Nothing has surprised me more since reaching adulthood than my passion as a mother. I wasn’t one of those girls who daydreamed about being a parent someday, and it shocked me when quietly, overnight almost, I woke as a young newlywed with this small, beautiful dream to have a baby. I was in the midst of what I’d previously believed to be my greatest goal: pursuing a successful military career. And while my Air Force service is something of great pride for me to this day, it is these littles littering my house with their toys and laughter that keep me most occupied and inspired.
Really, the surprises just keep coming… I’ve come to expect it as part of the process. Hours-long hiccup episodes, a 4-year-old who believes truly with every inch of his heroic heart that he IS Captain America, a sweet and sassy daughter after a string of adventurous boys… They surprise us with their antics, their complex, unique personalities, and of course, as most every parent will testify, how they challenge us to continually grow as individuals.
The largest twin surprise to date? How absolutely freaking hard it is to be a parent, and how extraordinarily rewarding it is at the same time.
Throughout it all, we’ve shocked ourselves and many who know us as we keep venturing further out: More babies and moves across the world and back again. Certainly as a 20-year-old, freshly married Airman First Class, I never imagined that within the next decade I’d birth five children, much less live in a country I’d never heard of until Ben came across the assignment listing. Yet our military life seems to mirror in many ways the broader journey God has us on, at least for now: of constant movement, of times of rest sprinkled throughout times of challenge, like that muscle-burning hike after a languid nap beneath a shaded tree.
This summer we’ll be welcoming a pair of sisters from Eastern Europe into our home through a 5-week, Christian-based orphan hosting program called New Horizons For Children. We initially heard of it when a good friend and her family hosted a sweet girl over the Christmas holiday last year. Their story seems so much bigger than anything we can imagine for ourselves: an achingly gorgeous tale of, yes, a God-given surprise and gift. The experience changes the host family as much as it provides a rare opportunity for these children to visit a new country and blossom in the the environment of a loving family. Just as our own parenting experience keeps proving to us, we have heard from our friends and others who have walked this road that these kids will shake you up in the very best way… just another surprise inevitably behind the door when you reach out with trembling, unsure hands and pray to love as God would have you. Even with a full house, even with full schedules, we believe we have more room in our hearts to show these sisters the comforting warmth of a stable family that loves them as they are, just as our Father in heaven loves us.
New Horizons is a hosting–not an adoption–program, though many families (or others who meet the children while they’re being hosted) go on to adopt afterward. Our focus for now is to prepare our hearts and home for these girls and love them well while they’re here… remaining open to however He leads during and after our time together. I’ll update soon with more information, but in the meantime, we’d deeply appreciate your prayers as we look ahead to this summer.
You can find out more about New Horizons For Children here.