46 days until the Orphans arrive.
That’s 7 weeks
or 1,104 hours
or 66240 minutes
or 3974400 seconds, but who said I was counting?
This week I signed up to help Host Ukraine print all the welcome letters that will be given to the orphans on the airplane to America. This assignment has been therapeutic for me as I feel like I’m sending my love in every fold, every seal of every envelope, sending our excitement and energy to help soothe them on the last leg of their journey.
I painted the room that Ollie is currently in, and this week Jake and Millie will move in. I will unpack the boxes that contain the furniture for Alina and we will be a step closer.
We sent the application for Youth Arts Program at Bates off for Alina, Bella, and Lori. We are praying for scholarships to help us with this cost, an additional $2,250. We still need $1,400 to meet hosting fees, not including any items she will need once she arrives. The fundraising has been a roller coaster of panic, frustration, and thankfulness. We are SO thankful to those of you whom have helped us get this far. We won’t give up.
Good news is our new dentist agreed to donate a cleaning and set up a payment plan for the dental work she will need. We so grateful for this community!
Host Ukraine still has around 30 children to place with host families. I spend a lot of my time lately (when not at work or rushing around doing the typical family related activities) talking with the other team members, feverishly trying to have no one left behind. One by one the photo list is getting smaller and families are stepping up to help these great kids have a relaxing summer.
Harvard’s Center for the Developing Child states: “The future of any society depends on its ability to foster the healthy development of the next generation. Extensive research on the biology of stress now shows that healthy development can be derailed by excessive or prolonged activation of stress response systems in the body and brain. Such toxic stress can have damaging effects on learning, behavior, and health across the lifespan.”
These children certainly meet criteria for “toxic stress” levels. Their emotional, intellectual, and physical health is impacted by their need to be constantly hyper-vigilant to survive. One summer in America with a loving family can put inches and pounds on these kids, a smile on their face, and a dream in their pocket.
One summer can change and orphan’s LIFE.
I can’t stop screaming from the rooftops, host these orphans. All they want is your love and attention for 11 weeks. The hurdles with raising funds will be worth it if I can change a girl’s life forever.
I’m not a spokesman, I don’t get paid to plug Host Ukraine. Actually NO ONE does. All the team members of Host Ukraine are just like me, like the lady at church, like the secretary at the doctor’s office, or the school teachers you know. Every one of the Team at Host Ukraine has their own lives, their own jobs, and their own struggles. None one take a paycheck, no one gets reimbursed for their effort in any way but by watching the faces of the orphans get off those airplanes. The faces of scared, excited, exhausted, BRAVE children that just flew halfway across the world, accompanied by strangers, to a land that is completely unfamiliar. The team watches as the photos are submitted weekly, and the faces change. They start smiling, they start relaxing, and they start GROWING. The team sees the faces of the children as they meet again August 30th, the sun-tanned faces of a wonderful summer that moved their world, taught them things they didn’t know existed, and opened the boundaries of their minds. The team watches as they cry and hug their families tight begging to stay a little longer, and the ones that cry only on the inside. The team hands out tickets and sends them through security, to return them to the orphanages from which we borrowed these sweet kids. The team then starts again, preparing feverishly for another hosting session, emotionally supporting the host families that have become part of a larger community, the Host Ukraine Family. They hold hands, and wipe tears as they watch failed adoptions, the fund raising, the waiting, the homecomings of successful adoptions, and the longing families that were forever changed by 11 weeks with an orphan. The Host Ukraine Team is a group of amazing selfless people that BELIEVE in improving the health and well-being for orphans. This is an organization of real people that live their mission and believe in what they do. This experience has been beautiful, and passionate and healing for me. It has given me a community of wonderful people to call my family.
I worry about our fundraising. I worry about adjusting to life with 6 kids. I worry about the judgement, and the comments, and the language barrier. I worry about getting every orphan on our list a family for this summer.
I am thankful that my worries are not even close to what the orphans are worrying about this very moment. I’m not worried about where my next meal will be from. I don’t have to worry if I will be abused or assaulted today. I don’t worry that there is literally no one in the world that cares if I live or die, no one that loves me. I don’t worry about how I will survive my future. I don’t worry if I don’t get placed with an American family I might end up at “orphan camp”, which is essentially a gangs of New York style summer place that the older kids are sent when they can’t be placed with a foster or host family.
I will continue to put all my energy toward improving the life of orphans. I hope to inspire other people to take up this cause, to push to get every orphan hosted, to find the funds to support a real summer with a real family being a normal kid. I hope all the people on Facebook that have the energy to share every viral post will rise and make saving orphans the new talk.
Talk, share, donate, volunteer.
There are many ways you can help.
Ask me how.