540

Elaborate LEGO castle by O.

After breakfast Jeremy split the six kids into three teams with various chores. Marissa helped V. unload and load the dishwasher. Jake helped O. clean a bathroom and take the dogs for a walk. After chores was some play time, which usually means LEGOs. O. is a master-LEGO-craftsman and has been working on one elaborate castle for hours.   But, when they are really lucky, they get some PlayStation time! All afternoon we were with the rest of the city at Target shopping before we came home to a hearty supper of spaghetti, fresh bread, and another Iowa Hawkeye basketball defeat.

IMG_7528

Gamers gotta game.

We are settling into a routine.  What we are all going to do next week when Jeremy goes back to work, I’m not sure. He has been a wonder to watch.  After all we’d heard about how orphans would not be accustomed to a father-figure and would be intimidated by the man of the house, these boys have been treated to a great example of a dad, husband, and friend. They’ve never seemed stand-offish or afraid.

IMG_7535

Playing our great new game Suspend by Melissa and Doug. Marissa, Jake, V, O, and Lizzy.

And speaking of people that completely amaze me–I would not want to leave out Jake, Marissa, Lizzy and Emily.  They are so welcoming, kind, and patient. They honestly put us all at ease.  I couldn’t be prouder of them all.  I love you kids. Thank you for sharing God’s love everywhere you go.

We are taking it day by day and minute by minute. We are so grateful for everyone’s prayers for our continuing patience and perseverance. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 2 Peter 1:5-7

The Adventure Begins!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b19/71537756/files/2014/12/img_5251.jpg

After a 3-hour wait at O’Hare we have finally met the boys! O. Is super tall! And they both just have the sweetest smiles! Now for the 4-hour drive home. We are getting by so far on Google translate & the universal language of Despicable Me.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b19/71537756/files/2014/12/img_5246.jpg
Lunch break at Cracker Barrel! Now we’re off to Terminal 5–International arrivals! Their flight is due to land at 2:30.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b19/71537756/files/2014/12/img_5241.jpg
8:15am The four of us are on our way to O’Hare and six of us will return. We are tracking their flight KLM 611 on our phones & getting so excited to welcome V. & O. to our family for four weeks.

For those of you who are wondering how I’m feeling after my bout with flu/really yucky cold, I’m certainly on the mend…but another day or two with broth and marathon episodes of Chuck would probably be in order if I didn’t have TWO SWEET BOYS TO MEET TODAY!!!

So rest & recovery will have to take place from the passenger seat!

Hope to post more later!

Room at Our Inn

photocred: dreamstime.com

At dinner one night in October, my husband announced that he wanted our family to do something radically generous this Christmas.  “That’s interesting,” I said, “I just got an email today that said the deadline for orphan hosting this winter is in a few days.”  Jeremy barely missed a beat, “Let’s do it.”

During Thanksgiving 2012, we first learned about a non-profit organization called New Horizons For Children.  NHFC arranges short-term hosting of orphans in American homes.  We’ve known for two years about the incredible blessing it is for these orphans to visit America and we’ve imagined what it would be like to participate in that kind of blessing. This year, we decided to go for it!

A bit about New Horizons according to their website:

  • NHFC is the largest, faith-based host program, facilitating orphan hosting nationwide. Since 2002, more than 3,500 orphans have been hosted through our ministry.

  • Without intervention, upon leaving the orphanage, 60% of girls will end up in prostitution, 70% of boys will be on the streets or in jail, and 15% will commit suicide within the first two years on their own.

The intervention New Horizons offers these orphans is at least three-fold:

  • Exposure to English is a great advantage for future educational and financial opportunity.
  • Observation of healthy family life to give the kids a framework for a better future family than the one they’ve known.
  • Possible introduction to a “forever family.”  Most host children are adoptable. Maybe by coming to America, they will meet a family who is ready to love them forever.

Any of these experiences are confidence-building and potentially life-changing for a child whose entire life exists within the confines of an orphanage.

There are several countries with whom New Horizons has a partnership to bring orphans to American host homes.  We chose a country in Eastern Europe.  It was heartbreaking to look through the photo listing and see so many in need of a loving home.  We finally decided on two brothers.

V. and O.

V. and O.

So, on December 17, 2014, we will welcome V. and O. to our home for four weeks.*

We are praying to be a blessing to these boys.  We are definitely expecting to be blessed by them.  We look forward to the joy that comes from sharing the love of Christ.  We are confident in receiving that joy because of Jesus’ own words as he describes the cyclical nature of joy and love:

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” (John 15:9-14) 

Want joy?  Then love.  What kind of love?  The sacrificial, “I don’t really feel like doing this for you right now” kind of love.  The making lunches, doing laundry, comforting when sick kind of love.  The give up the last chocolate chip cookie in the jar kind of love. Simply the lay down your life for a friend love.  V. and O. don’t know they are our friends, yet. But I already love them like crazy, pray for them daily, and can not wait to lay eyes on them and wrap my arms around them.

If you feel inclined, please pray for our family on this journey.  We want to truly be the hands and feet of Christ in these young men’s lives.  We want to impact them so that they do not become a statistic.

And ask yourself, “Could I use some radical joy this Christmas season?”  If so, I challenge you to find some tangible way to sacrificially love someone.  It might be a stranger, it might be your spouse. Be creative. Be a blessing.

Glad tidings of comfort and joy to you and yours!

~Loretta

 

*The agency rules require that we do not publicly post the children’s names, ages, or country of origin.