She’s gone. Our spunky, sassy, fireball of a girl is headed back to her home. There were a few rough days but there were some really great days, especially toward the end, as she started opening up and sharing with us her life, most of it just random stories, but it was a glimpse into who she is. And just as we all started settling in, she’s gone.
There’s an empty place at our dinner table, one cup of coffee to make instead of two. No more ridicule from her as I leave the house with my hair in a top knot and she laughs saying, “Alicia, your hair, you go to shops? Your hair!” No more telling her to be nice to Makenzie or hugging her goodnight, no more hearing her ask Eisley over and over if she is her best friend, no more belly laughing from the hilarious things she says or smiling as she mocks Americans, “My car is nice. I am nice. Take my pee-ture.” I miss her accent and her contagious smile that she often tries to hide.
I have had quite a few people say to me, “I could never do this because I would love the kid too much to send them back.” I’m not one to get offended easily but that offends me. First of all, that statement is flawed because you assume that every child wants to be adopted, that every child wants to stay in America with a loving family. You may be surprised to know that you are wrong. International adoption is so great and I am not downplaying it by any means, it is amazing, but it’s not for everyone, not for every family and not for every orphan, especially these older ones. In this hosting I have learned that orphans do not need “saving” they need unconditional love, they need family, they need Jesus. Sometimes an orphan is willing to leave everything that they know and love to come to live with a loving family in America but here is where hosting is so amazing…sometimes an older orphan does not want to be adopted in America, they love their culture and their friends, their school and their lives. American culture does not save orphans. Through hosting we had the opportunity to show L the love of a family, to love her unconditionally and now we get to support her from afar, pouring into her and loving her the best we can from this distance.
So while you may think that you could never love a child and then let them go, ponder this… God enabled our family to love L so much that we were willing to pour into her day in and day out and then say goodbye. He enabled us to love her so much that we are willing to continue to give her our all, knowing that we may get nothing in return. He enabled us to love her enough to watch our four year old sob as her “big sister” walked away from her, not sure if we will have an opportunity to see her again. He enabled us to love her enough that we “volunteered” for this heartache. We loved her BIG and we will continue to. We did all of this, knowing that she cannot be adopted and knowing now that she loves her home and right now doesn’t necessarily want to live in America forever. This wasn’t of us, this was of God, it was God’s love working in us. God taught us so much through this process and I know that as we take time to process this and to seek Him for our “next steps” that I will have more to share.
If you are thinking that you would like to host and are thinking that you couldn’t say goodbye, then I would encourage you to pray about where your heart is and ask God what He would have for you, because maybe you are the one who needs to learn a lesson in big love, just as we did. Today has been a rough day, and our hearts ache for L, not knowing what her future is and wanting the absolute best for her, but every heartache, every tired day, every dollar spent was so worth it!