Friday, June 7, 2013
Many of you have asked/are asking "what is orphan hosting?" So here is a video that seeks to give some insight, but the really cool part is that Elizaveta is the little girl holding the guitar and is featured again at the 2:45 mark on the video!
Thursday, June 6, 2013
FROM THE SUMMIT TO THE VALLEY . . .AND BACK
Ever had your heart go from being crazy excited to completely broken and then back to restored hope and excitement in the span of about three days? That’s where we’ve been this week.
As many of you know we have been excitedly preparing for Alina to come and spend 5 weeks with us this summer and all seemed to be going well until we found out that she broke some rules that caused her to lose too many points (their system for determining privileges in the orphanage) to be allowed to come. The good news is that Alina is safe and that she is back on track – our hearts long to meet her and to have the opportunity to show her the love of Christ through a family that will receive and support her. Needless to say that news was devastating – many tears and some really difficult feelings were expressed. Emma said to us that “we just didn’t pray enough” and Eliza remarked that her “heart was broken into a million crumbs.” We have been reeling from this series of events!
We went from the summit of that mountain to the valley below in the course of one phone call.
Then what came next was totally unexpected and somewhat confusing. New Horizons for Children told us of another little girl who had been hosted last summer with her brother, that was longing for an opportunity to return this year. Her name is Elizaveta (we aren’t sure exactly how to say it). She is 10 years old and while it wasn’t our initial plan, we are welcoming this new opportunity to love this sweet girl and we are once again heading to the summit! We'll post her picture ASAP.
First we need you to pray! Pray that Alina will continue to walk in obedience to the rules of the orphanage system and that even now she will encounter someone who can show her the love of Christ in a tangible way! Pray that Elizaveta will have an open heart and will be just as excited to come as we are to have her be with us. Pray that all of the final planning and adjustments go smoothly – government paperwork, airlines, and other stuff needs to happen quickly.
Second, we have been given a matching gift of up to $1,000. That means that for every dollar you give we get two dollars toward our hosting fees! We need to do this in the next ten days. That’s an average of $100 per day and we are simply trusting that God will lead some of you to give in order to meet this goal. All gifts given through the link on this blog are tax deductible so please use the link above and go to our active.com site and follow the prompts (we know it has Alina’s name, but it’s too late to change that part). If you’d prefer to write a check you can do that too, just contact us (email, phone, Facebook, Twitter, skywriting, carrier pigeon, etc.) and we can tell you how to make sure we get the credit for the matching gift and hosting fees.
Finally, we have several items that we will be trying to send back with Elizaveta when she returns to Latvia. More on that later – we’ll post an update or two this weekend.
Thanks for checking in!
Frank and Gina
Friday, April 19, 2013
So often we have been and are asked what exactly we are doing and why. I recently saw this picture on the New Horizons page and thought I'd share. I know it's dated 2010 but the reality of what happens each year on August 31st hasn't changed.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
So basically it's been a while since we've done anything here. But in light of some events over the past week we need to send out a quick update.
Let us begin by telling you that we are still hopeful that the Taiwan adoption program we are a part of will open up soon and that we could see that adoption realized. We are still 9th on the waiting list, but until our agency finds a partner agency or receives its approval for international adoption, nothing more can happen. We don’t have any firm numbers, but we are likely looking at a minimum of 18 months before we could bring a child home, best case scenario.
So that quick update brings us to the more pressing issue of this summer. We were definitely not in the “market” to pursue anything like this, but on Saturday we came across a little girl named, Alina. Needless to say this was totally unexpected and was/is one of those God moments. Our hearts were drawn to this girl from the first moment we saw her. Alina is a 13-year-old orphan (14 in May) from Latvia (former USSR) and already has a unique place in our hearts. So basically we called Saturday evening and talked with one of the coordinators at New Horizons for Children and got some information about Alina, the program, and a few more bits and pieces. Long story short we said “yes,” and Alina will be here at the end of June and stay for about 5 weeks.
I know you’re probably thinking this is crazy – she’s 14, we already have one adoption in process, we don’t know anything about her, etc. We think it’s crazy too, but we are convinced this is God’s will and we must be obedient. Christ’s promise not to leave us as orphans in John 14:18, along with His command through James in James 1:27 to care for orphans, is a clear call to believers to hold out hope and get involved when and where they can.
As we have been doing some research this week, we have found a number of staggering statistics about orphans in Eastern Europe from the U.N. (there are some competing numbers that are even worse, but we’ll go with the most conservative of numbers). First, at least 60% of girls leaving orphanages will be FORCED into prostitution and sex trafficking. Second, about 15% of orphans from this area will commit suicide in the first two years after they age out of the state’s care. Third, it is reported that between 700,000 and 4 million children and women are forced into sex trafficking for use in brothels and pornography each year. Most of them bought and traded for use in the European Union and the United States. As a daddy with two girls this makes my stomach churn and my blood boil!!!
O.K. Now What?
Alina, like so many of the other girls in the orphanages, has no family that is able to care for, support, or protect her. That’s where WE come in! This program is a hosting program. Basically think about the foreign exchange student programs and that’s what we do, only we pay for this one. Alina will come to our home around June 28 and will be with us through the beginning of August. During that time our job is to simply show her the love of Christ.
Alina will arrive with the clothes on her back and that’s it. At the end of the time she’s with us, we are allowed to send her back with one backpack and one suitcase and I presume that we’ll make sure it’s about as full as it can be. During that time we will want to spend as much time as we can encouraging and sharing with this sweet girl. We truly hope that you too will be a part of this experience. From what we can tell her greatest need is to meet Christ and everything else is just an added blessing.
It would not be honest of us to tell you that we wouldn’t like to begin adoption proceedings right now, but we know that the right first step is to simply take our time and let things develop this summer. By the way, approximately 80% of the children hosted through this program are adopted by the host family or someone else that gets to know the child through the experience – so one of you could actually be the crazy ones here!
We really covet your prayers over the next few months as God prepares our hearts and Emma’s and Eliza’s hearts for the experience. We are asking God to use us as the conduit of His love and grace to Alina, whether that is for 5 weeks or for the next 50 years – To Him be the Glory!!!
One last thing, here is a picture of Alina.
Frank and Gina