This isn’t the post I was going to write today, but when something grabs my heart and shakes it, I figure I have two choices: I can wait until it settles down to respond, or I can move while I’m still in turmoil. With things like I want to write today, I have to write while it’s raw. I have to write while I feel it, or I am being disobedient. I have to move on what I’m feeling because it’s something God has stirred in me….and really, if it’s something God has stirred in me, it won’t settle down, anyway.
At the Allume conference last month, I met an incredible woman named Dawn. She was at one of the sponsor’s tables, and honestly, I hadn’t intended to stop there. I didn’t intend to use that particular break in the day’s schedule to meander through the sponsors, but when I glanced at the things on her table I saw a bracelet….a bracelet with my life verse hammered into it just the way God hammered it into my own heart a few years ago.
I stopped walking and while I fiddled with my wallet to get the money out for the bracelet, Dawn started a conversation. She wanted to tell me about her organization: who they are, what they do, why they are there. I listened, but I didn’t know I was about to be undone.
Dawn works with Project 143, an orphan hosting program, to find forever families for some of the estimated 143 million orphans around the world. Through their hosting program older children, special needs children, and sibling sets – those frequently overlooked in the adoption process – come to the United States for between four and eight weeks to live with a host family. During that time, the family does nothing but include the child in their everyday lives, loving them as one of their own….and at the end of the host period, should the family feel led to do so, they may adopt the orphaned child into their family.
I buckled my new bracelet (which helps to fund P143 – more on that coming soon) onto my wrist, there in the hotel lobby and mouth agape, I just stared at Dawn. She told me story after story after story of God moving in ways that only God can in order to bring His precious children into the families He had prepared for them. Hosting a child does not in any way require the family to eventually adopt them, but simply allows the child to be exposed to life outside an orphanage…and in many cases does connect them with their forever family. Sometimes the child is adopted into their host family. Sometimes the child is adopted by someone else they met during their stay in the United States, and sometimes the child returns to their home country having made a relationship with a passionate advocate who longs to see them placed in with a family forever. (Statistically, children over the age of 6 or so have a near-zero percent chance of being adopted. Being hosted, however, ups those odds to near seventy percent.)
I wrote Dawn last week and told her the truth: that I can’t stop thinking about the stories she told me. I am completely undone by the work that they are doing. I don’t know my place in the work they are doing, but I know that today I have to use my voice to tell others about it. If you want to know more, please visit their website and read through the stories of families and children’s lives who have been utterly transformed through the amazing work of Project 143. God is working through them. His heart is for the orphans, and He isn’t finished writing their stories.
There are literally millions of children in orphanages today, and so, so many of them will age out of the system, graduating into adulthood without ever knowing the love of a family…the hug of a mama…the comfort of a home. I don’t even know what to say, but P143 has found a way to DO something. God honors that in a big way.
These two videos tell the story of what P143 better than I can. Watch (with tissues)…share…be amazed.