With the 80 degree days we have had lately, we are all asking ourselves if summer has really left us at all. Last night we turned on the heat, and later this week we will be wishing we had air conditioning again. The global climate change is undeniable regardless of your argument of cause. The leaves are changing, and I know summer is gone by because I have an empty bed upstairs, and endless video chat requests at 3am. (Apparently I have been unsuccessful in getting “time zone” to translate). Help Now
The kids are in the routine of school, planning for Halloween and the holidays to follow. Alina too is in her routine of video chatting everyday when she returns from school, while her siblings are getting ready to leave for theirs. There are subsequent waves of “Hi, How are you?” in English mixed with emoji’s, GIFs, and Russian on the side. It is a recipe I know well, one I consume daily.
Without fail I get a picture of her wrist, long and thin, adorned with a pink plastic bracelet. Alina isn’t one for gushing feelings, but when she’s missing home I receive this photo sometimes multiple times a day. This is her way of making sure this dream is true, that she did it. She went to America, she rode the “American Hills” (although she’ll never do that again), and she found the family she’s been searching for. It is like a dream, too good to be true, so she clings to the tangible memory of the best day of her life. Worn and tattered, my matching Funtown-Splashtown bracelet is starting to fail. I return a photo of my wrist, thick and tanned, back to her for verification. We love you, this did happen, and you’ll be home soon. She smiles with relief, as my worry increases with each new split in the plastic meant for one day, but being protected like a delicate flower, until she can return to us. The longing has it’s purpose to help us appreciate the situation, and the hard work will pay off when we reflect back on the path we take to get there. I’m looking forward to the future reflections much more than the present looking forward. Its always nicer to see your mountains in the rear view rather from the base at the start of the climb. I’m really looking forward to returning her to Funtown, best day of her life, repeated year after year. Keeping my focus on the end results help me in the struggle of getting there. This is what we’re doing it for. We’re taking one girl out of the grasp of human trafficking, into a family where all children should be. Donate Now
The last month has been difficult for our family for a variety of circumstance out of our control. The resolutions aren’t always ideal, but what is in this world. I’m so thankful to the unlikely friendship that has turned my adviser into a dear friend, one that has traveled rocky paths with me since before many of my children were here. No many people have always been present to hold me up, and in my darkest times, she’s always there. Sometimes your community finds you, through the most unusual introductions.
Friday we leave for NYC to celebrate Lori’s 12th year, we are thankful to have family there to celebrate with. I look forward to spending time with my cousin, whom has believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself and has helped us beyond patience.
This week I’ve been uploading all the weekly summer photos from the summer hosting session in to the Host Ukraine database. After my trying month it has been therapeutic for me to be given the privilege to view these and catalog the amazing transformations made in 112 kids. As I open each file I see the faces of the first time host kids, nervous, tired, hungry. The arrival photos of the families tightly smiling, full of hope for their summers. The emails continue with settling and routine. They tell stories of nutrition, dental care and seeds of love and hope being planted. They show the sun-kissed skin of the kids who arrived pale and thin, and their faces full of joy. It tells a journey of the relaxing of the families, the melding of their hearts, and the tearful goodbyes. It ends with the faces of the kids whose health had visibly improved, whose hearts you could see busting with thankfulness and hope, and the sadness that their incredible life changing summers had come to an end. I have been so honored to peek into the windows of some of the families that I am connected, to see their love growing, to video chat with many kids at Alina’s orphanage, and look around at the change in velocity that love has forced into motion. I stop and see around me the kids who found their families, the kids that were filled with hope that they might return for Christmas and find theirs, and the kids that are still waiting for their chance. The absolute motion cannot be determined, the smooth fabric of spacetime is constantly being distorted by the energy currents from each individual. We have a responsibility to our community to hold each other as high as possible so no one one feels like they’re drowning alone in the sea of international hosting and adoption. Only people familiar with this plight can understand how high the emotional tax is parenting across an ocean.
I have been especially thankful to our community whom keeps plugging away to help us get Alina home. While fundraising hasn’t gone as well as I’d initially hoped it would, we were able to send $1,000.00 to Host Ukraine today for our winter hosting fees. We’re not close to our $30k goal, but we’re over a third of the way to seeing her for the first family holiday season, and hopefully the last year that we spend separated by an ocean. We are so thankful to the community that reaches out to us, shares photos of Alina that their own children share. This world is very small, hold on tight to the people that hold you up. Next goal is raise $1,000 to submit before October 15th. If we can meet this goal, it saves us $250.00 on winter hosting. Please share our story and help us bring her home for Christmas.
Parenting with technology is challenging but opens so many avenues with a child so far away. I am thankful to have the ability to check every photo on her phone remotely, any time of the day and night. The insight I gather through watching her videos, looking at her photos, and answering messages at all hours, has helped me create a unique bond with a girl who came to us a stranger and left as family. I look forward to each communication, even if my enthusiasm is low as I mute the calls at 3am. We count own the days until Christmas visit, and we prepare our documents for the governments. No matter what we are doing, no matter how stressful it is, my heart is always somewhere in Ukraine.