Interesting name –- Project 143. It’s named for the 143 million orphans worldwide. This organization’s aim is to bless the lives of orphans who might otherwise age out and be on their own without ever experiencing life out of an orphanage. The Project 143 Orphan Host program (HOPE) gives families in the United States an opportunity to help a single child or a sibling group without the commitment of adoption. (Although adoption is often the sweet result of participation.)
Families view pictures and bios of youth in orphanages. Most of them are between the ages of 6 and 16. After choosing who would best fit in with their family, the orphan is invited to spend four to eight weeks with the family.
This past Christmas, one family chose the HOPE program over Christmas presents. The Atlanta family brought 15-year-old Laura from Latvia to spend a few weeks in their home. They chose Laura because of her love of music, knowing she would fit right in with the family. They were right! The entire family fell in love with Laura, and she with them. This became much more than a vacation for Laura, who would soon age out of the system in her country. The Daily News Journal reports that Eric Calfee, the father of this family, told them, “The paperwork has been submitted and we’re waiting . . . our hope is we get [the adoption completed] as quickly as we can.”
Putting Laura on the plane to return to her orphanage in Latvia was one of the hardest things the family has ever done. They are all anxious to have her home again. This time, permanently.
Because there is a cost to participate in the program (around $3,000), many families will hold fundraisers to bring children over to America for a change of atmosphere and an experience they will enjoy. So at the least, these orphans get a vacation . . . but for many, like Laura, that vacation becomes a permanent, loving family.