River of Thoughts

Christine Royse Niles — Changing the world one word at a time

Hosting Masha

To lay the groundwork for 2012, I’m resurrecting and revising some of the key posts from the past that tell our story. This is a summary of the three weeks in August 2006 when we hosted Masha.

The group of host families gathered anxiously at about 11:45 PM in the hotel lobby to wait for the travelers. A unique combination of excitement, exhaustion, and nerves filled the room, as families practiced their greetings in Russian and clutched floppy stuffed animals. Right at 12:00, the call came out…”They’re HERE!” as the minivan pulled into the parking lot.

The next three weeks flew by in a flurry.  We did a lot of new things, we experienced a lot of funny moments, we learned a lot:

  • We discovered Masha was not a picky eater.
  • We browsed the Sunday newspaper ads, developed a list, and introduced Masha to Target.  Pink camouflage triumphed.
  • Masha met family and settled right into the pool and swing set.  She surprised us by being able to read a bible story in English (she didn’t understand the vocabulary, but she knew the English alphabet and sounds).
  • We celebrated her 12th birthday a week late (thanks, Uncle Eric, for sharing your day and making such an amazing Barbie Cake)
  • She arranged her room “just so.”
  • Through the kindness of friends, we borrowed a bike, Barbies, videos, and a Leap Pad, which all got heavy use.
  • She went to day-camp (run by the amazing incredible Anna Bogdon!)
  • We accidentally bought stickers.
  • We visited Science Central, the Children’s Zoo, and several other area attractions
  • We threw balls in the house; I learned how to shout like a Mom; balls stopped flying through the house.
  • We pierced her ears (with permission from the orphanage director!)
  • We got her glasses
  • we drove go-karts
  • we laughed
  • we cried
  • we fell in love
  • we said good-bye

The hosting program was designed to give the kids an experience in the US, to show them the love of the Father through the love of a family, and hopefully to inspire couples in the US to see the beauty of older children and consider that adoption can encompass more than just babies.

Part of the deal with the hosting program is that the kids were in the US on a short-term tourist visa, and it was essential that they return to Ukraine in time for their fall semester at school.  While all of the kids in our program found families willing to pursue their adoption, the process is long and requires a boatload of paperwork and permissions (more about that next week…).  We were not able to promise Masha that we would adopt her, we could only ask if she would like to be part of our family, and let her know that we would try.

Saying goodbye to her in a church parking lot on that muggy August morning was one of the hardest things I had done at that point in my life, but it was just the first step toward our new life together….





To see more photos and learn more about Masha’s hosting adventure, Click Here to see Masha’s Arrival and follow the links at the top of each page to read through the day-by-day account.

What’s the funniest story from your childhood?  Leave a comment….

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About Christine

I am a writer, a project manager, and a corporate refugee with a heart for orphans around the world. My two daughters were adopted from Ukraine at ages 12 and 14. I post about writing, chasing dreams, and making a difference in the world, and sometimes I share fun snippets of fiction in-progress.

9 Replies

  1. :) Awesome and inspiring story, Christine! Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

    1. Christine

      Thanks! Lots more where that came from….Next Friday is the summary of the five weeks we spent in Ukraine!

  2. wow, that is an amazing start to a beautiful story Christine!

    1. Christine

      Thanks, Chris. Every family’s story is beautiful in its own special way…ours is just different from most!

  3. The hosting program sounds like an awesome program for those who’d like to adopt. So glad you shared your experience with us! :)

    1. Christine

      Louis, it definitely is an amazing program, and there are several organizations that do this for older children. Because of the child protection laws in Ukraine, the hosting programs are completely separate from the adoption referral process, but it’s still a great way to give these kids an experience filled with hope and love, and to let familes “test the waters” and discover the blessing that an older child can be. And when God works it out to connect the dots through adoption….all the better!

  4. What a great story…I’m new to this blog, and I’m glad you reposted this.

    1. Christine

      Thanks for stopping by, Benjer. I’m excited for you and your family on your new adoption journey!

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