Hosting The World, International Hosting Programs
So, I have a few friends that participate in International Hosting Programs. A hosting program is a strategy used to identify possible permanent families for older children who have been cleared for inter-country adoption and are patiently waiting for their adoptive placement. These children will be able to experience family life and be exposed to a more stimulating environment than in the institutions where they currently live. These children are typically older children in the age range of 6-18 years old.
Now, for a few years I’ve mostly been on the outside looking in when it comes Hosting programs. I find it interesting, yet familiar. As a former Foster Parent, from the looks of it Hosting is similar to fostering. You have a child show up to your home in need of care, you care for them then return the child back “home” after a certain period. When it comes to Hosting Programs, I believe the programs last about 6-8 weeks. Listen, I’m going to be honest, I use to “frown upon” international adoption and hosting programs as a Foster/Adoptive Parent. That’s right, I’ve had my ignorant moments. I would wonder “Why are these people traveling outside the country for children, when there are Hundreds or thousands here in America?!”. Again, that was my ignorance and frankly not seeing the bigger picture, until a few years ago. I started noticing a few friends doing these Hosting programs, so to gain a better understanding I began to ask questions. The more I asked questions, the more stupid I felt for judging those who chose to participate in the program.
After many conversations, what I had discovered was these children are suffering just as much as our children here in the United States awaiting adoptive homes. They live in orphanages HOPING to be “picked” to come to America and be apart of a family setting, even if it’s just for a few weeks. Personally, I can’t even imagine the feeling of getting your hopes up and still not be chosen by anyone, not even from across the world. Ugh! What a feeling. Imagine the same feeling of having the time of your life for 6-8 weeks only to have it end and return back to your reality of an orphanage with no parents, siblings or sense of Normalcy in your life. Not to mention the exhausting plane ride back on top of all of those feelings.
As I said above, I’ve watched a few host children from other countries. The children arrive with language barriers and at times physical disabilities but also with a resilient spirit. Now, I don’t come from the best background myself and have overcome some challenging living situations in past. But I could not imagine going across the world to strangers and trusting my life with strangers who I can’t even understand me when talk at ages 8-16. In my opinion that takes a lot courage. It’s a mental courage that many adults don’t carry. What I’ve noticed from the children my friends have hosted is those children come off the plane with a open mind and heart ready to embrace their host families. Searching for normalcy in their lives, even if for a short period of time.
My friend Morgan has been hosting on and off for a few years now. I’ve watched her and family fall in love with every child they have hosted. But this last hosting experience seemed different for Morgan and her family. They seemed more connected than usual. They were hosting a teen, which up until that point I’ve only seen the family host younger children. Morgan was nervous about hosting a teen boy, especially one who couldn’t really speak English. I watched her family provide him with great activities and experiences. Still to hear her talk about him was different, then I realized, Morgan had connected to this child. Her motherly instincts had kicked in full throttle. She was getting emotionally attached. I must admit, I wasn’t any help to her because I began to ask often “Well, are you going to pursue adoption?”. Morgan would always reply “I wish I could”, “I would love too” etc. I knew there was a few obstacles in their way that prohibited them from actually stepping forward and adopting this amazing boy. In my heart I knew this wasn’t going to stop Morgan this is her son in her heart. She’s a woman of faith and because of that I knew things would work out for her family. Morgan is working on this newest addition I just know it. I’m sending her family all good vibes. This child who sits in an orphanage with no family connections will have a home, I believe it in my heart. Morgan will make sure of it.
Threw all of my ignorance, I now have chosen to have more compassion for children who are hosted and not be judgmental to those who choose to take them into their home. I chose to become a foster/adoptive parent because I felt it was the best decision for me, my friends Host because they feel its best for them. I support them just as they did for me. In the end, we may walk different paths but at the end of the road we meet again because we traveled to do the same mission... To help others in need.