I have had the privilege of hosting some dear friends for the past 7 weeks (well I was gone for 3 of those weeks!).
Clarke and Kris Stoesz have been staying with my while they have been completing the adoption of their daughter Samantha Rose. This has been one of those long stories in the making, as they waited over a year for their lovely daughter to be available for adoption. We brought Samantha (then Ana) on a hosting/camp trip to the US in the summer of 2010 in partnership with Ukraine Orphan Outreach and it was there that she met the Stoesz family... and well, you know how the story goes! A connection was made to say the least. It took a long while for everything to get in order with Samantha's documents, but I was thrilled to learn that this Christmas season would be the time to welcome the Stoesz family to Ukraine!
Clarke and Kris are on my list of heroes of the faith. This is their 4th (yep that's right- you read 4) adoption and their love and dedication towards the orphans of Ukraine continue to inspire me. I've had the privilege of partnering with them in ministry for about 4 years now as we have teamed up to bring kids to the US for summer camps and have partnered together in continuing relationships with the kids in the orphanages. They seek to glorify God in all they do and I see that their ministry is truly one that seeks what is always best for the children. Not to mention the fact that they appreciate all things Ukrainian and have such a love for this country. They also have quite the sense of adventure and managed to take overnight trains to 3 separate regions of Ukraine while they were here--despite the fact that they only had to be in Kiev for their adoption! Gotta love adventure- right?
Samantha, Kris, Rhya and Natalie
Though I love opening my home to all the different families I've met on this 'hospitality' journey-- I always count it as a true honor when I get to open my home to people that I already consider dear friends. And after sharing a living space for over 4 weeks I'd say we've earned the right to say we are even closer! Nothing like brushing your teeth together to be bonded for life!
Their daughters Rhya and Natalie (also adopted from Ukraine- pictured above) were able to be a part of the adoption adventure for the first month and it was fun getting to know their spunky personalities while they were here in Kiev. It was a full house and I wouldn't have had it any other way!
Since returning from the US last week I have so enjoyed the time I've had getting to know sweet Samantha. What a precious young lady she is and a joy she has been to have in my home. She has got to be one of the most helpful kids and I've yet to hear an ounce of complaining come out of this girl's mouth. I'm going to miss her sweet smile (and the after dinner dish washing too!). I know she will be a huge blessing to the Stoesz family-- as she has been the missing piece to their family puzzle.
I know my home will feel the void of the Stoesz family when they get on that airplane on Friday-- but I know my heart will be fuller as a result of the time they spent with me! (Cue heart warming music here). :)
** As of now I have families scheduled through February 12th!
*To read more of their story and adventure click HERE