One of the most unexpected blessings of my hosting experience was the opportunity to connect with so many other host families.  As a first-time family, we had no idea what we were in for, and I didn’t know anyone else who had hosted before or was even in the process of hosting at the same time as us. It can be an overwhelming process at the beginning, and it’s even worse when you feel like you’re going through it alone!

Much to my surprise, it did not take long until I began to connect with people. People I never knew before, but shared this common experience with, became a great support in the process.  The connections came to life at our hostNHFC family training in St. Louis.  The training was so valuable not only in preparing us for caring for our host child, but also for connecting with the other first-time families in our region of the country.  I remember one of the trainers spoke about how others in your life may think of the idea of orphan hosting.  When she said “They usually think you’re a saint or insane” I just had this great feeling of being in a room of people who all understood one another.  We were dealing with the similar questions, hurdles, and general anticipation …and at that moment, I felt as if we weren’t alone in this journey any longer. 

Discovering this community was one of the coolest things about the hosting experience.  We got to share our stories, pray for one another in difficult times, know we are not alone in the sadness of sending the kids back overseas, and rejoice with those who are on the journey of giving their host kids a forever family.  I have met some incredible parents and continue to be inspired by their unwavering, persistent faith to do the work of Jesus and do whatever it takes to bring these wonderful children home.

As I take a step back and think about this new world I have discovered, it occurs to me that this is a perfect picture of community.  A group of believers supporting one another.  Consoling in the sad times and rejoicing in the victories.  We may be spread out around the world, but, compelled by the love of Christ, the cause of caring for orphans has brought us together.  It’s a life changing concept, that could only have been orchestrated by God himself.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)