First and most exciting to me, we have her flight information! As of 10 minutes ago, we know exactly which flights will be carrying her to our neighborhood and back. At roughly 11:50 PM of our Monday Dec 16 you can start praying as she boards her first flight (a very early Tuesday morning flight from her country which has a 6 hour time difference). She'll connect through two cities and land in our fine state approximately 22 hours later. Twenty-two HOURS later. That includes a 2.5 hour layover in one city and a 7 hour layover in another (where she'll go through customs); and 12.5 hours of air-time. Pray pray pray for smooth flights, on-time connections, low-stress customs officers, and no motion sickness. She'll be arriving late in the evening of Tuesday, Dec 17. Flying into our local airport was not a feasible option, so we'll be driving a few hours on top of that, arriving to our home almost 24 hours after her initial take-off. And that does not include the several hours of pre-travel she will do to get to the airport (could be up to a 10 hour train trip to get from her orphanage to this city/airport!).
(I suspect I'll mention all of this more than once as we lead up to the date. Sharing is my thing.)
Additionally, part of our hosting contract is to take her to an eye doctor and dentist and provide any follow-up needs (cavities, glasses, etc.) Our insurance does not cover this, of course, so this was a big concern of ours. This week, during my annual eye appointment and my semi-annual dental appointment, I floated the information to our family providers, including the information from New Horizons for Children about "billing" these services as a tax-deductible donation. Both happily offered to do even more than the minimum we were asking. The eye doctor even noted that his great-grandparents were from the same country as M and that their family still speaks a little rusty-Russian. Small graces abound. So a few days after arrival, M has a dental appointment in the morning and an eye exam in the early afternoon. We wanted to book them early enough in her visit to schedule any additional services if needed--around the holidays the appointments book up fast with in-town college students; and time is of the essence here! But we also waited a few days so she could somewhat recover from, let me remind you, over 24 hours of travel stresses on Monday/Tuesday.
Not really an appointment, but it fits here: we also are required to take her to church regularly as this is a Christian charity. It's highly recommended to provide a Bible in the child's native language if at all possible. We wanted to do this so we could attempt to mark the weekly readings before mass so she could follow along during those parts of mass. Through NHFC we learned about a Bible-providing group called Eastern European Mission (eem.org). Providing Russian-language Bibles is their thing. I made a call to ask about buying one from their stock on behalf of our hosted teen from Eastern Europe and they wouldn't hear of it--they insisted it be sent to us for free. We got a Russian-language Bible (on the left) and a Russian-language teen Bible study-guide in the mail yesterday, along with this wonderful note. God Bless!
|"Dear Julie, Praying God's richest blessings on you and your family as you open your home and hearts to this precious child of His. Melanie." EEM.org|