It's not the things you buy or the way your house looks, it's the experience of
being in a family and feeling loved that the children enjoy most.
Over the last 10 years, Project 143 has been a part of orphan hosting and witnessed many adoptions from our families. In an effort to help educate those going through the process of hosting, adoption or both, we have compiled some questions and presented them to our previous families. Every experience is unique and while the questions may be the same, the answers will be very different! Please join us over the next couple of weeks as we share the stories of these families in our Host/Adoption Q&A Series! The following family wished to remain anonymous but still wanted to share their story with you! Please read on for their stories and advice below:
What event or feeling led you to want to host/adopt?
In 2012, our middle daughter passed away. She had a kind heart and a giving soul. Throughout her childhood, if she heard of someone in need, she would always ask if we could help them. Near the second anniversary of her death, I was looking for ways to honor her memory and I ran across orphan hosting. I immediately knew this was something Ashlyn would like and it just felt right. I looked at the photos of the children on P143's listing and was immediately drawn to a particular 12 year old girl, however she was on hold for another family. Two days later the coordinator called to let me know the other family had chosen a different child and we could host her. I immediately said yes and never looked back.
How did you feel when you met your child for the first time?
We made the commitment to host in February but our host child would not arrive until July, so I spent lots of time making lists and thinking about how to prepare. I wondered if I had done enough to make her room look nice, did I buy the right foods, would she like the clothes we got, would she be happy in our house, could I communicate with her? Then she arrived and I quickly realized that I didn't need to worry so much. Although she was tired, she was taking in all the sights and sounds, and wasn't afraid to try using the few words of English she knew. I was caught off guard at how easily she stepped into our family and was willing to try any new experience. I knew she was an amazing girl from the very first day we met.
At what point did you know this child was part of your family?
I don't know if there was a particular point that I knew she was part of our family. After living with her a couple of weeks, it just seemed like she had always been there. She really connected with life in America and I couldn't imagine her not being with us all the time. We began the adoption process during hosting because we knew it was right for all of us.
What was your favorite moment during the hosting process? (Example: a funny moment with language, cooking together, a breakthrough moment, etc.)
My favorite moments were watching our host daughter try new experiences. She wanted to try EVERYTHING! From new foods, to roller coasters, to visiting the ocean - she eagerly tried anything and it was so rewarding to see the joy on her face.
What was your favorite moment during the adoption process? (Ex: meeting other kids, meeting other people in-country, trying new foods, etc.)
My favorite part of the adoption process was the day we picked her up from the orphanage. She was packed and ready to go, and was eagerly waiting for us. We took some small items for her to give to her friends, and she introduced us to all the children. At 13, she was the oldest girl living in her building and it was clear the younger girls looked up to her. It was sad watching her say goodbye to the kids and caregivers. That's the day I learned how strong and brave she is.
What was your hardest moment during the hosting process?
Without a doubt, the hardest moment was watching her walk through security at the airport during departure. She kept looking back and waving until she was out of sight and I was trying to make it to the car before ugly-crying, but I wasn't successful. Departures are rough!
What is one bit of advice you can offer to a new host family - one thing you wish someone would have told you?
I would tell new host families not to worry so much about preparing for a host child. It's not the things you buy or the way your house looks, it's the experience of being in a family and feeling loved that the children enjoy most.
What do you wish you would have done better to prepare for hosting or adoption?
I'm not sure what I could have done better, but I highly recommend learning some words and phrases in the host child's language. When I tried to speak Russian, it made our host child laugh and she was more willing to try speaking English when she heard me butcher her language. It led to a lot of laughs during hosting.
How have your relationships changed with friends/family after your hosting/adoption experience?
I have gained some friends in the hosting/adoption world, and I have encountered people who just don't understand why I would take the risk of bringing a teenager into our family. (We have added two more teenagers since adopting this host child) Some of our extended family thought we were crazy in the beginning, but have changed their mind since seeing the young lady our daughter has become.
If you hosted the same child you adopted, did you find it beneficial? Would you have adopted without hosting first?
We fell in love with our daughter during hosting, so I would definitely say it was beneficial. We would have never met her if not for hosting. We would not have adopted her if we had not met her first.
How has your adopted child adapted to their new family and home?
She adapted very quickly after bringing her home. We were amazed at how quickly her English came once she started school. She is a very determined person and has excelled at most everything over the last 6 years.
We would love to hear your story!!
You can choose to share anonymously or share your name/contact at the end.
THANK YOU in advance for your time and heart to encourage, inspire, and share with those behind you in this journey.
2 unique links depending on if your story continued to adoption:
• Hosting: https://forms.gle/xigTXtm65nMbLDgZ8
• Host/Adopt: https://forms.gle/tDqVjDaZkrjRDWco7