Jim and Victoria Lynn came from very different backgrounds. Jim grew up Catholic, and Lynn was Pentecostal. They became best friends in high school and decided to date during the last week of Jim’s senior year. They married when Lynn was 20, and he was 21. He owned his own business, and she was a hairdresser. They began working together when Jim started his electrical business and moved from Florida to Georgia in 1994.
Moving to Georgia was an adventure. They bought property without a house, lived in an RV for 3 years, and moved a 100 year old house onto the property to be remodeled. Lynn’s sister moved into the RV with them and became theirs when she was 11. They finally moved into their house when Lynn was 30 and pregnant with their son, Landon. They have lived and raised their children there ever since.
Lynn had a heart for adoption very young. When she was five or six years old, she had a dream about adopting kids. Her dream is still very real in her mind today. She remembers telling her mom about the dream and how the two of them would adopt lots of kids. Her mom was sixteen when she had Lynn and stayed single a long time. Lynn begged her mom to never marry and adopt kids, so they could raise them together.
One day while checking Facebook, Lynn noticed a post about orphan hosting. Out of curiosity she decided to look into it. Hosting a child is different from fostering children in the states. Orphan hosting is working with children from other countries who are coming out of an orphanage or foster care. A family agrees to host them for 4-5 weeks in winter or 5-8 weeks in summer. Each child is chosen from a list of children of all ages and backgrounds. Often families who host do so hoping to adopt. In some other countries, 16 is the cutoff age for adoption into America unless they are in a sibling group and the younger siblings are being adopted. When hosting is finished, they return to the orphanage.
Leaving a family in America and going back to their reality is challenging. It may seem cruel to be given a picture of family and home only to be sent back. Lynn has a unique perspective on how each child deals with the long term repercussions of separation and trauma. So many children go through life without knowing the love of a family. They never see the example of a mother or father. When they age out of the orphanage, they are on their own. It is not uncommon for them to end up as prostitutes, hooked on drugs, or in jail. When they have a host family, they usually stay connected to them through some form of communication or even visits. Before they return they have a chance to experience a new normal and to know they are not alone.
Shortly after hearing about hosting, Lynn and Jim traveled to Atlanta to become certified through New Horizons. In 2005 they chose a 16 year old boy who was not adoptable and hosted him for 5 weeks, and that’s where their Latvian story began. See the Latvia History Page for more of their story.