Starting the end of the month, at least two area families from Providence Church, which meets weekly at Lincoln Charter School’s Denver campus, will each host a European orphan for a five-week period.
Denver residents Tracey and Timmy Rominger plan to host 16-year-old Janis through international orphan hosting program New Horizons for Children (NHFC), based in Acworth, Ga. This will be the couple’s first time hosting a child through the program.
NHFC does not allow children’s last names or exact locations to be released, Tracey said.
According to the organization’s website, NHFC officials along with humanitarian aid bi-annually visit Eastern European orphanages, particularly in Latvia and the Ukraine. Based on extensive interviewing and interaction with the children, nonprofit officials decide which orphans to host and place their biographies online for American families to review. The children range in age from seven to 16.
For Tracey and her husband, it was love at first sight with Janis.
“When we saw and read our host son’s story,” she said, “we fell in love with him.”
Tracey said she knew her family would be a “good match” for Janis, particularly since his profile noted he had “shy, timid and quiet” characteristics, much like her own two daughters, ages three and four.
The Romingers not only plan to take Janis to the beach, zoo, mountains and the movies during his stay but also teach him how to skateboard. Most importantly, they hope to shower him with love and family life.
Tracey told the Times-News last week that she looks forward to blessing a child “who has no hope” and to teach Janis about Jesus.
“Have them understand that just because they don’t have an earthly father, they do have a heavenly father who loves them,” she said.
Heike added that a majority of the overseas children feel hopeless and are often labeled “misfits.”
“Orphans in Eastern Europe have a stigma attached to them,” she said.
It’s difficult for orphans to secure a job or attend school, and most fall prey to prostitution, alcohol, drugs, suicide or other criminal activity, Heike said.
In order to host an orphan, families must first raise more than $2,000 to pay for the child’s travel and medical expenses, specifically plane tickets, visas and medical insurance, among other items.
“Each family has to do a background check, a home study and provide these orphans with an eye exam and dental exam while here,” Tracey said.
The Romingers raised money via a yard sale and Facebook donations. Her daughters also collected $70 in change. Donations were additionally made online via the NHFC website.
Providence Church members Heike and Thad Biser also plan to host an orphan this summer. Ukrainian teen Artyom is set to live with the Gaston County residents.
According to Heike, the couple planned to become a host family after meeting a Latvian orphan being hosted by another family last Christmas.
It became obvious to the couple that Artyom was the child for them after all the other children they prayed over on the website began to slowly be eliminated.
“We had prayed a lot about hosting,” Heike said, “and every child we prayed about one-by-one was picked before we could place him on hold for our family.”
At the time, the Bisers, also first-time hosters, thought the Lord had closed the door for them to host. Shortly after, the organization sent out a “last-minute plea” about Artyom on their Facebook page.
“This time, no other family stepped up before we did,” Heike said.
She noted that her 12- and 8-year-old daughters are thrilled to have an older brother for the summer.
“They are counting the days,” Heike said.
The family plans to visit a Charlotte Knights game while Artyom is in town in addition to catching fireflies, eating ice cream, watching fireworks and visiting local staples like the Gaston County History Museum and the NASCAR Speedpark in Concord.
“The hardest thing about participating is the unknown,” Heike said. “You will have to trust the Lord every step of the way.”
The children will fly to America on Thursday and return home on Aug. 2.
For more information on New Horizons For Children, visit newhorizonsforchildren.org.