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Meet This Amazing Girl!

Meet our featured child, 12-year-old N! She’s an amazing girl who loves music, plays the violin, and wishes to learn piano next. She even wants to become a singer when she gets older! She enjoys talking and making new friends, especially with girls her own age.

Would she be a great fit for your family? Check out our photo listing or contact our Program Coordinator Katie today at katie@orphanhosting.com to learn more about her! The deadline for winter hosting is approaching fast, so click here to apply today!

What is Orphan Hosting?

Orphan hosting means something different to everyone. For host families, it’s the chance to be a part of a child in need’s life. For children, it’s a chance to experience the love of a family. Every holiday season, families in America decorate Christmas trees, build snowmen, and open presents… but this is all just a dream to these kids. You can make this dream a reality!

Resources:

– Learn more about Orphan Hosting
– Visit the Orphan Hosting Photo Listing
– Contact an Orphan Hosting Specialist!

*Due to privacy regulations with the Latvian government, their full photo is not allowed to be posted publicly – please contact our team to learn more.

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Quick Fundraising Ideas

 

Are you considering hosting an orphan but are concerned about the program fees? Not to worry, there are numerous ways to fundraise those costs, which makes hosting an affordable option! Hosting a child is a rewarding life-changing experience that is worth the effort.

Fundraising doesn’t have to be lengthy or difficult. In fact, here is a list of 10 quick and easy fundraising ideas that can be completed in a day!

1. Bake sale

Baking goods like cookies or brownies and selling them for a profit is a great way to earn money! You can sell them around your neighborhood, workplaces, churches, and schools.

2. Spaghetti dinner

Ask a local venue (like a community center or church) to donate the space and host a spaghetti dinner there. Rally your friends and family to cook and serve the guests, or you can even convince a caterer or restaurant to donate food to your cause. Then, charge a price per ticket and use the event as a fundraiser and opportunity to share about your goal of hosting.

3. Raffle

Sell raffle tickets for a product or service (ideally something that doesn’t cost you anything or is inexpensive to purchase). If the raffle tickets are relatively cheap, you can earn more money! You can raffle off items at other fundraising events like a spaghetti dinner or trivia night.

4. Garage sale

Assemble items around your house that are no longer needed and sell them at a garage sale. You can also ask your friends and family or local businesses to donate other goods for your garage sale. Advertise it through social media, posting flyers in the neighborhood, and Craigslist.

5. Car wash

Car washes are a tried and tested way to fundraise! Find a suitable location for a car wash, ask friends and family to volunteer, collect supplies, and create some attention-getting signs. You can charge a specific price for a car wash or advertise it as free and ask for donations to the cause.

6. Bingo night

Host a bingo night at a local church, school, or community center and charge a fee for unlimited games or a fee per game played. Consider selling refreshments and raffle tickets or hosting a silent auction as well!

7. Trivia night

Trivia night is a fun and low-cost way to fundraise! Plan a trivia game competition with interesting categories and charge for tickets. You can also sell food, drinks, or raffle tickets and host a silent auction during the event.

8. Chili cook-off

A chili cook-off is a fun event for anyone who enjoys competition and eating chili! You can host a casual gathering in your backyard or a larger scale event at another venue. Ask your friends and family to contribute their own chili recipes as well. Then, charge guests to sample flavors and vote on the best chili!

9. Bowling fundraiser

Do you enjoy bowling? Try organizing a bowling fundraiser! First, find a bowling venue that will rent out the venue or a few lanes for an afternoon or evening. You can ask if they’ll rent it to you for free for the cause. Then, invite guests and charge for entry fees and refreshments. Or, you can host a Bowl-a-Thon, where people donate an amount for every pin they knock over.

10. Partner with a local business

Ask a local business or restaurant if they can donate a percentage of one day’s sales for any customers who are shopping or dining to support your cause. This can help you earn money for little effort!

Click here for more fundraising ideas!

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Top 3 Questions About Hosting

Dear potential host families,

We’re so glad you’re interested in our Latvia hosting program! Hosting a child is an amazing, life-changing experience that gives a child the opportunity to be loved by a family. We’re sure you have questions before you begin. Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions!

