“How did you decide to host?”
I often get asked what brought us to host a child with Project 143. It’s a story that surprised even me.
In January 2014, we did an hour of prayer at our church and one of the stations was one that focused on following God and doing what He tells us to do out of faith. I remember thinking that I struggled with doing things that I didn't understand the why/how of.
When we left, I told my husband, Zane, that I felt like I was being told to do something big, but I had no idea what it was. It was as if I could hear God yelling at me, but I had literally zero idea what He wanted from me.
Every big decision after this, I started wondering "is this it?"
A move? No, that didn’t feel like “it.”
A new job? No, I don’t think so.
Change our public vs homeschool decision for our 10-year-old? No.
Then, in August 2014 - on a Saturday night, barely 11-year-old Natalie heard a story and song on the radio. I'll never know why it captivated her so much but afterwards, she came from her room and asked me to look up John Waller, "Orphan." I did and watched his family's adoption story. But more importantly, their hosting story. I'd never even heard of orphan hosting prior to this.
Zane was at work this night, but I preregistered on the P143 website and checked out what hosting means. Natalie and I looked through the kids' profiles and I read about bringing a child into our home for 4-6 weeks and I told Natalie, "I could totally do this.......but dad would never go for it."
The next day, our family went to church separately (Zane had worked, so he slept in - and I worked in kids’ church). As we always do, we discussed the sermon when I got home. It was a message about DOING something. There were pictures the pastor shared from a mission trip to Guatemala. They'd built bunk beds, fed kids, etc.
Zane's reaction to church that day, "I feel like our family needs to do something to help orphans."
I literally could not believe it. My husband loved our daughter, but he wasn’t the type that is drawn to kids (like I am) and he wasn’t the type that would seek opportunities to work with kids, so I was really taken by surprise on this one.
Cue the P143 website again.
We looked and discussed and decided to host a little girl. Nope, she was already being hosted. Natalie was barely 11 at the time and I really wanted a child her age or younger. After all, this was all I knew -- little girls. The second girl we thought would fit was 12. We put her on "hold" only to find out she was being hosted with another agency.
Of course, at this point, I’m questioning if this is what we are really supposed to be doing.
I spent a while on the phone with our P143 volunteer who talked to me more about hosting, the country of Latvia, and possible adoption. We weren't LOOKING to adopt but we'd discussed the possibility - "if we host a kid that's a good fit and that wants to be adopted, of course we won't leave her there."
Reading through kids' bios, I finally asked about L880. I knew the first three letters of her name were NAD, she was 13, she is an active girl, she likes roller coasters, and she would like to visit America again.
"She actually just turned 14," the volunteer said. We talked more about this girl. I learned she has a grown sister in the capital city, was now 14, had been hosted before with another organization, and she was not sure if she wanted to be adopted.
I remember thinking that was perfect because we certainly weren't trying to adopt.
Nadezda (which means hope in Russian) arrived December 14, 2014. My world completely changed. In every way. I have said many times that my heart grew 3 sizes and I suddenly had a hole in it that I had never experienced before.
December 28, 2014, we sent in our application to the adoption agency. We knew she may say no, but we wanted to give her the full opportunity to be adopted into our family.
We had a great four weeks and completely fell in love.
No matter the outcome, I am so glad that God spoke to all three of us in very undeniable ways to give us the courage to step forward to host and change all of our lives.
Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or for more information about hosting in general or about my family’s experience: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, see Natalie’s reflection on her experience here: A Sibling's Perspective.