We didn’t think that hosting an orphan in our home would change our lives forever. We had no intention of adopting; it wasn’t even on our radar. In fact, my husband said, in no uncertain terms, “We can do this, as long as you promise me we won’t adopt.” And I agreed. Because it was crazy enough to have an almost-teenager–from another country, who was an orphan—stay with our family for four weeks over Christmas. We were willing to commit to short-term crazy, but not to life-changing, forever and ever crazy. Famous last words!
During Christmas 2012, our eyes were opened to the needs of orphans around the world through the ministry of New Horizons for Children. This ministry gives children the chance to experience the love of a family and the love of Jesus for four-five weeks at Christmas and during the summer. Hosting is like a missions trip from the comfort of your own home! We hosted Mariana, a girl from Eastern Europe, in order to make a difference in her life, and we found that ours were the lives that were changed!
When Mariana came, and our family quickly fell in love with her. Our three daughters, Katelyn, Elise, and Alison, easily accepted Mariana into their hearts. And “promise me we won’t adopt” quickly turned into “We can’t send her back.” But we didn’t have a choice—we had to put her back on an airplane, and feel the pain of a piece of our heart go to Eastern Europe. New Horizons for Children does not facilitate adoptions—they are strictly a host-only organization. But once we learned Mariana was cleared for adoption, we signed up with an adoption agency and started our home study.
Funding our adoption has been a journey of faith! A large amount of our adoption costs involves the travel for the three trips required by the Eastern European government and the one-month stay in country that is required for the first trip. Chris has done work on the side as a computer programmer/consultant, and we also pulled money from personal savings. We received two grants right before Christmas, which was a big encouragement. Since September, Lindsay been baking bread every week as an on-going fundraiser.
We also sold t-shirts we designed through Fundthenations.com, and it was a blessing to see friends and family all over the country support us by buying a shirt. Partnering with the ApParent project was another amazing blessing: we sold bracelets made from recycled cereal boxes. These unique pieces of jewelry help families in Haiti provide food, shelter, and health care through a sustainable business model. We had a very fun “Christmas Shopping Party” fundraiser at our home in November where seven different direct-sales companies and other businesses were represented. Friends donated their commission for sales made that evening, and we also had businesses who donated 50% of the purchase price towards our adoption! We shared a video of pictures of our time of hosting Mariana and had Christmas cookies, coffee and eggnog. It was a great way to tell others about our heart for adoption, and we were able to raise $1000 from that evening. In January we launched a fun online auction which raised $2000.
Our three on-going fundraisers are through ScriptCharms jewelry, Umweo Bags, and Just Love Coffee. ScriptCharms has unique bracelets and necklaces which can be customized with your favorite Bible verses; the link for our fundraiser is http://www.scriptcharms.com/?Click=13. Umweo Bags helps fund a feeding clinic for severely malnourished children in Zambia, Africa. Their beautiful, handmade bags help parents care for their children while helping our family adopt as well. The link to their online store is http://umweobags.storenvy.com/; enter HillAdoption in the note at checkout for us to get credit! Just Love Coffee was started by an adoptive family who wanted to give something back to their daughter’s home country of Ethiopia while helping other families adopt. The link to our coffee store is https://justlovecoffee.com/about/beneficiary/miraclesform/
Our journey from hosting to adoption can be found at our blog at www.miraclesform.com. We are very excited to bring Mariana into our home forever—no more goodbyes!