As this month of discussing mothers and motherhood draws to a close, I wanted to mention a different kind of mothering. My husband and I have a heart for orphans, particularly the children of Eastern Europe. Statistics from reputable sources reveal stark realities for those kids who are turned out on the streets, uneducated and without resources at the age of 15 or 16. Sixty percent of the girls will end up in the sex slave industry and seventy percent of the boys in a life of crime.
Why am I discussing this here? Because a few years ago we felt God calling us to do something. So we signed up to host a Ukrainian orphan. The tiny six-year-old arrived in oversized, stinking boots, ill-fitting, dirty clothes, reeking with body odor, and starved for food and attention. Our lives were forever changed by this beautiful, resilient little spirit.
Long story short, we tried to adopt her but Ukraine was in political turmoil and closed the doors to Americans for a time. We fell on our knees, prayed and fasted until somehow in His great love, God moved a mountain. In a country where only one percent of orphans are ever adopted, a young American couple ‘happened’ to squeeze through the rapidly closing window of opportunity and adopted the child and her sister. (They still send us photos.)
We rejoiced, happy to know she would never eat potato peelings and dog scraps again. But our hearts would not let us stop with one. Since that time, we have hosted a child at least once a year and then advocated for each child’s adoption. (Because of our age, Ukraine will not allow us to adopt.) All but one of our girls has now found a loving home. I continue to pray for Vika and I write to her regularly, send gifts, school supplies, clothes, and anything she needs. While I am not her mother in person, I am her mother through God's love.
Each time we host we say, “This is the last time.” Letting the child go hurts too much. But God won’t let us stop. And so later this summer, we take the plunge again. This time a teenager will come, a teenager who never had a mother to tuck her in or brush her hair. A teenager who cried in the dark and no one came to comfort when she was sick or afraid.
After this summer though, for the rest of her life, she will have a mother-albeit a long distance one-and I count it both joy and privilege to be that different kind of mother.
Now that I’ve brought this up, I’m curious. Have any of you hosted or fostered or adopted or felt the call to care for the fatherless?