Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Could You Open Your Home to an Orphan for a Few Weeks?

Remember Davids, the Latvian boy I posted about back in January? He lived in an orphanage and was about to turn 16, which meant he would be aging out of the program and basically be put on the streets. Davids (now David) was set to be adopted by a family here in the States--but at almost the very last minute, it became apparent that the family had changed its mind and was, in fact, not going to be adopting him. What happened next was an Internet phenomenon, IMO. Bloggers and social networkers began posting David's story and advocating for him--and countless people were praying for David's true forever family to come forward.

And come forward, they did! In fact, the family lives here in Georgia, and I have been blessed to meet them and to get to know them a little! What an honor to be at the airport earlier this month as David and his (non-biological) Latvian brother, Peter, arrived home with their parents! How God has orchestrated all the parts of this story is incredible, and it has been so awesome to watch it unfold. But don't take my word for it--read for yourself on the family's blog, A Forever Family. You will be blessed. To God be the glory!

Last summer, David and Peter participated in an orphan-hosting program by New Horizons for Children, an outreach that brings orphaned children to the United States to share with them a family's love. Twice a year--in the summer and then over the Christmas holiday--New Horizons brings orphans to the States for a four- to six-week period. During that time, Christian host families share with the children the love of God as well as what it is like to be a part of a family--something some of the children do not understand.

Can you imagine ... not knowing what it means to live as a member of a family? I mean, some children don't even understand what a family is. But people like you and me can invite them into our homes for a few weeks to show them love and hospitality.

New Horizons is NOT an adoption agency--it is strictly an orphan-hosting organization. While some of the participants are adopted--by their host families or by other families who get to know them while they are visiting--there is absolutely no obligation or expectation for host families to adopt. This program is an excellent way to practice James 1:27: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress."

The summer hosting period is fast approaching, and there are many children on the photolisting who have not been sponsored. Would you be willing to host a child in your home for a few weeks this summer? While there is some cost associated, many children have scholarships to help with those expenses--and for the rest, I am a firm believer that God will provide for certain things. :o) Please prayerfully consider this wonderful program and whether your family would be willing to participate this summer. Don't delay, as the deadline for signing up for the program is coming up very, very soon.

From the New Horizons site:

"Orphans usually feel left out, left behind and unworthy. Their self esteem is many times so low because they have been labeled in their home city by peers as 'orphans.' After coming on our program for 4-5 weeks over Christmas holidays or during the summer months, most children learn as much English as they would typically learn in 4-5 semesters if taught at home in their school. This gives the children pride in themselves and helps boost their self esteem tremendously!

"Receiving unconditional love and nurturing and being treated as a member of their host family who will usually maintain contact even after the child returns home to their orphanage--this gives them hope. Learning that they do have a Father, the same Father in Heaven that we all have...who loves us dearly and is always with us and lets them know they are never alone."

Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me. --Mark 9:37, NIV

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