1. Are all of these children adoptable?

No, not all of the kids in the hosting program are adoptable. Since this is a host-only program, we do not have information of their legal status. Once the hosting program is over, that is when we are able to inquire if they are adoptable.

2. Do they know English?

It honestly depends on the kid! Typically they know at least a few words or phrases, while some of them are fluent. A lot of times, they get embarrassed trying to speak English, so they understand a lot more than they let on. ALL of them are very eager to learn more!

3. Are they healthy?

The majority of the kiddos in the hosting program are healthy. If they have some type of health concern, then it will be stated within their file.

Check out more FAQs here!

Visit our photo listing to learn about the available kids!

If you have any other questions, we’re happy to help! Please contact our Program Coordinator Katie at katie@orphanhosting.com or call us at 512-323-9595 ext. 3061

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3 Reasons to Host a Child from Latvia

Have you thought about hosting a child before? These wonderful children need the love, warmth, and support that a family can provide. Here are 3 reasons why you should host a child from Latvia!

1. The Kids Are AMAZING

The kids in Latvia come from various backgrounds, but the one thing they have in common is that they are all AMAZING! The kids in hosting range from 6-15 years old. Most of them are healthy and don’t have any medical concerns. Also, many of the children can speak some English or are fluent! These kids are charming, sweet, and eager to learn more about living in America.

2. Give Them the Gift of Hope

Hosting a child is the perfect way for you to make a positive difference in their life. Many of these kids have never felt the love of a family before or experienced life in America. Without host families, these kids will likely end up living as part of the system without a family. We have the opportunity to do something great and change the lives of these children in the best ways possible!

3. Change Your Life Forever

Hosting is a life-changing experience for host families too! Imagine welcoming a child into your life and giving them the gift of a warm bed to sleep in at night, a family, and a brighter future. You’ll never forget accepting a child into your home and heart and bonding with them. Also, hosting provides a great opportunity for cultural exchange. Learn more about Latvia while you share American culture with a child!

Here’s what our host families say:

The hosting program has been an unimaginable blessing to our family!
Being a host family was extremely rewarding!

Read more about how hosting changed families’ lives!

If your family would like more information on our Latvia Hosting Program, contact our Program Coordinator katie@orphanhosting.com today!

Are you interested in learning more about available kids? Click here to visit our Orphan Hosting Photolisting!

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Latvia Winter Hosting Is Now Open!

We’re excited to announce that our Latvia Winter Hosting Program is launching TODAY! We like to think of it as celebrating Christmas in September as families are matched with the amazing kiddos who will participate in the Holiday program over December and January.

The children of our Latvia Winter Hosting Program are between ages 6-15, and we have a number of sibling groups looking for a host family. Children from Latvia are generally healthy and are excited for the opportunity to spend time with a family! These children have often had tough lives but are resilient, sweet, and look to host families for love and support.

Latvia Winter Hosting Profiles

The children of our Latvia Winter hosting program are amazing! If you’re interested in reading their profiles, head over to our photolisting now. We aren’t allowed to post the children’s photos online, but you can contact us at katie@orphanhosting.com to receive profiles for the children and a short consultation about hosting.

Eligibility

  • Citizenship: One parent must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Age: Generally between 27-60 years old, depending on the country and the special needs of the child, if any.
  • Marriage Status: Single women and married couples are generally eligible, and single men can be considered for Latvia.
  • Criminal History: Applicants with a criminal history of child abuse, violence, or domestic violence are not eligible to host.
  • Health: Host parents must be in good health with no major medical or psychological concerns.

Click here to visit our Orphan Hosting Photolisting!

 

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3 Reasons to Start Your Latvia Adoption Process

2Many of the families in our Latvia adoption program choose to participate in our Orphan Hosting program to get a general idea of what the process is like. It’s a great way to connect with Latvia and get a sense of what the adoption process ahead could hold while giving a child the chance to see what the world outside of Latvia has to offer!

