Tramell Family, Tennessee

It all started with a puppy!  We were not newbies to the plight of orphans. Eleven years ago, we followed God’s lead to our daughter in Ukraine.  Then, God led us to our son in Russia. We felt fairly knowledgeable about orphan care, which brings me to the puppy.  I was helping my mom find families for her litter of puppies and took one to meet an interested family. While watching the puppy play, I learned this family had hosted a child from Ukraine through Project 143.  God used a “chance” meeting to plant a seed and I couldn’t get hosting out of my mind.  That winter, our family participated in the Project 143 host program.  We invited a sibling set to spend Christmas with our family. With four children (ages 12, 10, 9 and 7), it was a crazy, exciting, exhausting 4 weeks!  I fell into bed each night wondering how I was going to have the energy to start the next day.  I felt more like a camp activities director than a parent.  I even caught myself counting the days until hosting ended.  As the weeks progressed, we wondered if we were making an impact on the children or just giving them a nice vacation.  We were considering adoption, but the idea of older children, especially a 10 year old boy, was terrifying.  At the close of the program, we went to the airport not knowing if adoption was God’s plan. Yet, as we said our goodbyes, it was the 10 year old boy who kept giving hugs, calling “goodbye” until his voice was drowned out, kept looking backwards until he was out of sight.  We proceeded with adoption.  God had a plan all along and used puppies to initiate it.  As mom to two former host kids, I learned we did make a difference during hosting.  My children talk about what we did that “first Christmas.”  They returned to the orphanage no longer feeling alone in the world.  They had a family.  Hosting makes a difference.  Not just “feed a child for a month” difference, but “I have a mom and dad” difference, regardless of whether they physically join your family.  If you need more help, I can set you up with a puppy…

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