Is hosting Fu Yi for one month really in her best interest? We are pulling her out of her comfort zone. As horrendous as her circumstances may be, they are familiar to her and these children cling to anything that feels familiar. She will experience atrocious jet lag and severe confusion. Certainly a 5 year old child who has Down Syndrome and lives in an orphanage can not comprehend the explanation that she's "going to camp in America." She will be met at the airport by a couple who looks nothing like her, a couple who doesn't even speak her language. It is our understanding that her nannies may tell her to call us "Momma and Papa." Exhausted, confused, and scared, she will be told to come with us. And if this trauma isn't enough for her already battered soul...
We will whisk her away to what seems like paradise. Our expensive car, a house she never dreamed could be so big, all her needs immediately met. She will feel love like never before. She'll have so many people doting over her and making sure she is always comfortable. She will have her own bed, be celebrated, entertained, read to, played with, hugged, held, fed, and loved like a daughter.
4 weeks passes and this couple who has shown her the world is driving her back to the airport. Once again, she stands confused, perhaps feeling abandoned once more. How can her little mind possibly understand why we haven't kept her? Why would this family, who seemed to love her so much, now send her back? Back to the muck, back to the hell of living as an orphan.
This is going to wreck her, on so many levels. And I haven't mentioned how it will wreck us. It's going to be painful from all perspectives. So, that question nags again... Is this really what's best for a child who has already experienced unthinkable tragedy and trauma? Clearly, we have considered the ramifications of hosting this child. We asked the important question, the same one you've asked. We've prayed over it and ache just thinking about her fragile little heart.
Yes. Yes, this is what's best for Fu Yi. It's what's best for our family. It's what's best for every person in this community who has the privilege of meeting her. And it's best for the Kingdom of God.
Without this opportunity, Fu Yi may never know what it feels like to be loved. Can one month of unconditional love have a lifetime effect? We believe so. There are countless studies that show the positive and lasting effects of being loved, even for 2 weeks. "Being loved" includes tender touch, eye contact, meeting of needs, etc. We have personally witnessed firsthand, 2 of our own children make exponential progress within 2 weeks, after leaving an orphanage for our loving arms. It's tremendous to witness.
Fu Yi sits in an institution, eligible for adoption but with no one pursuing her. This program allows us to advocate on her behalf. We will work hard to find a family willing to adopt her. Her chances of being adopted increase dramatically as a result of being in the hosting program. If she is adopted, the residual trauma doesn't immediately disappear but it does begin to dissipate more and more over time. Being adopted into a loving family has miraculous implications on the progress of these children. This is true for physical, psychological, and cognitive developmental issues. The love of a family truly changes lives. Having Fu Yi placed in a family (God willing) will not erase what's been done but will allow for major healing.
Think about the possible implications for our friends and this village as a whole. Fu Yi represents every orphan around the globe. She is a real face, a real child to hold and hug. She is only one orphan but will give face to so many who have no voice, no connection to the outside world. Our prayer is that this community may be changed forever by her visit. We believe hearts may never be the same after meeting and caring for this child. She will bring awareness and education for those who may never otherwise be aware of the harsh reality around the globe. We know God will use this experience to change the hearts of everyone who comes in contact with her.
What about our family? Is it fair to set our kids' hearts up for breaking? I think back on so many journeys where we have exposed them to difficult reality, in order that they too may grow closer to Jesus. I look back at both of our adoptions, for example. I remember being genuinely concerned about how the adoption may effect our kids. The concern is valid but hindsight is so much richer. Yes, our children have been changed. They now argue over who will adopt first, or who will get to care for their younger sister and brother. They pray about missions and have an understanding of orphan care that most adults do not. I also think back on the time we hosted 3 little girls from Uganda, for 3 days. When they left, we all grieved. I remember Anna Grace sobbing because she couldn't understand why they couldn't be her sisters. We had many talks that we would never otherwise have had. Talks about how they are already our sisters, and what it means to be connected to other Christians around the world. Talks about what these children experience in their every day lives. Talks about how they want to be missionaries for God's Kingdom because of what they've seen and experienced. Yes, they've been hurt, there has been pain, and sometimes confusion. But God has always answered with His faithful healing and refining. Yes, they've been changed and we expect they'll be changed by this as well. Praise God! May we never shelter our children in order that we may "protect" them from truth. When we think we're doing something wise, we may actually be preventing them from truly understanding who our God is.