Below are three reasons why you should consider getting started with your adoption process right away, rather than waiting until after the hosting program:

1. The Kids Are AMAZING

The kids in Latvia come from various backgrounds but the one thing they have in common is that they are all AMAZING! The kids in adoption range from 9-15 years old. Most don’t have any medical concerns. They come from pasts and need someone to give them the chance they deserve. No child deserves to not have a family. Many of the children have some concept of English if they aren’t already fluent! They are charming, sweet, and so ready to see what America is all about!

2. Matching

In the Latvia adoption process, once a family’s dossier has been submitted they are put in line to receive their referral. If your family begins the adoption process prior to hosting, and you do not move forward with the adoption of your host child, you will have the option to receive a referral through the traditional Latvia adoption program.

3.One Step Closer To Bringing Your Child Home! 

With Latvia Hosting, it is common for families to re-host their child if they are hoping to pursue their adoption. Depending on the length of time that it takes a family to complete their adoption, they may end up re-hosting multiple times. If your family is prepared to begin the Latvia adoption process, we encourage you to get started right away so that you can complete the process and bring your child home as soon as possible!

If your family would like more information on our Latvia adoption program, contact our CAN adoption specialists today!

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The Five Fears of Hosting

We’ve all seen the memorable, touching moments that can come from hosting an orphan through our hosting program. The first hugs, trips to exciting places, and moments of pure joy and love that come from being with a real family. These are all of the things that we and our host families want you to see, and know are real positive aspects of hosting!

Our host families are doing great things for these children, but are sometimes faced with negativity from family and friends, instead of reassurance and encouragement. We want to provide you with a solid understanding about hosting an orphan with your family so that you can focus on the good you are doing while sharing this life-changing experience with your amazing host child!

Bonding and The Return

1Many talk about the concern of a child becoming bonded to you and your family during hosting, and then experiencing the devastation of having to return to their home country. It is natural for you and your host child to be sad when this happens. It is important to consider a few things, though.

More than likely, you will share with your host child many firsts. These are beautiful memories for you both to cherish and hold close! For these children, these experiences are new and exciting, and will help them develop with the support and love they need. Flying kites and learning to ride bikes is not just about having fun; it’s making a lasting connection that will serve them through all of their growing up and change their perspectives of life! Everyone needs to be nurtured and cared for, especially the children who have not had that until now.

The days leading up to departure day will be hard, but not the end. You or someone you know may end up being their forever family, but regardless, there are many different ways your journey can carry on together. Many families will remain in contact with their host child after they leave! Care packages and letters can be sent to reach host children in the orphanage while families will still continue to advocate on these angels’ behalves. These gestures show them that someone out there still cares about them. While departing is difficult, often times the children are also excited about going home. After going on a trip, no matter how fantastic, everyone enjoys seeing some familiarity in their lives again.

Possible Family Ties

The issue of already existent biological families is quite common in our Latvia program, and can definitely raise concern to a host family. It can be difficult to consider that while this is an opportunity to give a child a better life, it may also mean they must leave all they know. The majority of the children we work with are in orphanages and no longer see their families. Although they may still visit, their families are not a permanent fixture in their lives providing support.

Foster families can also be a support system still present in an orphan’s life. Children grow attached to family figures in their lives, biological, or not. In hosting, our goal is to find them a permanent living situation in which they can thrive. Hosting gives children with more extensive needs that are often harder to place a chance to be seen. We are the voices for these young ones that, otherwise, would not be heard. Our goal is to help them find the families that can provide them with much needed care and love, through hosting. There is great potential when they stay with a host family!

The “A” Word

In our hosting material, we request all families with visiting children to refrain from discussing adoption, for the best interest of the child. Many things can happen throughout the adoption process, so we do not want to create any unreasonable expectations. It can be confusing for children (especially of varying ages and cognitive abilities) to process what adoption means for them. During hosting, we want everyone to focus on having a great time together!

“Showcasing” Children?

