Child Hosting Programs: What you Need to Know

Are you considering becoming a host parent through a child hosting program? Perhaps you are thinking about adopting or simply want to advocate for a child to find a permanent family. What do you need to know to prepare? Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility & adoption education and support nonprofit, interviews Rhonda Jarema, Executive Director of California offices for Nightlight Christian Adoptions, and Kelly Raudenbush, an attachment therapist at the Attachment and Bonding Center of PA and co-founder of The Sparrow Fund.

Hit the Highlights
  • What are hosting programs?
  • Hosting programs are controversial for some. What are some of the arguments against hosting programs. Do hosting programs put too much burden on kids and set them up for feeling like a failure?
  • What are the children told before they come? Are they aware that they are “on trial” to be adopted? (Be on your best behavior if you want to get adopted?)
  • What are some of the ways different agencies design their hosting programs?
    • Whether they are open to families that do not want to adopt, but are willing to advocate for the child.
    • When they have host sessions. What times of year?
    • Length of time the children are here.
  • Are there many differences in cost to the host family?
  • What is the age range of children commonly available for hosting?
  • What type of special needs do you commonly see?
  • Influence of trauma. Typical behaviors you might see in the short term.
  • How much information are you given on the child before you decide whether to accept?
  • What type of home study is usually required?
  • How to prepare children already in the home? What special issues should you consider if these children are adopted?
  • Should you disrupt birth order? What are some issues to consider if you are disrupting birth order. And does it matter if you are an advocate family or a possible adoptive family?
  • Is there a risk that the child has been sexually abused or been exposed to sexual behavior. How should parents prepare for that?
  • Typical cultural differences that you see that can throw families for a loop.
  • Disciplining a host child?
  • Handling social media with a host child.
  • Special issues that may arise when you are hosting over Christmas or Hanukah?
  • What type of support should you expect from your hosting agency?
  • Advocating for your host child or for other children in the orphanage. What do you mean by advocate and how do you do it?
  • If you decide to adopt this child, what is the typical process and how long does it take?
  • How to determine if you are a good candidate for being a host family? Or another way to ask this is who makes a good host family?
  • What are the benefits to being a host family?
  • Tips for host family.
  • Online learning package from, to help you prepare to be a host family

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Image credit: Drew Streib