I spent a glum weekend wondering if I had indeed messed up this hosting opportunity for four beautiful Latvian children. I imagined their faces falling as they were told they couldn't come to America. Little Eltons wouldn't be able to see the horse he'd always wanted to. Precious Liga wouldn't get to play dolls with my girls. Samanta and Valerija wouldn't get to be a part of a family. Yes, I was pretty down this weekend.
I did a lot of praying.
I did some research on Latvia as well.
The funny thing is, I know LOTS about Estonia, Latvia's northern neighbor. In fact, I just returned from Estonia a few weeks ago. My roots are Estonian. Interestingly enough, my Estonian grandfather worked as a missionary in Latvia before World War II brought his work and his life to an abrupt and bloody end. After my father immigrated to America, he sponsored a Latvian family to come here. We are still friends with them to this day. But I really know very little about Latvia.
What I discovered this weekend shocked me, particularly in regards to orphans.
Since the fall of Communism (around 1991), drug use has sky-rocketed by 600%. Communism stripped Latvia of its religious heritage and replaced it with a spiritual vacuum. After Latvia's liberation, it became a ship adrift in a fast changing world with no moral compass. As expected, the children suffer.
A staggering 50% of girls who age out of orphanages in Latvia will become a prostitute within two years. The statistics aren't much better for Latvian boys. For those boys who age out of orphanages, 40% will commit suicide within their first two years out. Which of these four will either become a prostitute or die by suicide?
Their future is bleak.
But ... a bright spot just opened up.
I got an email a little while ago saying that all was okay with our application and we are BACK ON TRACK!
Plus, thanks to some very generous donors, we have already raised 11% of our needed funds towards bringing these kids home.
Maybe we'll get to show Eltons that horse after all.
Thank you, Jesus!
Oh, and about that giveaway...
Our winner is ... DAVID MORENO! Congratulations, David!
Want to be a part of bringing Valerija, Samanta, Liga, and Eltons home for the holidays? You can donate (and be eligible for our next giveaway) at: http://www.active.com/donate/winter2012/valerijasamantaligaeltons