We have had some friends and family ask us, “Isn’t it cruel to bring this child here, love on her, and then send her back?” It was this question that kept Dirk and I from signing up early on but as we researched it, and talked with previous host families and prayed over it, here’s what God has shown us…
First of all, before coming here, these kids are just a number in a system. They are not seen or recognized as individuals, they are not held when they hurt, listened to when they need to talk, they are alone. The stats for crime, prostitution and suicide are staggering for Eastern European orphans, absolutely heart breaking. Between the ages of 15 &18 these kids will “age out” and be left on their own. Can you imagine going through life having never truly loved or been loved? Hosting gives us the opportunity to speak life into these kids, to let them know that they are worth more than the statistics, that they are loved unconditionally.
During L’s time here, we will provide for her, but we are not here to give her “stuff.” We are here to love her, even when she tries to push us away, even when she tries to put up her guard. We are here to hug her when she is angry and doesn’t know how to respond. We are here to pour into her.
After the five weeks, we will hopefully be able to keep in touch with L via Skype and email and may even be able to host her again this summer. We will hopefully be able to keep a lifelong connection with her, it’s not just a “love her and leave her” situation. Will saying goodbye be heartbreaking on everyone? Absolutely, love does hurt but the fact that she is even able to feel something is BIG. We often look at hurt and sadness as a bad thing but some of these kids have learned not to feel at all and so to know that they love enough to miss someone is making major steps of progress. These are life skills that she can take with her in her future relationships.
If you have the time, check out this blog post by my coordinator from New Horizons about how hosting changed one young man’s life and his decisions. The words spoken from one of his host families resonated with him throughout his life and then another host family that he met years later has now become his family even as an adult. I’m not defending what we’re doing because I know God is calling us to this and no defense is needed. I just hope that through this you too can see the value of hosting and if your heart is burdened for the orphan maybe you too will have a chance to host someday.
I’m no expert but I’d love to answer any questions that you have.