Showcasing, no. Advocating, absolutely! If these children never left their home country to be hosted here in the US, their chances of being adopted into a better environment than the orphanage they come from are significantly less. Hosting gives a child the voice and visibility they otherwise would not have. Advocating for a host child gives them a greater opportunity to be led to the loving family that they belong with.

These are children that cannot speak for themselves yet. Hosting and advocating are ways in which we can let them be heard and be their voices. The success of hosting orphans finding their forever homes in this program is in the numbers: 75%-80%! That is an amazing percentage, but we are always looking to help more orphans find their way home.

Cost

Many times people will be surprised that hosting a child from another country costs money, but like any worthwhile cause, funds are needed to support these sweet kids in this adventure! What is often asked is how these fees are collected, and what they are actually used for? With Children of All Nations/Great Wall China, the necessary cost covers the child’s legal documentation; travel inside and outside of countries, visa and passports, background checks, and insurance during traveling and the visit. Required Hague training for host parents and family background check are also included in the cost of our hosting program, unlike any other program. Some of the hosting cost also contributes to chaperones that travel with the children from across the world. Chaperones are given the opportunity to come to America and give of themselves to help these wonderful children.

Another advantage we have in helping these kids find families is that our staff goes to personally meet all of the kids that join us in hosting! Much of the information that we gather about host kids comes from interview trips, so this is a valuable way for us to help our host families by giving them insight that we otherwise may not have.

People that are not familiar with the hosting program and its purpose may have misconceptions about the donations made to the program. In no way is money used for “payment for a child” or to support anything but the most legal activity. If ever anyone has questions about how their donation is being used, we are happy to clarify.

Why should I internationally host an orphan?

10314707_10153390047121656_4683129738919508009_nLove. Hope. Changing a life. These are just a few of the great things that happen when you welcome a little one who has been alone in the world without a family or home for so long.

It is a risk, in many ways, to let a child from another country into your life, but as Lao Tse said, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Being the family a child needs is a wonderful thing to do! All people, especially children deserve to be loved. Dr. Raj Raghunathan explains in the Psychology Today article, “The Need to Love”, the following:

“We know that the desire to love and care for others is a hard-wired and deep-seated because fulfillment of this desire enhances our happiness levels. In other words, expressing love or compassion for others benefits not just the recipient of affection, but also its perpetrator… Thus, when you are generous to others, you attract generous behaviors from them in return…. The story you tell yourself is that you have everything you need and more, which is why you can afford to be generous.” (Raghunathan, Raj, PhD. “The Need to Love: One of the Best Kept Secrets of Happiness Is to Love and Take Care of Others.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, 8 Jan. 2014. Web. 23 Jan. 2017.).

Everyone needs to be cared for and loved to live well, and this shows us how worthwhile it is to take that leap of faith and give a child who needs a family a chance. The same article mentioned above goes on to mention that the smallest deed will have just as much of an effect on your life. Even if you are unable to host a child, you can still help by advocating for a child!

Think of this, though. Would you be the person you are now if you never celebrated a birthday with parents who care about you, or had a pet, or went on vacation with your family, or didn’t have basic needs met like sleeping in your own bed or having your own clothes? What you are doing by hosting an orphan is more than giving them some time away at “summer camp”; you are giving them hope for a brighter future.

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Greetings from Latvia!

IMG_0410Whew! The last few days have been quite the whirlwind, but I am thankful to have a minute to put my thoughts down. After the typical travel delays that put me hours behind and running through airports, I was a day late and two groups of missed children behind schedule. We’re lucky to have such amazing staff in our Latvia program who was still able to meet with these children to give them the opportunity that hosting brings.

This is my first trip with our Latvia hosting program, and what I’m learning is that traveling to Latvia is different than traveling to China. While there is less culture shock for me, I’m still meeting just as many kids as a single day in an orphanage in China…the biggest difference is that we’re driving all over the country to do it! From a meeting with a foster family to an orphan court and even to a dentist’s office to catch a foster family on the road – whatever it took to get just a few minutes with each kid, that’s what we did! Traveling is a small effort to make when it means a child has a chance to be involved in this hosting process.