Is this situation ideal for Fu Yi? No. But while asking this hard question, we must consider another. Is it ideal that this child was abandoned right before her first birthday? Is it ideal that she sits in an orphanage with no one fighting on her behalf? Absolutely not. Adoption and orphan care is never plan A. In a perfect world, devoid the fall, these children would be loved by their biological fathers. But sin has prevailed in many of their lives and as believers in a loving God, we must be His hands and feet in working out His plan of redemption for these victims.
There's one answer to your question that outweighs every other answer I've given above.
As followers of Christ, it is our life's mission to know Christ fully and to make Him known to every soul in every nation. " Therefore go and make disciples of all nations..."(Matthew 28:18-20) We believe that God uses every means in order that we would fulfill His great commission. We know that God will use this hosting opportunity to work in Fu Yi's life. She will hear the gospel while she is here. We will remind her of it often. This will be, by far, the most important thing she receives while she is here. While we absolutely want to find a family to adopt her, our ultimate goal for Fu Yi is that she comes to love Christ. He is her saving grace. He is her key to salvation. If our goal as Christians is to make Him known, then this is exactly what we must do for Fu Yi. By hosting Fu Yi, we feel we are being obedient in Jesus' final call to make disciples of all nations. It's messy and it's painful. Hearts will be broken. But we want... God wants redemption for Fu Yi. We must remember what Jesus experienced in order to redeem souls.
I was an orphan. I was lost, separated from my father, scrounging on the floor of an orphanage, awaiting hell. I was comfortable in my misery. I didn't know I needed to be rescued. But God knew. And He knew it would cost everything in order to rescue me from that orphanage. And He loved me enough to do just that. He gave everything. He gave His dignity, His security and comfort, His spot on a heavenly throne, His life. He went to hell where He was completely separated from His own Father. He literally experienced what it means to be an orphan so that we could be adopted as sons into our Father's forever family, His eternal Kingdom! Did it hurt? You bet it did. Infinitely more than you could ever imagine. Was salvation of souls worth it? He promises it was. I pray that you see the gospel in our story. I pray that you see glory through the darkness.
We have to tread through the muck, and drag Fu Yi with us, in order to enter the other side. But her soul is at stake and it's worth the fight. We can't risk the possibility that she may never hear truthful, good news. Following Christ and being a part of fulfilling His will is difficult work. If we want to be like Jesus, if we want to be a picture of the gospel, we must be willing to carry our cross, even go to hell in order for souls to be redeemed. It's all His work but we are His vessels and we gladly go where He calls us in order to find even one lost soul. "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?" (Luke 15:4) Fu Yi's soul is too important to her Shepherd. We must be willing to face the pain, go wherever He leads, and do whatever is necessary, in order that she be found.
This subject has been discussed among friends who have hosted in the past. Here are some of their thoughts on the matter.
"I do worry that I will be inflicting more trauma, but at the same time, they only have 2 years until they age out. It's more traumatic to spend the rest of your life without a family. And I pray it not only helps these boys, but also other older boys who wait."
"This is the first time we've heard of this program and we never considered an older child. Now we will be bringing home 2 amazing children!"
"This child would have died had he not had the hosting opportunity with us. His file was way off, medically speaking and in general. Words typed on a paper cannot ever fully tell a family about a child but we were able to tell everyone about his adorable laughter, the way he was so polite and knew boundaries, the pictures we took to share with potential families were photos that were not staged. They were live action and spoke volumes about his development. No piece of paper could have ever told an interested family how absolutely precious and smart our little guy was! Hosting allows for all this and so much more! Our guy needed medical treatment ASAP (which was discovered by doctors here) and he received that. He now has a mommy and daddy who hold him and tell him his story, how he came to us so we could help him find them, and how we all love him to pieces!"
"This is probably the last shot for some of these kids. It's now or never."
"It's not perfect. It's not our first choice. It's our last choice. But more hard-to-place kids are coming out of the orphanages because of hosting. It's a heartbreaking journey, yes. But it's the last chance in a road of waiting and waiting."