Part Three-2006. Structure.
I'm going a little out of order here because we had discussed structure and goals together, almost from the beginning, but we were looking for a foundation first.
Getting kids and families together was the main goal, but how do you do that when they don't know each other? How do you facilitate this meeting when you're not an adoption agency?
Other questions we discussed included: How important is it that we have the opportunity to instill Christian values in the kids and families? What structures would give us religious freedom as Christians? Should we do everything officially and be registered, or do the minimum paperwork and do things our own way?
One early idea involved having a Christian group home: A host family and a few kids, living together in an apartment or home outside of the city. We also talked about more of a large-scale vision: having several apartments or small houses together somewhere, with multiple families. Maybe there would be a private school. Or what about just helping one family adopt one child, but providing a support system in the form of discussion groups, financial aid, legal advice, etc.?
We still didn't have a mechanism for introducing families and children. Then the idea of a hosting program was brought up. Children would spend a vacation period with a family, getting to know them in a home setting. We would run a training program for the families so that they would be better prepared as well as experience fellowship, a key element that is missing from the Russian foster care system. We would host group events for all the families and kids together during the hosting period. Afterwards, we would help them take the next steps in the relationship. We already had experience with this from sending kids to the States on a similar hosting program.
But this plan wasn't set in stone. The idea was to introduce kids and families and facilitate bonding. Hosting was just one method we thought might accomplish this.
To be continued...