For me, the experiences of the children in our China program and Latvia program are so different, but it all comes back to the same need. I’m more accustomed to seeing an immediate need in our China children, medical needs, physical needs, and the immediate lack of a family to care for the child. In Latvia, the needs aren’t so transparent. On the outside, many of these kids are doing so well, if a little small, but it is in their responses and their eyes that I can see the fear, pain, and hurt so many of these children have experienced. Many of these kids have tough hearts that have experienced heartbreak – too many adults have let them down too many times. I know it takes the right family to break down these walls, the right family not to give up, the right family to go through and understand some of the pain these kids have been through in order to give these kids the love they need.

IMG_0467Today I met two incredible boys who were thirteen and fifteen years old. They’re fantastic! We work so hard, especially for our boys, to find families. Older children and boys can be the toughest to find families for, but they are often the most amazing kids. Their caregivers say they are the best boys, and both of them know English. The oldest is an awesome student and the youngest is quite the athlete. They answered all of my questions the best they could in English, and when one was asked what he wanted to do when visiting America, do you know what he said? “Stay forever!”

Imagine being able to welcome a child into your life and give them the gift of a family, future, and a warm bed to sleep in at night. These two boys want to come back to America, and since they have been hosted before, they already know how wonderful it is to be with a family in the U.S. Sadly, most teenage boys are difficult to place, not because of anything they have or haven’t done, but because of their age. The year they were born is not a reason for them to be without a family or a chance at having a brighter future. Without host families, these kids are likely to end up living as part of the system, without a family, education, or anything that you or I have been blessed with.

I have been so privileged to meet these wonderful kiddos. We have the opportunity to do something great, and change the lives of these children in the best ways possible. But you have to ask yourself, will you be a part of something more this summer? Will you open your heart and love a child?

– S

From the home office: contact us about getting involved in the orphan hosting program by emailing us at info@orphanhosting.com or calling 512-323-9595. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of each child we meet!

Resources

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Orphan Warrior, Episode 1: Michelle C.

In this episode of Orphan Warrior, we are featuring one of our truly dedicated advocates for these little ones who has hosted with us a few times, and advocated for so many kiddos! Michelle C. has a big heart, and we could not be more grateful for her service in helping these children find forever homes. Read below to find out about what being an Orphan Warrior means, and Michelle’s experiences in hosting and advocating. Way to go, Michelle! We appreciate you!

  1. Michelle and JoyWhat inspired you to take the first step towards hosting?

Before we signed up to host a child last summer, we had never really even considered the option. But the night before the summer hosting deadline, an urgent email appeared in our box with the picture of a 10-year-old boy with similar needs to the son we had adopted two years before. He was about to lose his opportunity to spend a month in the United States, where he could both experience the real, raw love of FAMILY for possibly the first time in his life and have a family advocate for him and tell his story! We had just completed our last surgery on the hand of our son, and we knew what a manageable need this 10-year-old boy had. We also knew that, without a family to tell his story and SHARE his superpower, he was at risk of being another “older boy with special needs” medical file and aging out of the international adoption system. We researched hosting and decided that, although we weren’t in a season where we could ADOPT because of our soldier’s very busy military travel schedule, we could absolutely serve this deserving superhero in this season by hosting and sharing his story. We emailed Great Wall that night and completed the paperwork the next day!

  1. What drew you to advocating for this cause, specifically?

Our son and the children we left behind when we visited his orphanage in China.

After peering into the eyes of all of these children, most of them boys with special needs, all sleeping two to a bed and cared for by nannies who CLEARLY loved them but couldn’t provide the kind of one-on-one care and unconditional love of a FAMILY that every superhero deserves, our eyes are open. Our hearts are breaking. And we can no longer just ignore the fact that thousands of little superheroes-in-waiting, PRECIOUS angels as amazing and deserving as the one we are honored to call ours, are growing up without PARENTS, mostly because of their ages and their medical needs.

