I have a prayer request for those who have time/opportunity to join me in praying about this. I’ll give the gist of the prayer request first, and then I’ll add extra information for those who would like a few more details.
General Prayer Request:
I am applying to the Polish courts asking for permission to host a 14-year-old dom dziecka boy (Miłosz) in my home over the Christmasbreak.
Prayer is needed because according to current Polish policy, my request should automatically be rejected since I am an older, single, foreign, male. Any one of these factors would be grounds for rejection in itself, and the fact that they all apply to me makes my case a very challenging request.
Thank you for any prayers that you may be able to offer on our behalf.
Extra Info: (a bit “long-winded,” but hopefully informative)
On most Polish holidays, the vast majority of dom dziecka residents either go home to their families, or they are hosted by local “friend families.” The dom dziecka group that I work with the most has 11 kids in it. Sadly, one of the boys, 14-year-old Miłosz, (pronounced “mee-woesh” and pictured playing cards on the right) is not allowed to go home to his family, nor does he have a friend family to host him. So the current plan is for Miłosz to spend the entire Christmas break (December 22-January 1) at the dom dziecka… the only one in his group who would have to do this.
Because Miłosz takes English in school, I have spent considerable time with him during the homework sessions that I volunteer at once a week. Miłosz is a very nice, polite, and likeable teenager. Simply put, I genuinely like Miłosz, and he really enjoys spending time with me, as well.
When I heard that Miłosz would be staying at the dom dziecka alone, I asked the staff if I could apply to host him.
I did this to get a feel as to how the staff felt about me hosting a dom dziecka resident – as stated above in the general prayer request, my status in Polish society would normally disqualify me right off, since I am: older, male, single, foreign – any one of these, individually, would eliminate me from consideration, but the four combined would normally make Polish people wonder why I was even trying.
The dom dziecka staff, however, was very supportive of my inquiry, and one staff member even went to the director on my behalf to introduce my request to him. To my surprise, the director, too, was willing to consider my application, but because the dom dziecka residents are officially wards of the state, the legal permission for them to be anywhere outside the dom dziecka has to come from the Polish courts.
I wrote a letter to the court, explaining my connection to the dom dziecka, how I know Miłosz, and why I want to host Miłosz over Christmas. A Polish friend, Asia, translated the letter into Polish for me and then formatted it according to Polish legal requirements.
Last Thursday, I made a special hour-plus long trip over snowy/icy Polish roads to Wolsztyn (the small city where both the dom dziecka and the court are located). The plan was for the dom dziecka’s official court advocate (Pani Sylwia) to help me get my letter to the proper office in the court building.
When I arrived at Pani Sylwia’s office, the dom dziecka director was also there talking to her about something else (the Lord directing steps???).
The director immediately instructed me to go the main dom dziecka office to get an official letter acknowledging my volunteer service to the dom dziecka. Within a few minutes, the (unsolicited) volunteer letter was signed and stamped by the director and added to my own request letter. The director also put his signature and official dom dziecka stamp on my personal letter, as well.
I then asked Pani Sylwia where I should take my letter within the court offices, to which she replied that she would do it, herself. This surprised me so much that I actually repeated what I thought she had said to me, just to make sure that I had understood correctly.
And then, adding to my utter amazement, the director turned to me and very matter-of-factly asked me what day I would be able to come get Miłosz; a question that I was totally unprepared for. I told him that I still wasn’t sure, since Daniel and Marta had not finalized their holiday plans yet.
The director listened, and then simply told me that Miłosz would be ready to go right after school on the Friday before Christmas and just to make sure that I understood, Pani Slywia got up from her desk, walked over to a calendar on the wall, and pointed to the December 21 date box.
Truly, I left the office more than just a bit stunned at all that had just occurred.
Jim helping Milosz with some homework.
I consider myself to be a “realist” meaning I drove down to the dom dziecka fully aware that the chance of me being approved by the courts (in the natural) was pretty much zero, but with the dom dziecka director’s response and Pani Slywia’s personal participation, I have to admit that a surge of hope began rising in me.
That being said, even the dom dziecka staff mentioned the challenging time frame of this situation. My request is being submitted very late according to Polish court practices. We may not have a decision until very near the Christmas break, and it also is possible that my request won’t even get to the judge before Christmas, at all.
One other factor to pray about:
My plan is still for Maciek, the 10-year-old boy from Warsaw, to come spend time with me during part of the Christmas break…… as he does for most every Polish holiday.
Our original plan was for Maciek to spend Christmas Eve/Christmas Day with his step-grandma, and then travel to Poznan to spend the rest of the holiday break with me.
However, the term “dom dziecka” conjures up a lot of emotion and elicits considerable negative association for many Polish people. Some of this reputation is the result of uniformed stereotyping, but some is actually accurate and deserved.
With this in mind, I wrote a letter to Maciek’s step-grandma fully explaining my hope of having Miłosz with me at the same time that Maciek was scheduled to be with me. I wanted to give her time to consider all of this and to make an informed decision.
My hope is that both Maciek and Miłosz will be with me together. I actually think this would be better for Maciek, since he would then have someone closer to his age to play with.
I have not yet heard back from Maciek’s step-grandma, though, so she still may be in the process of deciding whether or not she feels comfortable having Maciek spend time with an unknown (to her) dom dziecka boy.
With all this in mind: here is the overall prayer request in a nutshell:
-that my letter of request will get to the judge in time for his consideration
-that the dom dziecka’s administration/staff support of my request will have a positive influence on the judge
-that my request will be approved and that Milosz will be allowed to spend as much time at my home as possible
-that Maciek will still want to come spend time with me in Poznan
-that Maciek’s step-grandma will allow him to come to my place, even with the possibility of a dom dziecka boy being with us, as well
-that my time with whoever is allowed to come would be fruitful relationally and spiritually
-that the Lord would open up many opportunities to bless both boys according to whatever “gaps” the boys have in their lives
Thank you again for any prayers that might be offered up on our behalf.