Monday, April 27, 2009

Consider Hosting

Have you ever thought of hosting a child? It is such a fun and rewarding experience. When we were first looking into adoption, we considered hosting a child for a few weeks in the summer. Instead we dove right into adoption never looking back. But we still ended up getting involved in various host programs over the last few years.

Back in the summer of 2005 our Russian adoption agency did a host program where 20 or 30 kids came over from Russia. I was pumped up after coming home from meeting our girls on our first trip to Russia and wanted to help in an way I could. So I offered to drive part of the group down to Disneyland in our big 15 passenger van. Since I was going to be down there anyway, they asked if I would be a "tour guide" around Disneyland. How fun is that! So I took two of my kids plus twelve Russian orphans down to Disneyland. The drive was really fun. Part of the way down they watched a movie..... the rest of the way there I heard incessant Russian chatter. It was music to my ears. And only one child got car sick from my crazy driving.

Early on as we were loading up the luggage, I was drawn to a red-haired boy with cute freckles who was having a hard time. He seemed hesitant to get in the van........ seemed on the verge of meltdown. We coaxed him into the car when I later found out that his host family had decided not to pursue his adoption. While I know that hosting a child in know way obligates you to adopt the child you host...... heck half the time the child is not even available for adoption, it appeared that the little boy was led to believe that he would be adopted. I can only assume this was the cause for the meltdown. My heart immediately had a soft spot for this child and I asked if he could be in my group. I was able to get to know this amazing boy and even managed to get a few pictures of him.

Secretly, my new mission was to find him a family--- which happened before the summer was over! That was nearly four years ago and then we had the opportunity to be part of a host program this past summer when we were adopting Dennis. Not only did we take in a 15 year old girl for a week or two, but we were invited to one of the host program outings up at the lake. It was so nice getting to meet all of the different host families and exchanging stories. We felt like one big family all brought together through this hosting program. We met amazing families that we never would have otherwise met had it not been for this get together!

What left the biggest impression on me was seeing how well all the orphans fit in among all of these families as if they had always been here. To see the kids splashing in the water, sipping on a can of soda, digging in the sand, made me once again see all of the things that I take for granted. It was an experience that I look forward to doing again. If only more people got involved they would understand what I am talking about. I promise that you would be blessed---- and you might even be surprised how God has changed your heart by the end of it.

This summer my adoption agency is doing another host program here in California. If we are home with Alexsey by the time the children come over, I hope we can be an alternate host family if one of the original host families have something come up where they can't host the child the whole time. Maybe you would like to consider hosting but can't commit to the whole time they are here--- well consider us as your alternate host family!

Think of the impact you can make in one child's life by inviting them to be a part of your family for a few weeks! Your whole family will benefit from the experience!

8 comments:

Missy said...

We were very much on the way to hosting a girl from Latvia when Mark saw Simon and we decided to put a hold on the hosting program. This is something I would love to do, but mainly as a way of finding an older child to adopt. After seeing what Linda has gone through with Latvia, though, I may change countries!! lol If we don't come home from Ukraine with a girl, then we just may do this. I'd like to do it anyway!! Too bad I have to work... :o(

Tina in CT said...

I know that the human heart is a certain size but your's must be the size of an elephant heart. You are amazing.

Leah said...

We're in MN, and found out we have to do a full homestudy in order to host. (no short reports for us. :-( Plus the hosting fees. So I'm working on scraping together that money. We're also hoping to host a child or two coming over on medical visas.

Julie said...

We hosted for the first time in December, 2007 (other family backed out last minute) and are amazed at how God picked the perfect child for our family! I agree that the whole family benefits. And to think I wondered how it would affect my bio children - how shallow that seems now :) We are patiently awaiting her 4th trip with us this summer! (8 weeks to the day, but who's counting ;) )

Stacey said...

Hi Christine,
I was wondering is there a fee to the hosting family for hosting a child?? I would LOVE to but I don't have the financial means now. Please give us some details. Thanks so much.

Carey and Norman said...

Christine,

Do you know the youngest age for children they have available for hosting? As you know, we have a 4 year old biological son and almost 5 year old adopted daughter. I have always wanted to host a child, but age is a concern for us too. Thought I'd ask.

Many Blessings,

Carey
russianfairytale (gmail)

Natalie said...

Christine, I have been following your blogs for a little while now, but thought I'd post a comment on this entry since we hosted a girl (Krystyna) from Ukraine last summer. We worked with God's Waiting Children (I can't say enough wonderful things about Laurel and GWC), and actually I met you and your family at the Shaver Lake day. I think you had just been home two weeks with Dennis. It was such a joy and privilege to meet you, and I enjoyed chatting that afternoon.

I just wanted to give my two cents worth about the hosting experience. First, it was a wonderful and growing experience for our family. We laughed, cried, were stretched, made some wonderful memories and hopefully made a lasting impact on our little Krystyna in showing her the love of Jesus and teaching her what a family looks like. By the way, she and her three sisters were adopted a few months ago by a family in Washington State.

Secondly, I wanted to encourage Stacey (I think it was) who posted a comment asking about the cost involved to host. Yes, there was a cost (which I'm sure you know)and we didn't have the finances either. BUT...by means of a fundraiser we had, the generous gifts of others, and God's provision, we were able to bring Krystyna into our home for six weeks. It was amazing to see it come together!

One last thing and then I promise I'll end this "comment" :) Just wanted to let you know how excited I am for your family and Alexsey that he will be coming home soon. I will pray for you during this journey that the details will continue to come together quickly and that God will lead you each step of the way.

God Bless ~
Natalie (jvmom2@sbcglobal.net)

MMrussianadoption said...

My question is, do these kids know at least a little English. Otherwise, how do you communicate? I would love to do it. Also, how much of a cost is it? Is it their plane ticket or some small donation?