EVERY child deserves a family. And after getting the honor and privilege of being Superman’s, we’ve learned that THESE children, the ones deemed “special” with needs that might look scary on paper, are really the most super of all. And it doesn’t take perfect families to give them homes. It takes the PERFECT LOVE of a PERFECT GOD poured into the lives of IMPERFECT people with available hearts and hands. Our family’s mission is to CHANGE THEIR STORY by TELLING it, SHARING it, and by calling out others who can be part of God’s redemption story in these deserving angels’ lives.

  1. What do you enjoy most about advocacy?

Selfishly, I love the month I get to physically spend with each of these superheroes as we host. All of them are so special and so amazing, and throughout our month together, it is so much fun to just unwrap this little gift that is their personalities and their hearts. Both hosting sessions, our family walked into the experience praying we might be able to provide our host children with the gift of a forever family. And both times we bawled at farewell, knowing that THESE children gave US a gift far greater than we could have EVER offered them. This month we have loving on them and LEARNING from them is truly the highlight of our family’s entire year. Documenting their personalities and telling their stories is just a side benefit of being in their presence.

  1. How has advocacy helped you grow in your personal life?

Advocating for these superheroes, especially for the ones with special and medical needs, has changed our family’s life. These incredible children have just turned our family’s world upside down, and they have taught us more about LIFE and LOVE and how to LIVE WITH ABANDON than any adult in our arenas! They’ve taught us that special needs aren’t scary and that accessories like sparkly extra chromosomes are actually superpowers in disguise. They’ve taught our children how to not run FROM the broken and abandoned and ignored and neglected, but how to run TO them. Our 7-year-old boy now calls his “best friend” a 7-year-old girl with Down syndrome living in an orphanage in China. Our 10-year-old boy announced last month that when he gets old enough, he wants to be the first to adopt. These children have opened our eyes to a life far beyond ourselves and given us a glimpse of GOD’S HEART. They’ve given us FAR MORE than we could have EVER offered to them.

  1. What makes you continue to advocate for orphans in need?

There are countless orphaned and abandoned children filling the orphanages of China, all of them having varying degrees of needs, from very minor needs to extensive needs that require more care. After looking into the eyes of these beautiful children and getting the HONOR of loving them up close, we know the secret — these “special needs” are just “super” needs in disguise. THESE superheroes are truly the forgotten treasures of the world. They just need FAMILIES to hand them their capes and teach them to fly. We advocate because on paper, the needs of these special superheroes look scary. But when you fall in love with the HEART of a child, you realize that SPECIAL is just SUPER in disguise. <3 Our heart is to CHANGE THE ORPHAN STORY for as many of these mostly special needs superheroes that we can. To open eyes and hearts and homes to these angels who are some of the most super of all. One of the best ways we’ve found to do this is by bringing them into our home, loving on them with everything we have, taking them into our communities and TELLING THEIR STORIES. Because when orphan statistics become real, parent-less faces, you can no longer just ignore the crisis happening on someone else’s watch.

  1. What would you tell someone who is afraid to take a chance on a child, by hosting or advocating on their behalf?

Loving a child you don’t get to make yours is HARD. Saying goodbye is just BRUTAL. But OUR tears are a small sacrifice for these children who will NEVER AGAIN have to shed tears wishing and waiting for a forever family.

Anyone worth loving is worth crying over.

It’s WORTH these tears.

It’s WORTH these first difficult moments.

And it’s WORTH this heartache for one child to KNOW for the first in his life that he is absolutely, unconditionally, LOVED.

  1. If you could tell all of the children that need advocates one thing to hold on to, what would it be?

Jesus. When earthly parents seem hard to come by, the Father of the fatherless is always there. And He has sent an entire army of orphan warriors to FIGHT on your behalf.

  1. What are your favorite ways to advocate?

We love advocating through hosting. Hosting gives us an opportunity to love these children in real and tangible ways while we simultaneously share their personalities and their stories. These sweet superheroes — they make it so very easy to just share their BEAUTY. All we have to do is document it as we get the privilege of witnessing it and enjoying it.

  1. What creative activities, campaigns, or outreach efforts have you made or come across that have helped you in advocating?

