Hosting Stories: Littleton Family

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When a child is hosted they know they are returning to things that are familiar.
When a child transitions into a family permanently there is a segregation and confirmed loss of everything they once knew.

Shanna Littleton

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!  Our first family to be featured are the Littleton’s!  They are a family of 11 with 5 children adopted from Ukraine.  Please read on for their stories and advice below:

What event or feeling led you to want to host/adopt?
Our Host Child asked to be adopted. We had not planned on adopting again. We did however feel this decision was obedience to what God instructs us to do. To care for the orphan. 
How did you feel when you met your child for the first time? 
Our host child was very reserved, quiet and uncertain. There is always a mix of emotions during that first initial moment. We immediately rolled into filling their basic needs first and emotions/feelings came later.
At what point did you know this child was part of your family?
After the second time we hosted (same child). We also chose to pursue a child (for adoption) our friends hosted at the same time. We felt including this additional unrelated child who was aging out was more of God's calling as opposed to being obedient to instruction. It was a very unique experience pursuing two unrelated children with two different reasons behind the decision at the same time.
What was your favorite moment during the hosting process?  (Example:  a funny moment with language, cooking together, a breakthrough moment, etc.)
Translation mishaps never fail to disappoint and always result in lots of laughter. Hugs in return were also very endearing.
What was your favorite moment during the adoption process? (Ex: meeting other kids, meeting other people in-country, trying new foods, etc.)
The first day arriving at the orphanage to confirm child referrals. Their smiles, hugs and excitement is worth every challenge you face during compiling paperwork and fundraising.
What was your hardest moment during the hosting process?
Departure is always very emotional. Thoughts and feelings are all over the place. Taking a few days for everyone’s emotions to decompress after the child departs is vital for emotional & mental health.
What has been the hardest moment since the adoption?
Transitioning home is always the hardest challenge. Even if you host a child (multiple times) transitioning into a permanent situation and ‘real life’ is hard on everyone. When a child is hosted they know they are returning to things that are familiar. When a child transitions into a family permanently there is a segregation and confirmed loss of everything they once knew.
What is one bit of advice you can offer to a new host family - one thing you wish someone would have told you?
Go into hosting with the mindset that ‘hosting is just hosting’, allow a few weeks to pass before jumping into the world of adoption. A lot can change once emotions settle. Also, hosting is not enough time to “fix/heal” a child’s past trauma. Keep expectations very very low. Take it one day at a time. 
What do you wish you would have done better to prepare for hosting or adoption?
Plan to not cram so much into a few short weeks. It’s ok to have downtime. Family time and daily normal life can be more beneficial than activities. 
How have your relationships changed with friends/family after your hosting/adoption experience?
Most of the time an adoptive family will experience a lot of support during the process of adoption. It’s usually after the addition is complete a family feels isolated. 
If you hosted the same child you adopted, did you find it beneficial?  Would you have adopted without hosting first?
Yes! Definitely host a child more than once if you can during the process. However we adopted a child that was aging out we never hosted and that transition was great. We also adopted 3 children we never met until we were in-country. Hosting is very helpful but you don’t truly get to know that child to full potential until that child starts to transition into your normal everyday life.
How has your adopted child adapted to their new family and home?
We have adopted 5 children. Each child has transitioned in very different ways. From one end of the spectrum to another. You cannot determine how a child will adapt.

To Contact our Featured Family:

Trevor & Shanna Littleton:  Lifewiththelittletons@yahoo.com

If you’d like to follow the Littleton’s blog, please visit:  https://www.lifewiththelittletons.org/

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

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