Lost in Translation

IMGP9007I can’t even begin to describe how fun it is to have someone in my home who speaks the language that I love so deeply. I am thoroughly enjoying speaking Russian again, though it is just rusty enough that I stumble over just about everything I say.

For example, yesterday I told “K” that I was a writer and pointed to my desk. “That’s where I sit and pee all day,” I said.

“I write” and “I pee” are veeeeeery similar in the Russian language, just FYI. Mix up the tenses and you have yourself a bit of an awkward sentence. Luckily, I caught myself and corrected the dialogue quickly, but not before she and I had a good laugh.

Communicating the very basic things has become the most humorous. How to use the shower, what to do with toilet paper (our countries deal with this issue differently), personal hygiene situations. These are all conversations that I have never had in Russian before! Heck, I haven’t had to have some of these awkward conversations in English with my own child – now I’m communicating them in Russian with a teenager who barely knows me.

Thank goodness she has a good sense of humor, and she is extremely laid back.

I caught a glimpse of a few of the emotional wounds she’s experienced yesterday, and once again, I wished my language were better. I know enough to hear the heartache, but not enough to hold onto it. There is time, though. Time for her to develop a greater sense of trust. Time for me to listen more. Time for us to work together to place a balm on these emotional wounds.

We went to Super Target yesterday. Everyone should experience Super Target with a seventeen year old who’s never seen a supermarket in her life. She was silent, wide-eyed, and completely overwhelmed. I had her try on shoes, and she looked at all the selections, then looked at me completely flabbergasted.

Ah, Target – The International Love Language of Females.

Today we’ll go clothes shopping. She needs shorts – you know…because it’s going to be 80 degrees in Florida this weekend. I also plan on introducing her to Chick-fil-A, because I believe she needs to experience the blessed chicken sandwich, hand breaded on a bun with two pickles and a dash of the Holy Spirit.



rainbowloomShe’s experienced the Rainbow Loom kit already, and our boys subjected her to The Wobble last night. It’s a dance. There are really no descriptions for it – you should just look it up.

Tonight we’re going to watch a movie. I’m not sure which one yet. I’m trying to decide what would be a good, introductory movie for someone with limited language. Elf? Too crazy, too soon? We’ll see…

This sweet girl doesn’t quite know what to do with herself here, yet. We’re going to change that, one ridiculous dance and movie at a time.


Why Orphan Hosting?


As we prepare to welcome “K” into our family this holiday season, I thought I’d answer a few questions that have been asked of us. When we signed up for this orphan hosting program, I wasn’t 100% convinced I wanted to go through with it.

But the more Lee and I talked about this, and researched the program, the more excited we became to be a part of this very unique ministry. We committed to host “K” a day before the deadline, and within a couple of weeks had made all the necessary payments, filled out the paperwork, and we were officially welcomed as host parents.

The purpose of bringing these children into our homes for a few weeks is multifaceted. First and foremost, as host families our desire is to show children that they are loved. We want them to know that they hold value in this world, particularly these young kids who are living full time in state run orphanages. Hosting is a chance for a child to experience a different culture, which widens their view of the world, and opens their minds to possibilities outside the walls of their home.

Image-1Children who age out of the orphanages at young ages are some of the most vulnerable in the world. Girls are more likely to wind up in sex trafficking and prostitution when they “graduate,” and boys are more likely to end up in prison. If we can give them the knowledge and understanding that their lives, their bodies, their minds, are valuable, perhaps we can prevent some of these casualties of poverty.

Orphan hosting also raises adoption awareness. When people are able to see and touch a child without a family, they are more drawn to the possibility of adoption. The doubts are less obvious in the presence of a child looking for love. New Horizons for Children, the hosting agency we are working with, is not an adoption agency and these children are not brought to the States to “find a family.” But many families are so impacted by the experience that they’re moved to adopt.

Orphan hosting widens our comfortable, Western view of the world just as much as it does the children who come to visit. Remember, hope isn’t only slow for those trapped in hard situations. It’s slow for us who are trapped in wealth and comfort, too.

Yesterday, Shaun posted a great article about the difference that urgency makes in our desire and ability to act on our passions. My sense of  urgency lies in orphan care. I thought that this urgency, born out of a passion, would have a different result, and maybe it still will…someday. But right now, here in the interim, Lee and I know we cannot sit idle.

Urgency combined with passion must manifest in some sort of action. We’ve chosen to follow the path of orphan hosting for this season of waiting. Perhaps it will open a new door, or send us down a different path. Maybe “K” will leave and we will remain in the same position of waiting and wondering what’s next. I’m not quite sure.

All I know is we can’t ignore this sense of urgency that we feel.

For the next month we will pour into this young woman with all the love we possess. We have no preconceived notions on how this experience will be for our family, but both Lee and I have a true peace and mounting excitement for how our Christmas will be affected.


Sloan has sweetly given up his room for the month, and also let me make it all girly for “K.”

Pray for us these next four weeks as we walk this new path?

Thanks, everyone! We will keep you posted and will share pictures when we can!