For awhile now, Mark and I have had this deep, somewhat unnerving feeling that our very comfortable lives were going to get a shake down from God. I doubt that either of us knew which angle this shake down would come from, but we could both feel it coming. Fortunately, He went sort of easy on us...for now... and we are embarking on a wild adventure this summer!
Right around Easter time, my sister forwarded me an email from a friend of a friend with information about an orphan hosting program called "New Horizons for Children". I curiously opened the link, and learned about an amazing non profit organization that brings older children living in children's homes or foster homes in Russia, Ukraine, and Latvia to the US to spend approximately five weeks with a Christian American family. What could be hard about that, right????
I gathered more information, and one night Mark and I spent some time praying about whether God wanted us to be a part of this ministry. Quite frankly, the amount of money we needed to host a child was daunting. We didn't have that kind of money sitting around, and we didn't really see a way we could come up with the funds to participate in time.
I laugh even today when I remember what happened next! I went to bed thinking of ways we could fund raise enough money to host a child. I tossed and turned and fretted and prayed God would show me what He needed me to do. Ha! The next morning as we were waking up, Mark's blackberry went off. He received an email from our accountant friend telling us that our tax return this year would be more than she had anticipated - the exact amount we needed to pay to host a child! I love when God not so subtly reminds me that I am so not necessary - but that for my sake, He'll let me participate in His business!
We spent the next two weeks up to our eyeballs in paper work (it is not as much paperwork as adoptions require, but a fair start on that much...), and we prayed over a list of children approved for the program hoping God would guide us as we "chose" a child to host. We finally chose to host a beautiful young lady from Latvia named Sintija. She just turned 13, likes red and pink, animals, and cars. The car part sealed it for us I think - she may be too young to drive a car, but we must own just about every toy car ever made!
We have been busy preparing for Sintija's arrival on June 24th. We've purchased a few clothes for her (guessing at her size until we can see her), attended an amazing training in Atlanta with the NHFC folks, and we are getting ready to paint the office and turn it into her bedroom for the summer. While Sintija is here, we are required to take her to the dentist and the eye doctor, so we are making those appointments now as well. Besides all those preparations, we are preparing our hearts. It sounds like it will be all rainbows and warm fuzzies, but we know there will be hard times and lots of confusion (did I mention she doesn't speak much English and our Latvian is hilarious at best???). In light of everything, I definitely have moments when I fully realize how in over our heads we are. But as Michelle at NHFC reminded me during one slight freak out, God equips the called. He doesn't call the equipped. And in the practical sense, we are so not the equipped.
I will be sure to keep you all updated as we prepare to welcome our "summer sister", as the boys affectionately call Sintija. Please pray for us! I am not sure what God has in store for any of us, but Mark and I have agreed to just be obedient. (And I am trying not to panic...)