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As soon as Lidiya arrived it was already too late.
It all began when on a women’s retreat when April McLaughlin was introduced to New Horizons, an international hosting program for orphaned children. McLaughlin immediately felt a calling from God to reach out to these orphans and give them a stable, godly, loving home that these children would otherwise never know.
This past summer young Lidiya traveled all the way from the Ukraine to stay in the McLaughlin’s home. She was not available for adoption yet so the family tried their best to not get attached.
“We tried to keep our wall up because we knew she wasn’t eligible for adoption but after only three weeks we had already fallen in love with her,” Mrs. McLaughlin said.
As apart of host program requirements, the McLaughlin’s saw to it that Lidiya was provided with all over her dental and eye care needs during her stay. Wake Dental Care donated their services completely free and Cary Vision Care also graciously reached out to the family.
After the rewarding experience of hosting Lidiya, Mrs. McLaughlin decided to embark on a mission trip to Ukraine where she visited different orphanages throughout the country and spent her time meeting with children and finding out exactly what they wanted.
While over there, Mrs. McLaughlin received the best birthday present she could possibly imagine—an unanticipated stop in Lidiya’s orphanage.
“I went in and saw her living space and her school. I even got to meet her brothers, Andre and Vlad. Seeing it makes you appreciate what you have. Appreciate what you have that you take for granted,” Mrs. McLaughlin said.
By the time Mrs. McLaughlin has visited the second and third orphanages she was already moved to tears.
“I asked the children what their top three wishes are and they said they didn’t have three wishes. They only had one—to have a loving family,” Mrs. McLaughlin said.
Upon leaving the last of the orphanages, Mrs. McLaughlin described how a little boy ran outside in the pouring rain, insisting on waving goodbye to her group— frantically waving to generate the slightest glimmer of hope for a loving family one day.
During her visit to Lidiya’s orphanage, Mrs. McLaughlin found out the encouraging news that Lidiya was in fact now eligible for adoption as were her brothers. The McLaughlin’s constant prayers and dreams of creating a loving future with these orphans seemed to be turning into a hopeful reality.
This December the McLaughlins are looking forward to hosting Lidiya in their home again for a very special Christmas. This time, however, her brothers Andre and Vlad will accompany her.
“Every Christmas is special but this one will be even more meaningful because these children will be our gift, a gift of love, especially if we end up adopting,” Mrs. McLaughlin said.
After her visit to the Ukrainian orphanages this past summer, Mrs. McLaughlin has made it her commitment to not only possibly adopt but to spread awareness on the harsh reality behind many of these orphanages.
Most of these orphans, unless adopted, are released to the streets at the age of 16. These children end up searching the streets for food and shelter and are often picked up by sex trafficking predators.
According to Amy Richey, a missionary for EFCA’s Reach Global, traffickers target the most vulnerable.
“The most vulnerable in Ukrainian society today are kids currently living on the streets, and/or kids that are just coming out of the orphanages. Fifty percent to sixty percent end up in some sort of a trafficked situation,” Richey told Charisma News.
The McLaughlins realize that most of these children who are turned out to the streets face a world of lies, hurt, drugs, and prostitution. The family is committed to raising awareness on this devastating issue and is willing to adopt three teenagers from Ukraine if they can raise the money.
“Love knows no language. These orphan children feel that they have no hope and will not know what it is to have a Christmas,” Mrs. McLaughlin said.
It will take the McLaughlin’s $50,000.00 to accomplish their goal of adopting Lidiya and her brothers Andre and Vlad.
The McLaughlin’s ten-year-old son, Coby, also welcomed the possibility of three additional kids to the household, even when his mom asked, “Well what if they gang up on you?”
“It doesn’t matter mom. We’re saving an orphan, a child… a human being,” Coby said
The family will be hosting a silent auction and hot dog dinner at Hope Chapel, Saturday, Nov. 19 from 5-7 p.m. in an effort to raise money for the cause. They are encouraging all who are touched by their story to come in support or consider prayer as they continue to try to make their dream of adoption a reality.
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