I cannot express how terrible I feel because I was not able to blog on Saturday. I made a commitment to post every Saturday and this was the first time in 17 weeks that I did not write! My sincerest apologies… to anyone who noticed. Winking smile

But I must explain that I had a great excuse for my lack of posting… and it’s even relevant to the theme of this blog! I had the great honor of helping at 2 new host family trainings for New Horizons this weekend in St Louis and northern Kentucky.  All I did was casually volunteer to help and ended up getting to go along for the whole grand roadtrip. (Note – be careful about casually volunteering for anything with New Horizons, or you may quickly find yourself being whisked away to Eastern Europe for an orphanage interview trip! – Like this awesome bloggin mama! )

It was so great to reunite with previous host families and meet many excited new ones.  We met families from IA, MI, OK, IL, KY, OH, & IN who will together be hosting 18 special orphans from Lativa & Ukraine– midwest families rock!  I got to share some great memories of hosting and perspectives from spending time in the orphanage in Estonia… ooh ya and sharing my general love for these kids too.  Hopefully, Paula, Tony, and I were able to answer some questions, calm some nerves, & give the families lots to look forward to!

There was one particular part of the training that meant the most to me.  It was when I shared the story of A, a teenage orphan I met in Estonia last summer who recently passed away.  It was emotionally difficult, but it was something I resolved I must do once I heard of his passing.  ‘A’ had been offered for hosting Christmas 2010, but before it could happen, all of the Estonian children were pulled because of problems with government red tape.  It was terribly emotional for me to talk about the opportunities that were before A and it was impossible for me to fight back the tears.   Sharing A’s story was not easy, yet it was an honor as well.  His story needs to be heard.  He will not be another orphan who passes without any remembrance or legacy.  His life will make a difference.  It may have ended as a tragedy, but I cannot let it remain so.  It can be used for good.  So that people’s eyes will be opened to the reality of the hopelessness of life as an orphan and the powerful potential of hosting an orphan in their family. 

The magnitude of the ‘orphan crisis’ is daunting, but there’s something we can do.  And for me, I will love the orphans God has introduced to me and entrusted to me… and I will keep telling A’s story.  ♥

~      ~      ~

For all you host families, here are some great resources I recommended!

Language Teaching Resources

  • Transparent Language and Byki.com
    I found these by starting at my library’s website.  I accessed the "English for Russian Speakers" program through the library’s subscription. Liked it a lot!
  • Live Mocha
    Popular with other host families and free!

Translation/Interpretation Suggestions

  • Google Translate
    By far, my favorite translation site.  There’s new features everyday! In the entry box, you may type what you want and it will speak it back to you. If you click the little microphone button, you can even speak what you want to say into your computer’s microphone! If your child wants to type something to you, just switch the "From" language to Russian/Ukrainian/Latvian and it will give you a small keyboard button in the corner, and their alphabet will appear on the keys.  In the translation results, you can also listen to the translation in Russian and Latvian, but not Ukrainian… as of right now.

Fun Stuff

  • Find a Bible
    Find Bibles and Christian materials in any language.
  • AdoptionBug.com
    Website for the shirt I wore, anything you order from this page will go towards a family’s adoption fund. Be sure to look for the New Horizons families!
  • The Italian
    Great movie about life in E European orphanages, based on a true story!  This could be a good way for your family to prepare for hosting, NOT to watch with the host kids.
  • Get Smart
    Could be a good pick for movie night with your teenage host boys. PG 13 for some violence and minor language. I like it because it’s pretty clean and funny overall and is set in Russia, so there’s several scenes that are spoken in Russian.

And remember… Yellow Blue Bus! (I love you!)