A Child Before & After Hosting
During two previous summers we were able to participate in an orphan hosting program. The program works like this. An orphanage in a different country connects with an adoption agency in the US, where the agency works to find families in different states around the country. The families are educated on what to expect and are given adequate support to feel successful. The program is not designed to give a child a forever family. Rather it is set-up to give these children a wonderful summer or winter vacation away from the orphanage, away from a place that has stigmatized them and kept them wondering, "Am I worth anything?" Hosting an orphan is an outreach and a ministry where we share the love of Jesus with children who soon begin to realize they are lovable and that God has a plan for their life.
For us, before hosting we did not know what to expect. We excitedly prepared the room, the toys and the clothes, he or she would receive. We felt a bit nervous about having children in our home that do not speak English. Would we do a good job? Would he or she have fun? We will alway remember the way our hosting children looked when they arrived at the airport during our initial meeting. Similar to a deer caught in the headlights with fear and slight excitement, they stood their motionless, waiting for their hosting family to step forward and introduce themselves.
In the beginning of each experience, each child had a sort of emptiness or hollowness in their eyes. However, by about day three the children began to understand we were loving people and they were worthy of being loved. We watched children go from being extremely closed off, to dramatically opening their hearts and souls to God and to others. You may ask, "Why host a child if you are not going to adopt them?" Simple. It's reaching out beyond ourselves, being Jesus to a child in need and for that moment in time, loving without boundaries, without expectations of getting anything in return. It is reaching the broken heart and the painful eyes of a child, and replacing it with worthiness and value. All the children that left our home not only gained ten pounds, grew healthier/thicker hair and tan skin, they left with a spring in their step, joy in their eyes and God's love in their heart. For each child learned the most valuable lesson: they are lovable, they are highly valued.
Isn't that something we all hunger for, being valued? Won't you step out in faith, make yourself vulnerable and give your time to host a child in need? We are calling people everywhere to volunteer for an opportunity to change a child's life, step forward and watch your life be transformed as well. Across The World Adoptions would love to get you started and walk you through hosting a child. Visit them at http://atwakids.org