‘We’re taking that leap’: Local families get ready to welcome Afghan kids into their home
SPOKANE, Wash. — Hundreds of Afghan refugees are coming to the Inland Northwest throughout the next few months. They’re looking for stability and safety. Some of those fleeing Afghanistan are kids with no family members to help them navigate this new chapter.
Local families like the McGuire’s are stepping in to fill that void and help them resettle into their new lives. The McGuire’s have been hard at work prepping a bedroom for a new family member they’re eager to meet.
“We’re just taking that leap,” said Brien McGuire.
They’ve always considered fostering or adopting children from another country. When they knew the crisis was growing in Afghanistan, it was time for them to get involved.
“There’s too many sad news stories and so to be able to do something, why wouldn’t you is how I feel,” said Jean Nguyen.
Nguyen feels for the families in Afghanistan because she knows refugee resettlement isn’t easy. Her parents fled Vietnam back in 1980.
“I came one month inside my mommy’s tummy,” Nguyen said.
That’s why they want to get involved with Lutheran Community Services Unaccompanied Minor Program to give these kids a safe and stable place to call home.
“With the Afghan youth, there are multiple kids in that situation,” said Shelly Hahn, director of Child Welfare Services at Lutheran Community Services (LCS).
Hahn with LCS is working to place kids with families like the McGuire’s. She says since the U.S. left Afghanistan, there’s a greater need for foster families to get involved.
“There’s a broad network of support right now. There is always is, but it’s more concentrated around this population right now knowing the crisis that occurred and that we’re going to be seeing lots of kids,” Hahn said.
If you can’t make this much of a commitment to foster a child, Hahn says you can still help refugees by donating money or checking out their Amazon wish list for specific items they need.
Their 8-year-old daughter Lilliana can’t wait to meet her new family member. She’s hoping to fill photo books with new memories and learn something in the process.
“Maybe learning a new language,” she said.
The McGuire’s are ready to do what they can to help in an overseas crisis right here at home.
“Having a child of our own, you can’t help but put yourself in the shoes of these families,” McGuire said.
After their final home inspection, they’ll be able to welcome a new family member.
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