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Printing, Packaging, Painting and Perseverating

42 days.

But I’m still not counting.

Today we finished painting and the three musketeers moved in together. Alina’s desk was put together and we are ready for the dresser to be picked up and moved in (thanks Jessie and Dave!). I started the first page of her scrapbook, so she can preserve every  minute of the summer that changed her life. I’m so thankful for this community that is making this amazing thing happen for this sweet girl. We are so excited!

Today we have 11 days until the deadline to sign up for hosting.

There are 32 kids left.

That’s 23 families short.

That’s 32 dreams that might not be answered. 32 kids that have uncertainty awaiting them everyday until their orphanage re-opens in August. It kills me to look at these faces and know they won’t have a warm bed or loving family to care for them, unless we get a miracle.

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Today I printed more welcome letters. I talked to families and printed pictures of the faces so excited about their journey. Letters from first time host parents and returning families. I printed and organized dozens of letters. Each one with the same excitement and love as the last. Every fold of every letter I reflected on the journey that each of the children will go through before the are handed the letter the families have so lovingly prepared, that I have been so honored to hold. Each child and their different journey that will take them all to Kiev airport, many for the first time in their lives. Each child hungry, nervous, and tired will be handed a brightly colored envelope; envelopes that I spent much of today trying to find, an envelope that said in an instant ‘you are so wanted, we are so excited’. I imagine how each child will open their envelope, and stare at the photos. Photos of the people that will be picking them up from a strange airport, in just under 9 hours. Some see familiar faces, but for many this is the first glimpse at the turn their journey is about to take. I prepared so lovingly the first glimpse many of these children will have at hope. They will go home from the airports, just like our Alina will, to families that have been excitedly waiting to give them a life changing summer. This is when their lives will really start. This is how we give HOPE not only to Alina, but to the other 80 children that have been chosen. As our children had started their journey and waved goodbye to the brothers and sisters that were left behind, so too do the rest of the orphans start their summer, continuing to be scared, alone, and hungry.

I can tell you for sure every member of the Host Ukraine team is working tirelessly to get theses kids hosted. Not one member is making a dime on this work. It is work done from the bottom of their loving hearts. They want to give these kids a summer away from the orphanage.

Just one summer? Statistics show that 80% of the kids that get a chance at being hosted, eventually get adopted by their host families or someone they meet during their stay. 80%. How can I look at these 32 faces on the photo list and know they won’t even be given a chance.

Should our reservations prevent a child from being given a chance? Can we give a child 11 weeks of our summer to learn, grow, relax, and have a chance that certain death might not find them when they turn 16?

If you could have an 80% chance of saving a child by letting them stay with you for the summer, would you?

If you say yes, you’re a host family, you just don’t know it yet.

$500.00 scholarships per child for each remaining child.

Seriously. 11 days.

Let’s make it happen. Let’s not wait to get a miracle, let’s MAKE a miracle.

Don’t let us leave any child behind this summer.

Look at these faces, and find it in your heart and your house to take someone off this list.

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I love Host Ukraine, and if you keep reading this blog, you will too.

<3 Steph