Sunday, September 13, 2009

We're At It Again. (We Think.)

I've tried (without success) to take a break from thinking and blogging about hosting for a couple of reasons. One, I realize that these kids are our passion, but not necessarily everyone else's so I try to find the balance of sharing my heart without forcing the "gag me with a spoon" response from others. Secondly, the hosting experience has been a difficult thing to process for me. I haven't landed at a place of sunshine and roses, and I am coming to accept the fact that I may not ever get there. I'm not sure I'm supposed to.

Although Mark and I went into hosting with no intention of pursuing adoption, we all ended up falling in love with this girl. No, it wasn't always perfect, and I don't want to give the false impression that there weren't tough moments, but I am telling you (as would anyone here who met Sintija) she was SOMETHING SPECIAL. She really was. I find myself feeling kind of sorry for the other host families that they didn't get to meet the "best" child in the program, although I imagine the feeling is reciprocated by most everyone who hosted! In the end, God opened our eyes and our hearts a lot more than we bargained for. But for various reasons Sintija is going to grow up in Latvia, not in our home, and while we cognitively understand why and while God prepared our hearts for that reality in many little ways, it still has been difficult to accept. I miss her.

A friend of mine kindly laughed when I told her I didn't expect to be as sad as I was when Sintija left. Apparently my friends knew what was coming for me as August 4th drew closer. But I remembered sitting in the training class as the New Horizons rep told us that many families really struggle with the good bye and life after these kids go back. I confess here - I felt pretty smug about the fact that it wouldn't be me crying in my soup. Sure, I knew I would miss whoever we hosted, but come on folks! When you signed up, you knew it was for five weeks! You knew the kids would have to go home! Get a grip!


So here we are. A month and nine days after Sintija returned to Latvia, and Mark and I still have a bit of an ache in our hearts. We are blessed to know she is safe, she is loved, and she is growing into an amazing young lady under the care of her foster parents. But I still miss her, and a part of me is insanely jealous that they get to see her grow up, and I don't. I'm still trying to close the chapter on our summer hosting experience (which I am slowly realizing may never happen...), and yet, somehow, I think we are getting ready to jump back in.

Yes. We are, in fact, crazy.

Mark and I have been praying about Christmas hosting for awhile. And I think we're going to go for it.

It seems strange to think about hosting another child when we still just plain miss Sintija. But as we talked about Christmas hosting, I told Mark that now we are in a place where we can't pretend these kids don't exist. The luxury of not knowing about them and their needs is gone, so as long as we can host, a "no" feels too impossible to give these children. I don't think that we will always host - I know there will come a time when we may not be able to due to finances (it costs $2350 to host one child), circumstances with our boys (although they are the biggest advocates of getting another "summer sister" for Christmas!), or God closing the door for whatever reason He sees fit.

But right now, we're in.

We could sure use your prayers.


Dan said...

Hi Ann,

I was listening to your story on the radio this morning, and I must admit, I was in tears. As a guy, I didn't think this was something I would be interested in hearing, but as I listened it was obvious that the hand of God was woven throughout your story, and your desire to inspire others to never stop dreaming and chasing after God was something my heart needed to hear. At the age of 5, I was placed in the foster care system, and remained there until the age of 16. I had a few abusive foster parents, and a few that sincerely tried. I was institutionalized as a child for a period of 3 years due to behavioral issues, and at the age of 17 was sent to prison for 10 years. While in prison, God sent a couple to witness to me, which resulted in my turning my life over to Jesus. After my release from prison, and subsequent graduation from Teen Challenge, I was legally adopted (the first adult adoption in our courts) by the couple that led me to the Lord. Mom & Dad, have been such a blessing in my life. Mom once told me, that as a little girl, she would tell her mother that when she grows up, she wants to have 6 children, and adopt 1. As you were speaking on never letting go of your dreams, it brought this to mind, and Mom did infact have 6 children, and adopted 1 (very large child) when in her 60's. Who would have thought. God, however, knew the desires of her heart, and even though she may have forgotten it, God didn't. Thank you for sharing your story, and for continuing to dream, despite what may come, good or bad.

Blessings, Daniel

SSL said...

Oh Ann!
As I drove to work this morning I flipped on Focus on the Family...I heard this very familiar voice and yelled out "Ann Kimmel"!!! You are back in my life!!! And now I can share you with my sweet daughter-in-law Caroline!!!!
When I was a young Christian I listened to you and read everyone of your books...the Lord used you in such a way I was able to watch, wait and see HIS mighty work being done in my life!!!

Thank you, Thank you for your faithfulness and your encourageing words and songs! I LOVE that Jesus brought you back into my life to share with Caroline!!!