Today the children who spent four weeks in the USA through New Horizons for Children are returning to Russia, Ukraine, and Latvia. Having been through airport good-byes with the hosting program three times, I can tell you...there is nothing easy about this day for the families or for the children. There is a wide variety of emotion for everyone when it comes to the airport good-byes. Readjustment to "normal" life isn't easy for the children or the families, but there is also the longing for the safety of "normal". The children get to return to a place where the food is familiar and the language is native!
Hosting isn't always a romantic, beautiful experience. It is four weeks of choosing to love someone, to accept them as your own, and to teach in little moments about God, family, love, and trust. The reassurance of fruit from hosting doesn't always grow while the children are here. Every family and child have difficult moments in the weeks of hosting. People often ask us what good it does for families (especially families with children) to open themselves up only to have to say uncertain good-byes. After our failed adoption (we met I. through hosting) many people have wondered if we are still in favor of hosting. Do we really think it is good for families to open their hearts and homes when we have seen and experienced the pain that can bring?
Yes. We do.
Let me be honest. There is nothing that has been easy about the last three months in our family. We are all back into the "normal" routine, but none of us - the boys included - are the same. In some ways, we are broken. In many ways, we are stronger. Selfishly, hosting has been one of the most defining experiences for our family. We've had to decide who we really are, what we, as a family, are called to do, and what we are willing to lay down to be obedient. Are we amazing? Nope. Not at all. There is nothing spiritually spectacular about us. Are we different now? Yes. It has been a long, hard, tear filled road. But, praise God, we are different.
Today I am thinking about all those families standing in the halls of airports hugging their host children good-bye. These past four weeks have probably been filled with laughter, frustration, tears, and wonder. Every family's takeaway from hosting will be different.
Every family will be forever different, too.