Leaving Home, Coming Home

I don’t know what time it is.

I spent a week in Latvia with my family, and came back to the United States three days ago. My body wakes at odd hours.  I am mad productive at five in the morning and dragging at five in the evening. I’ve given up the figuring.

I live in the twilight time. The in between time. The space between time.

Now I’m sitting in another airport, preparing to fly again, back to Latvia.

I was in the USA for three days, but I had to leave so many behind in Latvia. And now I go again, leaving pieces of my heart scattered behind in the States, too.

I don’t know if I am coming home or leaving home.

All I know is that I straddle two places that hold parts of who I have become.

This time I go to Latvia as part of a mission team with New Horizons for Children.   We will visit orphanages and foster homes all over the country, meeting children who are hoping to participate in Christmas hosting. We will talk to the kids, hug them, interact with them, and write all the biographies for the photo listing that will be available next month.

There are three of us, and many children to see. It’s daunting at times, but what a privilege to listen to their stories, hear their hopes and dreams, and come alongside them in connecting with a family in America.

A few days ago, we had a video conference to discuss some of the logistics of the trip, and the director of NHFC was encouraging us to work together, especially where our soft spots might leave us a little vulnerable. And then she enumerated each of our soft spots. Guess what she said mine was?

Obnoxious teens.

It made me laugh and marvel all in the same moment. Years ago, I never would have labeled myself that way. I was a boy mama, or an artsy-kid lover.

But Sunshine has opened a whole new world to me. I always knew that I speak sarcasm well , but she made me realize how I commune with hearts that use it as a defense mechanism. Because I use it that way, too.

And I’ve come to realize that the ones I love the most, these outside-the-box ones, these left-of-center souls….they speak this language too.

We’re all a little bit obnoxious. It suits us, this shell we have created.

And I think of all these teens in Latvia, the ones who act so tough like they have it all together, when all they really want is unconditional love and someone to say, “Here, it’s okay to be real. It’s okay to be raw. It’s okay to not be perfect.”

And I think of all the kids doing life alone, believing that’s all there is. Not knowing what it’s like to have someone accept them for who they are or listen to their fears or help them plan for the future.

So, yeah, I’m a sucker for the obnoxious teens.

I sincerely hope some of you are as well.

And I hope, too, that some of you want to love the little ones, who express their loss in loud and rambunctious ways.

And that some of you are looking to the hearts of the tweens, those dear ones who desperately want to be “grown up” but still cling to a childhood they never got to fully experience.

I am traveling to bring these ones to you, to speak their hearts across the ocean. Many of them don’t even know that you are the thing that they need. They want to come to America, they want to experience the exotic. And what is waiting is you, and your love.

It changes everything.

It is what has led me here, to living a life in this twilight time, always in between holding the ones I have come to love.

It is what makes me save and scrimp for over a year, just to spend a week with all my children—together— in the land I love. It is what makes me prioritize being able to experience the adoption journey of Sprite first-hand. It is what makes me fill my apartment in Latvia with family and friends and hurting teens telling me their truths.

It is what makes me finish a vacation, and then turn around 96 hours later and fly back.

There are other children waiting to be changed.

Some of them live in Latvia in orphanages and foster homes. Some of them are snuggled in their beds upstairs as you read this (or they are playing outside in your yard or watching TV in the other room. I truly don’t have any idea what time it is!)

That’s the thing about hosting. It doesn’t just make a difference to the orphaned ones. It makes a difference in the hearts of the families who host, too. It is strange how it happens. I started out wanting to reach someone who was hurting, and I found myself soothed as a hole in my heart I never knew existed was filled. I wanted to bring hope to a lonely world, and I found my own life shining with a brilliance I never could have imagined.

And I cannot stand back and say now, after all I’ve experienced, that I’ve done my part, I’ve completed my task. No. It has instead opened my eyes to even more needs. It’s led me around the world and across time. It’s captured my very essence, and changed the color of my existence.

And so I sit in this space, this space in between time, in hopes of connecting some of you into a similar journey, of bringing the richness of these children into your very souls.

Please consider joining in on this adventure. Stay tuned.

4 thoughts on “Leaving Home, Coming Home

  1. I echo your thoughts, feelings and spirit when it comes to how hosting changes you. It opens you up so wide and hearts merge and melt together. I especially relate to the teens who have built a concrete bunker around their hearts. All they are looking for is what we all are looking for … Love, Acceptance and Understanding. Here’s to the left-of-centers

  2. Lu

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while but I’ve never wrote you anything.
    I just wanted to say I find you incredibly inspiring and I am very grateful that you share your thoughts, feelings and adventures.
    I think this out of the ordinary family you have created is great, and it really shows what family and love is all about.
    Hope you have a great trip and maybe in the future I can find a way to help this organization, because what it does really is amazing.

    • flora

      Thank you so much for the encouragement! I hope to update everyone on the trip soon, but the days are really long right now. Feel free to contact me any time if you’d like more information.

  3. […] met this darling Lost Boy in a McDonald’s of all places. I was traveling with New Horizons for Children, interviewing orphans who were hoping to be part of the Christmas hosting program, which would […]

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