I shared previously about Linzey and her husband Pete who hosted ‘S’ this summer. I’m not going to say any more, but just let you read what Linzey wrote about their goodbyes on Wednesday: *Warning, it’s good/emotional*
Wednesday night Pete and I had to do the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do – Put our sweet “S” on a plane back to Eastern Europe. UGGH! It sucked!
The days leading up to his departure he would look at me, I knew what he was thinking. He didn’t have to say anything, he’d pout out his bottom lip and I’d do the same. I’d say, ”It’s okay” and he’d look down, “Es not okay” It took everything I had not to break down in front of him. Try to be strong for him, be positive. The only thing I could come up with was, it’ll be good to see your brother and sister. We went shopping and bought some things to take back to them- something to be excited about. I packed up his bag asking him what he wanted to bring and what he wanted to leave. His favorite toys he wanted to leave here… “Big boys take toys” making a punching in the face motion. “This good, this little boys like” going through everything, one at a time. “This stay here, Mama you play” handing me his favorite toys in fear they will make him a target.
We spent every day doing something or going somewhere. He is definitely on the hyperactive spectrum. Keeping him busy was not much of a challenge, but I was afraid his trip out here might be more focused on doing things than about connection and God. My worries were laid to rest our last days together. I asked him what his favorite thing was about America and he said “You and Papa”
We took him out for our last lunch and talked about things that were on our mind, at one point he talked about his future, he translated into the phone, ”when I’m 18 I will no longer live in the orphanage.”
When children “age out” they are on the streets, on their own, and labeled as an orphan for life. There is little hope for their future and to hear him tell us that so matter-of-fact broke my heart. He’s only 9 and he’s accepted the thought that he’ll be in an orphanage until he’s 18! I know he has some hope that his mom will come for him, but she probably won’t, as it’s been over two years… He isn’t bitter towards his mother and father, he isn’t angry at his situation; he accepts this as his sad future. I pray for his future, his safety his happiness. I pray we can see him again and pray God will open doors.
The time came to leave our house. He gave a hug and a kiss to all the dogs. I was busy gathering things and when I made my way to the door, there he was, wrapped up in Pete’s arms in a silent hug; Both of them crying, frozen together. I walked up and kissed him on the head and he pulled me in. He squeezed me tight and I could tell he was not only sad he was scared. Scared to go back to his life and scared to be forgotten. I told him that we’d call and write him, we’d be praying for him, be thinking of him all the time and miss him every day.
On the ride to the airport he recorded some messages to family saying bye. I asked him to record one for us and it melts my heart every time I listen to it. “Thank you Mama, thank you Papa, I love you so much.”
We walked him to the escalator got on our knees, held hands and prayed. We prayed for God to watch over him, keep him safe and comfort him. We prayed for safe travels and we prayed we would meet again. He looked away as he cried and prepared himself for goodbye. We gave him one last hug and watched as he went up the escalator. He gave a wave to us at the top of the stairs then he was gone. ☹
I’m overwhelmed with sadness. I knew I would love this boy, but I had no idea how much it would sting when he left. I’m sad. I’m sad he has to leave, sad he is where he is, sad he is an orphan, sad because he doesn’t deserve it, sad I cant protect him. These last 5 weeks I’ve been responsible for him and with him 24-7 it feels so weird to not have him around. The house is quiet, the dogs are confused and Pete and I are bummed. As much as this sucks, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. This has been the best 5 weeks and by far the coolest thing Pete and I have done. I know “S” has been changed. I know he feels loved and he has hope. He knows that he is deserving of love and a family he knows there are people out there who care and are willing to share their lives with him. This was so worth it!
Some people ask “Isn’t it mean to have them here just to send them back?” Yes, yes it is mean to send them back. It’s heartbreaking and cruel but what is worse is doing nothing. We can ask why, we can feel sorry, we can send them things, but we also have the power to do something and make a difference.
We called his orphanage and got to talk to him late last night. He sounded sad, said he missed us. I look forward to calling him each week, hearing his voice, and telling him that we love him. I look forward to the winter, hopefully having him out for the Holidays, and seeing him again. He wants to return so badly! We aren’t allowed to talk about it. A lot can happen between now and December and previously children were shattered when they couldn’t come after being told by their host parents they were returning. I don’t want to give him false hope; I don’t want to defy his trust in us. But, if he’s available we will definitely have him out again hopefully his brother too.
Thank you all for your support, love, prayers and donations to make this journey a possibility. We have done the best we know how and we have been blessed in return with the opportunity to get to know such a wonderful child. We had no idea just how life changing this would be and are so grateful for the opportunity to love someone we didn’t even know existed. In total there were nearly 300 orphans who got the chance to come to America this summer. Many more were devastated to not get chosen to come and I’m praying more families will open their homes to host them over the winter. This is just the story of one child, there are 143 million orphans in the world all deserving of a family, and even if it’s only for 5 weeks it can be life changing.
Keep this family and little S in your prayers! Thank you! <3