“For the last few weeks, you have become like my relatives. I’ll never forget spending the brightest days of my life with you.
Thank you for showing me love and affection.” These are the words of Sasha, a 16 year-old orphan from Ukraine. This past summer, my family had the privilege of hosting Sasha in our home for six weeks. She was one of eight orphans who made the trip from Ukraine as part of the Roads of Hope inaugural hosting program. The goal of the program is simple: Give orphans the opportunity to visit America, experience a family, and hopefully find a family that they can call their own.
Prior to Sasha’s arrival at our home, we spent weeks preparing. We created a warm, inviting guest bedroom for her as a relaxing retreat. We reminded our children to be kind and patient with the complete stranger who was about to occupy their living quarters. And we humbled our hearts with prayer and thanked God for the opportunity that was before us. However, what we did not anticipate was how quickly we would grow to love Sasha as one of our own. From the first glimpse of her contagious smile at the airport, we instantly connected and she immediately became a part of our family. Sasha was grateful, humble, joyful, and easy to love. We bonded over American cheeseburgers at the dinner table and late night girl talks with Oreos and milk. We cried together, laughed together, prayed together, and worshiped together. I thought living with someone who didn’t speak English would be our greatest challenge, but I was wrong. Saying goodbye was by far the most difficult part of this experience. We chose to host Sasha in an effort to bless her, but by summer’s end, my family and I were the ones who received the greatest blessing.
Currently, Sasha is in the process of being adopted by a family in our hometown of Mobile, Alabama. We are so excited that Sasha will finally have a family and that we will remain part of her life.