I’ve had three posts go live this week, so rather than try to write some more words, I think I’ll just share the ones I’ve already labored over. So, without further ado…
She said the words softly, her voice halting as she looked forward out the front window. I leaned a little closer, trying to decode the sentence. My Russian is rusty, and though I understood each word, when strung together with the many grammar rules, I couldn’t quite figure out exactly what she was asking.
“What?” I asked. A single word in her tongue seemed to give her a little more confidence. She glanced at me out of the corner of her eye and took a deep breath.
“I will call you Mama?” she asked.
It took a minute for the words, and the meaning behind them, to sink in. She had only been with us for three days, so I worried that maybe I was still not fully understanding.
“You want to call me Mama?” I asked. She looked at me with glistening eyes and nodded.
“Is it okay?” she asked.
I nodded back, wordless not because I couldn’t find the words in Russian, but because the lump in my throat had blocked all sound.
Last Christmas we hosted a young girl in our home for one month. Through an organization called New Horizons for Children, we had the blessing of opening our home to “K,” a child who knew more heartache in her short 17 years than I likely will in my lifetime.
Abandonment. Death of a parent. Life in an institution. Loneliness and fear.
These are words that identified her past, but in our home, we had the privilege of telling her that she is loved, she is worthy, she has value on this earth, and she will always have an advocate.
I’ve been asked several times what I think about orphan hosting through programs such as New Horizons, and others like them, that bring children to the United States each summer and winter.
There are Pros and Cons, and I’d like to offer my thoughts on these hosting programs.
When I had my first child, everything shifted. I welcomed the shift, because as I held his warm body next to mine, I realized that the entire meaning of my life had now taken a new course. No one can really prepare you for that when you are expecting your first child. It’s simply something that happens. It’s a good thing.
t can also lead to an identity crisis.
Before having children, I operated in full freedom. Putting faith in action seemed so much easier then, because I could get up and go when I felt like I needed to. Add a child to the mix, however, and suddenly everything gets a little more complicated. It happened rather slowly. In fact, I didn’t even realize it was happening until many years later, when I had three children, all pulling at my feet and vying for my undivided attention.
I had gone from a doer to a talker.
“Mom, I have three different things I could do when I grow up, and I don’t how to decide.”
I suppressed a smile at the earnest concern in her voice. Genuine worry laced her eight year old face, and I pulled her close to me on the couch. This is the child who hates to make decisions. She’s so fearful of making the wrong decision that even breakfast can turn into an ordeal of tears if not handled with grace and patience.
“Well,” I said gently, “what are your options?”
“I want to be a gymnast’s coach, a soccer coach, or a doctor. But I also want to be a mom. How will I decide what to do?”
My first born ambled up at that point. He’s trapped in that phase right now between boy and man. He’s long and sinewy, all knees and elbows. He still dreams like a child, but I see the practicality creeping in.
“I’m going to be a missionary,” he says. “I want to help people who don’t have anything. Or…” he pauses, conflicted. “Well, I kind of want to be a professional golfer, too.”
They both look at me then, as though I will have all the answers to these life decisions that seem so important right now. Before the youthful freckles have faded, and the white blonde strands of hair darken into a more mature golden, they want to know the future. They want me to tell them what to do.
BECAUSE ISN’T THAT MY JOB?
Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope the rest of your week is sweet, and joyous, and filled with blessings.