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Empty Space, Full of Grace

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For three weeks in December, seven incredible children from Colombia had the opportunity to experience the Christmas holiday season with host families in Texas. The children got a taste of Christmas in America. They baked Christmas goodies, decorated Christmas trees, attended Christmas programs and drove around neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights.

They also got a taste American family life. They ate American meals around the dining room table, watched movies snuggled together on the couch, fought over the Wii controls, helped out with family chores and were tucked into bed each night.

The host families’ homes were full of life and laughter. It’s hard not to laugh sometimes when you are trying to communicate through charades. Each home was bubbling over with the energy and excitement that accompanied the children. They brought their curiosity, playfulness and humor. They brought their confusion, apprehension and fear. Given that many of the children were teenagers, they also brought their share of adolescent angst and attitude.

Simply put, they brought themselves. They took a risk, left everything familiar behind and made a choice to experience something new. They were much braver than many adults I know.

On Dec. 27, the host families and children gathered to say farewell. There were plenty of tears and hugs, just like the day they met. But there was a big difference. The host families were holding a child they knew. When they said good-bye, they knew this child did not like meatloaf. They knew this child loved to create things. They knew this child could dance and had the moves to prove it. They knew this child loved to sing at the top of her lungs. They knew this child longed for a stunning purple dress to wear for her quinceañera celebration. They knew this child had a dream of becoming a veterinarian. They knew this child had a diva spirit that loved all things sparkly and full of bling, just like her personality. They knew this child wanted a family.

After the children were on the plane returning to Colombia, the host families returned to their homes and immediately sensed there was something missing. Where once stood a precious face, there was now an empty space.

At first the empty space was filled with sadness. After a few days of feeling a bit tired and blue, the families discovered that the empty space was filling up with memories of a unique and wonderful experience, challenges and all. After a few weeks, the families witnessed the empty space fill with grace. It was the grace of opening their minds to an adventure. It was the grace of opening their hearts to a child. It was the grace of wanting to bless someone and discovering that you are the one who has been blessed.

We are currently seeking host families in the Dallas area for another incredible group of Colombian children and teens who will be visiting in July 2014.

 If you are interested in opening your minds and hearts, more information on the program is available here. [http://www.dillonadopt.com/colombia-hosting-program/]

 Say yes to an adventure and prepare to be blessed.

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By Denise Schoborg, Dillon International Colombia Program Director








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