Friday, September 27, 2013

Winter Guest

After much prayer and discussion (and then more prayer and more discussion), Rob and I are committed to hosting a young girl from the New Horizons for Children program this Christmas season.

New Horizons works with orphanages in E. European countries, China, and the Philippines.  These orphanages also serve as schools for the kids.  However, over 4 weeks of Christmas and several weeks of summer, the school is closed.  The kids can either go off to camps (think: summer camp, or the winter version of summer camp) or can apply for fostering programs that are similar to a foreign-exchange-student program.  New Horizons only accepts applications from kids with the highest recommendations from their teachers and caregivers for emotional, academic, behavioral, and social abilities.

These kids, then, get to fly to the US for 4 weeks and stay in a loving, functional family.  They get to celebrate Christmas as a part of a family.  They get to learn some English, see some sights, experience a new culture, and make some friends.  Mostly, they get a reminder that people care about them.

We were matched with a lovely girl.  Due to international rules about orphans, we are not allowed to disclose much information about her on public forums, so for now, we'll call her "M".   She's a young teen, is from Eastern Europe, and is described by her referral letters as very shy and quiet, preferring to be around young kids rather than peers.  She's very smart and loves to read, hike, and play with kids.  In other words, she'll fit right in.  This is the third year that she's been admitted to the program, but the first year she has been chosen.  She's our chosen.

Now comes the big ask. 

Obviously, in a traditional foreign-exchange program, the parents of the child would pay for things like airfare, visas, passports, insurance, a suitcase full of clothes and spending money for food en route.  M has no parents, yet those things still have to be paid for.  This is where the charity comes in.  NHFC pays for all of this using charitable donations made toward M's account.  As her host family, we only get to host her if enough money is raised to cover all of her expenses.  We can either donate it ourselves, or we can advocate for others to donate toward her account so that she can travel here.  We plan to donate as much as we can, but every dollar that others put toward her account helps.  Donations are tax deductible.

If you are so inclined, please consider making a donation to M's account by clicking here or the image below; also on the side-bar to the right.  It will put M's account (E0420) in the purpose line automatically. Please do NOT put our name anywhere on there.  It's for HER, not US.  Putting our name on there could hurt NHFC's status as a charity.  We do not see the donations at all, other than our updates on the total amount raised/left.  Once we start getting those updates, I'll add a status update to the blog.

Donate to M's account by clicking the image.  Bank transfer or credit card.
This is a huge leap of faith for our family, both in terms of the emotional and physical parts of having a stranger--a young hurt emotional teenage girl stranger!--in our family for four weeks, but also the financial commitment of raising her expenses.   As we enter into this we have several "asks"

1. Prayers.  Your prayers for M's heart are appreciated--can you imagine how hurt yet brave she must be to fly across the ocean to a family of strangers just to have some love?  Pray for her peace of mind.  Pray for our faith in His timing and guidance.  Pray that we all stay healthy and don't spend our visit in various stages of stomach flu.

2. Physical Needs.  So many friends, when we hinted that this was of interest, offered us spare beds from their attics, access to outgrown clothes, and more.  These are greatly appreciated.  As we have a need, we'll share it on here or Facebook.  We are so grateful for the opening of hearts and attics!

3. Financial: we can't really do this alone.  The total is nearly $3000, of which $500 was already covered, leaving $2500 to be raised. That seems impossibly large, but we are trusting God to help here.  If only 100 people gave $15-20 we'd have nearly all of it covered.  If 200 people gave $5-$10 we'd be set.  But we need the donations to start soon, as they need to start arranging for legal travel documents very soon.  If you are looking for a Christian child-centered charity to donate to yet this year, please consider clicking the donation links above.

4. Share this post.  Please share the mission of NHFC, either on behalf of us and M, or on behalf of the other orphans waiting to be hosted, with your friends both online and offline.  If, by chance, M's account gets more donations than are needed for her expenses, the money goes to her orphanage and/or to sponsor other kids' travel fees, so there's no limit on the benefits for donations.

Thank you!

P.S. Because someone is surely wondering: This is not an adoption program in any way.  However, many kids in this program do end up meeting a family--either their host family or someone in their community--who eventually pursue their adoption using in-country adoption agencies.  We have no intentions of adopting, but we do hope to advocate on M's behalf if someone in our church or extended social networks falls in love with her and is moved to start an adoption.  Just so that's clear.  Here's a link to an FAQ page on the charity's page.

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