As I began looking forward to this summer I naturally started looking at pictures from last summer to see where we have been. I can’t believe what a difference a year has made in our family. First there was Michael – he was missing his top 2 teeth and looking cute as a button. He was also looking forward to his 1st time at church camp, and I was mourning the fact that he was going (some things don’t change!)
Charity had super long hair and was still spending a lot of time in that preschool mentality. She was dreading reading and we were worried how she would act for her 1st grade teacher. (Unfounded worries, thank goodness! It was a great school year and she loves to read now!)
Perhaps the biggest difference was that we were missing two yahoos – and didn’t even realize it. We decided in early July 2008 to host a little boy from Ukraine and he changed our lives.
There’s no way to fully explain how we feel about our Andriy (even though he probably has an Italian name now). We loved him dearly and I still miss him and think of him often. I’m sure I’ll always wonder how he is doing, if he is happy and most importantly – if he knows Jesus. I would love nothing more than to see this little guy in heaven with me. At the same time it breaks my heart to pieces to think of never meeting Joseph and Jonathan. I am their mom in name, function, and in my heart. It seems like they have been with us forever. (Just don’t ask where the accents come from and I can’t explain the lack of baby pictures: ) ) It is obvious that God had these little ones picked out for us from the get go and he used our wonderful hosting experience and the heartache that followed, to teach His fearful daughter (that would be me) to just hold on to him and let go of everything else. What a lesson and what a blessing. So, one year ago we began to think of our family this way:
And today it looks like this (only more tan and with shorter hair on the boys - and probably a ponytail on me. Apparently I need a more recent family photo!)
I’m scared to imagine what this year may hold even as the next group of Ukrainian kids comes over. We have 2 families from our church that have decided to host kids this summer. There is also another family from our town who will be having an orphan staying with them for the 3 weeks. Eric and I have agreed to act as mentors for 2 families as they enter the exciting, busy, terrifying and fun world of hosting. If any of these families decide to pursue adoption from Ukraine after their hosting experience then we will follow them through that process as well. Our experience is anything but typical - from hosting to the day the boys came home was 5 months! - but we learned a lot about the process in those 5 months and more importantly we learned a lot about trusting in the ultimate adoptive parent - God. (For a great book on this subject try Adopted For Life by Russell D. Moore.)