Friday, May 15, 2015

How to be a blessing to a hosted orphan

The top bunk in the girls room is ready to be occupied this summer!
I am loving the feedback from many of our friends who think hosting an orphan with the goal of sharing Christ's love and connecting them with their forever family is a great idea.  We are so blessed to have this opportunity, as I (Tonya) stay at home with my kids, we have an extra bed, we have space in our vehicle, and we have the resources to sponsor and provide for an extra child for 5 weeks.
We want as many people as possible, who have a heart for orphans and evangelism, to have the opportunity to bless our "L" while she is here.  Blessing a host child (and indirectly, our family as well) can come in many forms.  Another seasoned host family has listed some ideas they have given their supporters that I thought were wonderful, and I'd like to share them with you, followed by a list of items "L" will need both while she's here and also to take back to her country with her.

1: Be a part of our prayer team.  We need prayer support!  If you want to be in a group that receives texts about specific prayer needs as we host "L", please let me know.
    a. Pray for "L"s salvation.  We are buying her a Bible in her language and will be trying to find as many opportunities as we can to communicate both verbally and by actions what the Gospel means to us.  Pray for creative ways for us, for understanding for her, and for the Holy Spirit to do an amazing work in her heart.
    b. Pray for "L"s adoption.  We still don't know for sure if "L" is adoptable or not.  There are many children who are hosted that easily get adopted after they return to their country after prospective families inquire of their government about them.  However, others are not allowed due to red tape and possible issues with the birth parents not relinquishing all of their parental rights, even if the orphan is considered a "social orphan" in the system.  Pray that if "L" is meant to be adopted, that this process will be simple and the family called to adopt her will be able to do so.
    c. Pray for our family structure.  We don't know yet how "L" will adapt to our family, or how our family will adapt to her.  There may be some rivalry, jealousy, frustration over communication issues, and disappointment if she is not the host sister the kids are expecting her to be.  Pray we will all learn from each other and show lots of grace with the changes we'll have to make as we adjust.
    d. Pray for our other pending adoption.  We have had our profile viewed by at least one birth mother recently, and were not picked.  We have peace in the process and know God's timing is best.  Pray for His perfect will to be done and for the heart of the birth mother who will choose us.  We don't want to be caught up in emotions over adopting another child while "L" is with us, but if the Lord so chooses to bring a daughter into our lives while she is here, we know He knows best! *I am forming a text group so let me know (if you haven't already) if you want to be added- this will be for private prayer requests regarding "L" while she is here

2: Provide a meal.  "L" has said she loves chicken and potatoes.  We have learned that kids from Eastern Europe love lots of fruit as well.  If you want to provide a meal for us, either by a gift card to Chicfila, KFC, or Zaxby's, or to bring something over one day to take the load off Tonya, it will be greatly appreciated!  You are welcome to eat with us when you drop it off as well, and get to know "L"!

3: Provide the gift of entertainment   "L" has said she likes to go out and have fun during the day, but stay at home in the evenings.  If you'd like to take her out to a movie on a Saturday afternoon, roller skating, bowling, come with us to the Discovery Park and pay for her pass, pay for her ticket to Venture River Water Park (we're going sometime in July with her and hope to go with a couple other host families in our area), any of these gifts would be a blessing!  We can't send her out with a family without either Kris or I accompanying her due to policy, but we'd love to work something out for you to love on her in the form of a fun outing.

4:Babysit our other kids.  Seriously, we'd LOVE to have some time alone with "L".  I'd love to take her shopping, get her hair and nails done, or just go get a sandwich with her on an afternoon every once and a while.  When all of our kids go with us together, she will not have any special alone time with her host parents.  She said in her interview that she's happy to be around younger kids, but we want to have special time with her when possible.  By babysitting our other four, you really are being a blessing to her and us!  *two families have come forward to volunteer, but we won't turn down more offers!

5: Just ask/show you care.  If you want to offer something not listed, please just ask.  There has been a great amount of care demonstrated already by our local friends, and we want all of you to be excited and in prayer for this special girl who God has brought into our lives.

6: Lastly, we need material items.  I've tried to compose a list of needed items and will check them off on this blog as the need is filled.  If it is just an item we'll need to borrow for the summer, I'll list it with (borrow) next to it.  As shared in our announcement blog post, please do not give "L" gifts in person without asking us first.  It will probably be OK, but we need to know what the item is and if it is allowed for her to return back with.  Bringing back a prohibited item (an Apple product, a frame with glass in it, expensive electronics, etc.) can really cause problems with the hosting program's relationship with the orphanages/governments involved.   Thanks for your sensitivity in this!

-gently used or new summer clothing, either size 8/10 or 10/12 (we don't know her size, but she will be 11 in June).  If you buy it, leave the tags on with a receipt so if it doesn't fit we can take her shopping and exchange it.  If you give it to us used, please label the tags with your initials so we can return it back to you if it is the wrong size so you can give the clothing to someone else.  Also, please make sure the clothing is modest for a tween!  In her culture, short shorts are not very appropriate.  Longer shorts and shirts with straps wider than spaghetti straps, no halter look or low back, etc. are acceptable.  Keep in mind skirt/dress length to be modest and to around the top of the knee or lower (assuming she is an average height for her age).  She has mentioned she would love a pink bedroom, so if you shop for something specific, keep in mind she probably likes pink clothes too! We have received items from two families with two other families committing to provide clothing items as well.  

-a bathing suit- must be conservative (no belly showing) 

-socks and underwear (4 pair of each)

-shoes, including flip flops, tennis shoes, dress sandals for church, and house shoes.  We honestly don't know what shoe size to get....if you have a daughter around 11 years old who is average that's a good place to start!

-hair accessories- she has long straight brown hair. (ties, bands, bows, etc)

-a girl's bike ,18" or 20"(borrow) (pending)

-a bike helmet (borrow)

-a back pack for travel/flying back

-hand towel/washcloth (for taking home)



-memory book/photo album


-good winter coat, scarf, gloves and hat (for taking home- her country has long, cold winters)

-low-cost jewelry, stationary, low-cost MP3 player (for taking home)

Thanks so much for your support of our "L"!  She will arrive June 26th and be staying until August 2nd.  We are excited and hope you are too!  Caring for orphans is something very special to our heart, and we pray by your involvement with "L"s time in our family, you will gain the same love and passion as well.


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