Meet my friend Angelina. I met her this past December when she was in the United States for just over two weeks participating in a Ukraine Hosting Program from Ukraine. It didn’t take me long – just a couple hours playing and coloring – to realize Angelina’s need for a family. She didn’t just want a playmate, she needed someone to pay attention to her. While I wasn’t privy to the details of Angelina’s story, we rarely are until a child feels comfortable enough to share the dark parts of her past, I know that she’s a survivor.
I also know what future awaits her and her siblings if a family is not found to parent them. Children who age out of the orphanage system around the world, and more specifically in Ukraine, have few opportunities for success and often turn to lives of prostitution and crime. The life of my friend Angelina, her siblings and children just like her, are too precious for me to be silent about their need for a family.
While your family may not be able to adopt, are you willing to participate in a summer hosting program for children from Ukraine? The three weeks the children are in the United States may be one of the few opportunities they have to experience a healthy family dynamic. It is likely that throughout the child’s life, they have rarely been told that they have value; your family has the opportunity instill value in a vulnerable child. This experience not only positively affects a child, but can impact your family to take a more active role in advocating for the world’s most vulnerable children. Families who have participated in our hosting program in past years describe this experience as a reverse mission trip. It’s an opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone, expose your children to a child from a different culture and give a child the gift of hope.
I’ve had the privilege of participating in several mission trips over the course of my life. I know what it feels like to leave country on a spiritual high, wondering how this experience will change my life. Spending time with Angelina in December had that impact on me. Our afternoon giggling, tickling and selfie-taking shifted my view of children in need of families.
MLJ Adoptions is looking for 2 families to participate in our Ukraine Hosting Program this summer. While Valeria and Leonid’s stories are different, they are in need of a family to instill value in them. Would your family consider spending three weeks of your summer giggling, giving hugs, playing, crafting and making memories that can last a lifetime?
If you’re interested in learning more about our Ukraine Hosting Program, please contact Lydia Tarr at Lydia@mljadoptions.com.