So if you couldn’t tell, we’re pretty passionate about orphans here at Libby’s Boutique! While we may love fashion, our purpose behind it all is to help as many orphans as possible. Our ministry, Fashion and Faith, is dedicated to making real and lasting change in the lives of orphans by providing financial assistance from Libby’s Boutique to families who are actively adopting internationally.
Adoption is the most obvious way to help orphans. God commands us to take care of orphans many times in the Bible. The way my family chose to be obedient was by adopting our son from Latvia. I’m not going to lie; it was a long process! Paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork. Once we finished the paperwork, we had to hurry up and wait! Mac was definitely worth it though!
It all began in the spring of 2014. God started tugging on my mom’s heart to help orphans. We started searching for ways to make a difference and came across Project 143. They are a hosting organization that arranges for families to host orphans in their homes from Latvia, Ukraine, Krygystan, and Mexico for an extended period during the summer and at Christmas. Although they are not an adoption agency, their hope is that you'll fall in love and adopt. We did. :) Even though my husband and I were plenty busy with our two young daughters, we saw a picture of a 5 year old little boy named Janis on their website and just couldn't leave him behind in his orphanage for the whole summer. We prayed about it and then made the call that would forever change our lives! Although we didn't know it at the time. :)
That summer, between my parents and myself, we brought 3 Latvians to the great state of Kansas! We drove to Chicago to pick them up at the airport, and let me tell you, that was an emotional experience. All these kids getting off the planes and running to you because they know they are safe and wanted; at least for a short time. Many came with only the clothes on their backs and maybe a backpack with a few belongings. My parents hosted Rihards and Toms, both 13 at the time, and we, of course, had Janis(now known as Mac!) who had just turned 6. Rihards spoke pretty good English, Toms knew a bit, and Janis knew NONE. We got some really confused looks that summer and got real good at charades!
We hosted Janis through Project 143 again that Christmas. He flew back mid-January, and we started the process to adopt him right after. We first had to complete our homestudy, file with USCIS, and then complete our dossier. We submitted our dossier early summer and got the call at the end of July that we were headed to Latvia! We hosted Mac again that summer so we got to tell him right away we were coming to get him for good. That was a happy day in our house!
A week after hosting ended, Wylie, our two daughters, and I flew to Latvia. KC--> Chicago --> Finland --> Latvia! Long trip, but the girls loved it! Almost immediately we were able to travel to Mac's orphanage which was about 2 hours from Riga where we were staying. You should have seen the look on his face when we pulled up! He knew we were coming, but I think it finally sunk in when he saw us that he was finally going home.
We spent 28 days in Latvia, and it was the coolest experience ever! I can't even explain to you how beautiful that country is and how many awesome things my kids got to experience! The picture below I took from the top of St. Peter's Cathedral; breathtaking!
Even though Mac got to come home with us, Wylie had to go back for a court hearing in December and then Mac and Wylie both flew back in March to make it official. It was a whirlwind of a year, but it was all so worth it.
Adoption is a long, emotional process, but those kids are worth it and deserve to be in loving families. If God is tugging on your heart to look more into adoption, I encourage you to be obedient. The child involved won't be the only one changed for the better! :)
Yes, I love seeing kids united with families, but I do understand not all families are in a position to adopt. God doesn't call all of us to adopt, but He does call all of us to help orphans in some way. Below are 5 ways you can help orphans if adoption isn't right at the moment for you.
1. Pray: There are many scriptures that talk about God's love for orphans and His protective care over them. I truly believe one of the best things you can do to help orphans is pray for them. If you follow Fashion and Faith Ministries' Instagram page, @orphan.advocate, we post about a different orphan EVERY day! Including these children specifically in your prayer life would be a great place to start.
2. Host: Hosting changes lives! Orphans that are hosted get to witness what a loving family looks like; something many of them have never seen. Relationships are made, and when they return home, they know there is someone who truly cares for them. Most importantly, they are taught about the love of Jesus!! My son vaguely knew who Jesus was when we first hosted him. How sad! The picture above is my step-dad and Pavlo, a boy they hosted 3 different times from Ukraine. He had just picked Pavlo up from the airport in this picture. If you only knew the transformation that took place over those 3 separate hostings. The kid that would barely talk hugged me goodbye the last time I saw him. I still talk to him often!
Hosting an orphan doesn't mean you have to adopt them. You are able to advocate for them though! I've heard many stories where a family hosted and shared with others about what they were doing and then the child was adopted by another family because of that! Anything we can do to pour love and reassurance into these children's lives will stay with them even after they return home. It gives many of them hope they didn't have before.
3. Foster: Fostering is very similar to hosting. Even if these children don't stay in your life forever, you are given an opportunity to show them what a loving family should look like. I can tell you from teaching that many children do not have loving, functional, supportive families. You can make a huge impact in the short amount of time you have them!
4. Support an Adopting Family: Adoption is expensive, end of story. There are agency fees, lawyer fees, fees associated with the paperwork, travel fees, and the list goes on and on. The children are worth it though!! Most families have to fundraise to afford to adopt. It can be very uncomfortable to ask people for money. From experience, I can tell you what a relief it was every single time we got a donation or someone participated in a fundraiser. The money was appreciated, of course, but knowing you had the support of that person meant the world during such a trying time! If you aren't in a position to financially help, ask if you can help work a fundraising event, watch their children while they complete paperwork, and share their story with others.
5. Support Reputable Organizations: People are doing great things all around the world for orphans! There are reputable organizations that need your help to continue offering the type of care these children need. Love a Child is a ministry in Haiti that helps the poorest of the poor. They offer medical care, offer schooling for children, feed thousands of children and adults, and they provide an orphanage for abandoned and orphaned children. They are making a difference in the lives of orphans in Haiti, but they can't do it without outside support. They are one of many organizations that depend on financial resources to continue their work. I encourage you to do some research and find a missionary or group that is doing the Lord's work and help them prayerfully and/or financially.
Well there ya go! Whether you are considering adopting or not, here are 5 great ways to help the orphans in this world. God does not call all to adopt, but He does call all to help orphans in some way. If you'd like to know more about adoption, we'd love to visit with you! Thank you for shopping with Libby's Boutique. You are fashionably making a difference!