Vlad’s Story: The Prequel & The Beginning
You know, sometimes I think we spend a lot of time denying ourselves happiness and joy in life.
Who in their right mind would turn down joy? That would be absurd, would it not?
But every time someone tells me they could never do that–
They could never have x amount of children because it would be too exhausting/expensive/scary/whatever.
They could never host or foster a child because it would be too hard to send them back. It’s not fair to love them and then send them back to their everyday lives.
They could never adopt one of those children, because the cost is too high and the risk is too great.
Every time someone tells me they could never do that thing, all I can think of is the joy they are missing out on.
The moment you teach an 11 year old boy to ride a bike for the first time. The look of complete pride and self confidence on his face when he realizes yes, he can actually do it. Your heart might explode just watching him.
When a child is so traumatized and abused that she vomits on herself on purpose multiple times a day so that no one will touch her, when she spends hours in the corner refusing any contact, and then one day your persistent love cracks that shell, and she’s suddenly alive. She could be still in the orphanage, sitting in a corner alone covered in her own vomit and urine. But today she isn’t. Today, in this moment, she knows she is safe and loved. It may not be forever, but the seeds are planted and she will carry that memory of love with her when she goes.
Do you know the joy that comes with pouring yourself into these vulnerable children and witnessing their transformation? There are no words for the way it feels.
To witness broken souls realizing they are noticed, loved, seen…chosen.
When a child comes to you legally blind in one eye…
And then you have the privilege of helping her to see clearly for the first time ever. The look of happiness on her face! So much joy it’s almost too much for one person to handle.
Even just to see children arrive at the airport, stepping off the plane in ill fitting mismatched clothing, carrying the only possessions they own in ratty backpacks, yet knowing they are returning to families who love them…
Each of these joyful moments deeply impacts who you are as a person.
There are many things that aren’t easy, so many moments of weakness or struggle. But the joys, oh friends if you ever take one risk in life please let it be one like this. It’s worth every single moment of heartbreak or frustration you may encounter along the way. I can promise you that.
Here’s a secret: These are not selfless acts. When I first felt the joy of loving these kids it was unexpected. After all, you’re doing it to help the kids, right?
As it turns out the kids are the ones helping you just as much as you help them.
I fully believe these moments are what it means to truly live. To suck the marrow from the bones of life, so to speak. You don’t have to be brave, or rich, or any other adjective. You just have to leap with your arms open wide and stop denying yourself the joy of sharing love with the ones who need it most.
I know not everyone can host, foster, or adopt children for a multitude of reasons.
This is why I love social media: Every single one of those joy-filled moments pictured above, along with hundreds more moments that are too numerous to mention here, have been made possible by you all.
Can you believe that?!
Unfortunately even with the non-profit groups I’ve hosted through bringing children here for hosting costs money. Plane tickets, chaperones, visas, passports, train tickets to the airport…none of it is free.
But you all have generously contributed to make every single one of these moments possible. If ever you doubt there is good in the world, take heart because this is evidence that surely there is.
Fundraising makes me feel all awkward inside, however it totally ends up being worth it in the end.
If you’d like to contribute to a new story, Vlad’s Story…well, here’s your chance.
Honestly, we couldn’t do any of this without your help. I mean that. I don’t have a bank account with thousands in savings that I could be using or anything.
And even if you are unable to contribute this time around, know that Tyler and I along with Tanya, Misha, Mariana, Igor (4x!), and hopefully soon Vlad as well are forever grateful for all of the love and support we’ve experienced.