Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A DIFFERENT KIND OF MOTHER

As this month of discussing mothers and motherhood draws to a close, I wanted to mention a different kind of mothering. My husband and I have a heart for orphans, particularly the children of Eastern Europe. Statistics from reputable sources reveal stark realities for those kids who are turned out on the streets, uneducated and without resources at the age of 15 or 16. Sixty percent of the girls will end up in the sex slave industry and seventy percent of the boys in a life of crime.

Why am I discussing this here? Because a few years ago we felt God calling us to do something. So we signed up to host a Ukrainian orphan. The tiny six-year-old arrived in oversized, stinking boots, ill-fitting, dirty clothes, reeking with body odor, and starved for food and attention. Our lives were forever changed by this beautiful, resilient little spirit.

Long story short, we tried to adopt her but Ukraine was in political turmoil and closed the doors to Americans for a time. We fell on our knees, prayed and fasted until somehow in His great love, God moved a mountain. In a country where only one percent of orphans are ever adopted, a young American couple ‘happened’ to squeeze through the rapidly closing window of opportunity and adopted the child and her sister. (They still send us photos.)

We rejoiced, happy to know she would never eat potato peelings and dog scraps again. But our hearts would not let us stop with one. Since that time, we have hosted a child at least once a year and then advocated for each child’s adoption. (Because of our age, Ukraine will not allow us to adopt.) All but one of our girls has now found a loving home. I continue to pray for Vika and I write to her regularly, send gifts, school supplies, clothes, and anything she needs. While I am not her mother in person, I am her mother through God's love.

Each time we host we say, “This is the last time.” Letting the child go hurts too much. But God won’t let us stop. And so later this summer, we take the plunge again. This time a teenager will come, a teenager who never had a mother to tuck her in or brush her hair. A teenager who cried in the dark and no one came to comfort when she was sick or afraid.

After this summer though, for the rest of her life, she will have a mother-albeit a long distance one-and I count it both joy and privilege to be that different kind of mother.

Now that I’ve brought this up, I’m curious. Have any of you hosted or fostered or adopted or felt the call to care for the fatherless?

8 comments:

Janet Tronstad said...

Linda -- Thank you for your post. What a wonderful thing -- you are absolutely right that the world needs more than biological mothers; it also needs 'heart' mothers. What precious experiences you have had.

Missy Tippens said...

Wow, what an amazing thing you're doing, Linda! I have to say that whenever I see those ads on the TV (Sally Struthers comes to mind), I ache to be able to do something to help. I've never thought of doing what you're doing. I'd love to hear more about the organization you go through.

(P.S. Linda is traveling, so we may not hear back from her for a while.)

Project Journal said...

Linda,
I may only be 17, but I know a true heroine when I see one. I think that it's absolutely incredible, what you do. I have always thought that it would be a really interesting experience to invite a foreign exchange student or an orphaned child(like what you did), but unfortunately we have never done it. I think that once I am older and have a house of my own, I would definitely love trying to proceed with this goal.
Thank you for being such a great role model for us dreamers in the world,
Hannah

Lyn Cote said...

Linda, Now I know why you always look happy. You give love freely. I've been trying to find out what my new mission here in WI will be. God bless your "children."
And who says you're not YOUNG???

Linda Goodnight said...

Janet, Lyn, and Missy,

Thanks for posting while I was in flight. I am now safely in the Big Apple!

Please know I didn't blog about hosting orphans to make myself look good!. But thank you for the sweet comments. I'm a zealot about orphans and I saw a chance to talk about them. The kids we've hosted have all blessed us and changed us far more than we have effected them.

Missy, I've hosted with a number of groups. Two reputable ones are URGEX and Frontier Horizon. A Christian friend of mine who has worked in Ukraine for years is doing a hosting this year for the first time. The kids are adorable!! Check out www.hiskidstoo.org

Linda Goodnight said...

Hannah,

Your post blessed me. For a 17 year old to have a heart for those less fortunate is just awesome. Thank you!

Missy Tippens said...

Linda, thanks for the info. I just checked out the websites.

That video is amazing!

Project Journal said...

Linda,
You are too kind! You are the one who posted the original post!
Hannah : )