If you are on any adoption agency newsletters lists or Facebook Groups, you are probably beginning to see information on hosting an international orphan. Many hosting programs run through the summer, so agencies are looking for host families now.
People host a child for any number of reasons including wanting to adopt that child or helping that child find his forever family through advocacy efforts. Whatever your reason, hosting an international orphan requires some thoughtful preparation on your part, especially if you have children already in your home.
7 Tips for Hosting an International Orphan
- Commit yourself to the goal of the program. Take your role as an advocate for this child seriously. Questions of adoption of this child for your family should be considered but hosting should not be considered a “trial run” for adoption of the child.
- Be prepared to pay for and undergo a home-study process, depending upon your state requirements. That will include a home safety check, background clearances, and meetings with the agency social workers to be educated on the process. Take full advantage of education and training that likely will be offered with that home-study. Creating a Family has an on-line learning package specifically to prepare families for hosting.
- If you have children in the home already, share the whole process with them to help them understand why you are hosting. Use the information you have about the hosted child and the program to fully include your child(ren) in the process of the decision and the training. Consider playing “what if” scenarios and role-playing in your preparations for the coming child. Be clear that the child will be returning to her home country when they program is over and what may or may not happen at that point.
- If you have adopted children in your family, consider your child’s attachment process thus far. Make sure you’ve had enough time together as a family to build security in his place as your child. Give your child concrete information about the beginning and ending of the program and possible events or experiences during the time you host. Be clear about the differences between this hosting program and your child’s role in your forever family.
- Expect and plan for challenges in discipline and communication and decide together in advance how you plan to handle the challenges. For example, correction of behavior might be difficult with a language difference. Work together as a family to model appropriate behavior and responses to correction.
- Consider taking an electronics holiday as a family during the time you are hosting. The time spent together with the children, building positive experiences of family life and memories for your host child will help him/her have realistic expectations of adoption when/if her forever family comes forward.
- Plan in advance some ways that you can leverage your personal network and social media to champion the host child’s story and advocate for him. This includes pictures that capture the child’s personality, tell stories of the child’s experiences with you, and invite friends and neighbors into your family’s experiences as hosts. Help people see the child for who he is.
Other Creating a Family Resources You Will Enjoy
- Child Hosting Programs: What You Need to Know
- Is Our Family Right for an Orphan Hosting Program
- Child Hosting Learning Package, from CreatingaFamilyEd.org (5 online courses)
Have you ever considered hosting an international orphan? What was your experience?
Image Credits: Centi Pedilla (children in picture are not available for hosting)