There are SO many resources, Facebook groups, fellow advocates, etc. The adoption and advocacy community is such a wonderful, encouraging, close and tight-knit group of people. They have given us our best ideas! Some of our favorite ways to advocate are just by writing about our own experiences — with our host children, with our Chinese-born son. We recently launched a campaign we call Operation Orphan Warrior — a call to RUN TO the 600,000 mostly special needs and older children who still fill the orphanages and foster homes of China. To FIGHT FOR THEM. To tell their stories. And to partner with families to provide for them HOMES.

  1. What is the hardest part of being an advocate, to you?

The hardest part of advocating is grieving over the size of the problem. When there are 600,000 superheroes waiting for forever families in just one country, you feel so small, and as much as you fight for these kiddos one at a time, you sometimes wonder whether you can make a difference for these children you just cannot imagine growing up without parents. But when we keep our eyes on the size of our God instead of the size of the giant before us, we’ve found God equips us — with energy, with ideas, with resources, with passion. And that, one by one, He gives us the honor and privilege of partnering with HIM to play a small role in HIS redemption story of these children. We are not the Saviors, and these are not salvation stories. We are just imperfect, open hands and hearts who get the honor and privilege of playing a role in GOD’S redemption story. Knowing that it’s not our job or ROLE to “save the day” takes the pressure off and allows us to keep our eyes not on the size of the crisis, but on the size of our God, who can use us when we make ourselves available.

  1. What are some easy ways that people can step up to help in advocating for these children?

Host these children. Love these children. Share these children. Tell their stories. Not everyone can adopt, but everyone can do something.

We can still go to THEM.

We can still take mission trips and long-term trips to VISIT them. To LOVE on them. To offer MEDICAL CARE for them. And to financially partner with well-established organizations like Love Without Boundaries to CARE for them.

We can be the ones who set up Orphan Warrior Camp One in the place that STOPS this crisis before it begins — IN COUNTRY, where we desperately need people to partner with birth mothers and offer resources and provide medical care so that families feel that abandonment isn’t their only option after birthing a child with medical needs.

We can be the one to set up the camp that changes the tide. That removes the stigma and starts transforming the way this country VIEWS and ACCEPTS children with special and medical needs. We can fight the decades-long war to change the CULTURE so that WE ELIMINATE the need for orphanages in a country where 90 to 98 percent of the 600,000 children who reside in them have special needs.

And, from our place at our computers, we can simply SHARE THESE CHILDREN’S STORIES.

We can share the NEED.

We can share the CHILDREN.

We can share the FACES.

Our winter host child’s family found her because one of our family friends shared her picture on her professional Facebook page. That family contacted us, met Joy, fell in love, and today, they are completing the paperwork to bring her home.

Changing the orphan story is sometimes as simple as just SHARING it.

  1. Are there any bits of advice you would like to pass on to other advocates or people wanting to help?

Do what you can with what you have where you are at. The first two years after we returned with our son from China, advocating for superheroes-in-waiting looked like serving ours. The best way we could love orphans in that season was focusing on bonding, attaching with and getting the medical care we needed for ours. In that season, loving our boy and telling his adoption story were the best ways we could invest in changing the orphan story. Now, 14 casts and 10 surgeries later, we’re again in a season where advocating looks more intentional. It looks like hosting. It looks like blogging. It looks like sharing the stories of the 600,000 children still waiting to experience the love of forever families. No matter what season you are in, you can SHARE the orphan story. Sharing it really does change it.

  1. Have you ever seen a story shared via social media or any form of advocacy that led to a bigger more beautiful outcome?

Joy found her family through a shared post on social media. J.J. found his family through a member of our blog community who wanted to SERVE these superheroes … and in the process, fell in love with her SON. Most of our friends who have hosted children have seen them find their forever families through the power of shared posts on social media. After sharing Joy’s story for a month on our Facebook account, 23 different families, only two who I knew directly, contacted us to inquire about making this girl theirs. Sharing REALLY DOES change the orphan story.

To find out more about Michelle’s journey in advocacy, visit her blog here.

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