The End of the Interview Trip!

We made it home safe and sound! Diedra’s is a little under the weather, but other than that we can say another successful trip is under our belts! A big thanks to our Beijing staff who accompanied us and translated for us the entire trip. A very special thank you to Celese, doctor and adoptive mother of three, who lended her medical expertise, friendship, and support through the rural roads and congested highways of China.
The China Interview Team
It was quite the whirlwind of an adventure and lots of new experiences filled our almost 2 weeks in China. I am grateful to be back on American soil with more identifiable foods, air conditioning, and a familiar language. However, I could see my self spending more time in China, and I am already looking forward to the next trip. Especially after meeting so many amazing children!
We met 140 kids, visited 6 orphanages, and conducted a two day training for orphanage partnerships. I would say that is quite a success! Since my return I have gotten an array of questions, but the common theme seems to be, “How do you pick the kids for the program, and isn’t hard meeting all of those kids?”
The second half of the question is the hardest to address. These are children who, through no fault of their own, have been dealt the crummiest of hands in life and how am I to ever know and understand the heartbreak that is their daily life? This is true of all the children even the ones who may live in a “simulated family” (sort of like a foster family here in the States). Ultimately, there is no family to call their own, and at age fourteen, each of these children without a family will age out of the system. The first part of the question is almost no easier. We have to think of a few deciding factors: Can this child physically handle the trip on their own? Could flying or extensive activity cause their medical condition to flare up and cause them more harm? Can this child understand the process, program, and be able to take it all in? The children aren’t told anything about adoption other than this is a “camp” that they are attending in the US. We must know that a child can somewhat grasp that they will be leaving everything they know for four weeks, spend four weeks in a country where they don’t know the language, eating food they may not like, spending time with people they may or may not like. That’s a lot for any kid to take in! We know they won’t completely understand that, but we have to see that they are open to it. Lastly, we ask ourselves the most important question, “Is it in the best interest of the child?” For example, a child that is recently abandoned probably shouldn’t travel for the sake of overcoming their abandonment. However if they are close to aging out, hosting could be the best way to find them a family. A lot of thought goes into who should come and who shouldn’t, and it’s never easy to officially say ‘no’ to a child.
Ultimately I have to remind myself why I am here. Why am I doing this?  That is the easiest question to answer. I’m here for the children, to provide the best opportunity I can to as many children as I can. That’s where it can become overwhelming. Realistically, what CAN I do? If I let the emotion of saying no to certain children, the emotion of meeting so many parent-less children, the emotion of seeing the sadness in a child’s eyes, the emotion of having a child embrace you and not want to let go because they just want to be loved – if I let all of that emotion get in the way, I can’t do my job effectively. I can’t make a bigger difference for the children who will participate in hosting, who will potentially find their forever family. Those children will lose out on so much more if I lose focus, those children will lose out if I don’t put forth our resources effectively, and then nobody wins, and the waiting children will continue to wait.
So now our hosting team has the daunting task of submitting our final list to the CCCWA and waiting for approval. Once we know which children we will have, we begin matching these children with the family that is the best fit for both the child and the family.
There are always kids to be hosted; as the Summer group of kids arrive we will begin matching for our winter program. It’s a constant circle that we are happy to be part of because there are always more children in need. It’s a game changer for these older children, and we are so happy to be part of it. We are even more grateful for the host families that open their homes and the supportive families that open their hearts and lend a hand in making this entire program possible.
Thank you for following our ongoing journey to bring these amazing children to find their families! Stay tuned for more hosting updates as we welcome the children this summer and get prepared to match the next group for Christmas!
Thanks y’all (it’s good to be back in Texas!)
– Shannon
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Wrapping Up Interviews!

Wow, we just wrapped up our final two days of interviewing. With over 60 kids met at 3 orphanages over two days, our hearts melted over and over again. This trip we have visited 6 orphanages, and each has  been so different. Some have been very nice…others, well, not so much. Many have amazing teachers who want the kids to excel, but just as many are left wanting in their education, which impacts them in more ways than one. Regardless of the conditions, the most important thing to remember is these kids just need to get out. We have one handsome young man in particular that I can’t help but gush over, and I must find this talented young man his host family, and forever family.
tony letter
This healthy young man goes by ‘Tony’. He knows quite a bit of English, how to play the trumpet, and has really great manners. He has been living with the same foster family for close to 10 years, and they seem like proud parents. They love him dearly but are hopeful that we will find him a forever family. Because they are unable to adopt him, without a forever family he will age out of the orphanage system and lose his chance at a bright future. With the help of his foster sister, he wrote the following narrative in English that he shared with us.
He’s one of those boys that needs a forever family before he faces a hard future with limited options. He’s such an incredible young man, and I would hate to see him overlooked as he gets older and closer to 14.
Can’t believe this trip is already over! It’s late so I’m heading to bed, early flight in the morning, but I will write more post upon our return!
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What We Can Do While They Wait

Interview trips are a whirlwind of activity…even on the weekend, there is always something to be done! We spent the past two days participating in something we’ve never done before – host an Orphanage Partnership Training Conference. This may sound dull to some, but this was our opportunity to share knowledge with the people who care for the children while they wait for their forever families! The Guangdong Civil Affair Director even made a small speech, welcoming us and expressing her gratitude for the event. It was our chance to meet face to face with the doctors, caretakers, and social workers who work on the other side of matching these children. With almost 30 attendees over a two day training period, our theme for the training was, “What We Can Do While They Wait.”

Our Team of Presenters and Honored Guests

Overseas, I always worry about the culture gap. With the upcoming conference, my stress was even more acute. How would our topics be perceived? Would our concern for the children be understood? With two different cultures coming together at one table, I was nervous for the barriers (language, culture, perspective, and more) we would face.

Our medical expert, Dr. Celese, shared her knowledge and experience with needs, medical files, and what American doctors “see” when they look at a child’s file. My worries were slowly fading away as I looked around and saw everyone taking notes and asking questions. Our Q&A session was the most helpful. Without a doubt, the most common question was, “If a child has a particular need, can they be adopted?” Of course, our response every time was, “Yes, yes, YES! Prepare their files and let us advocate!” Many of the medical needs are not completely understoof in China, and the more “difficult” needs can often be easily managed here in the States.

Medical Expert Dr. Celese Presents

We also held a great panel on how to talk to the children about adoption, specifically so that orphanage staff can prepare the children for this life-changing experience. Our China Program Manager (and local resident expert on adoptions!), Diedra, discussed this at length, and I was happy to see many ” Aha!” moments around the room, especially for seemingly minor things like getting a child ready for different foods or daily routines. We also talked about how to counsel older children on leaving their orphanage and their friends, and that it’s okay to want to be adopted even if it means leaving some things you knew.

I took lead of the discussion on children’s advocacy and kept it fairly basic – photos. We all know that one of the most helpful and poignant things that can get a child matched is a number of good photos. American culture is very different from Chinese, and so I spent some time explaining that Americans smile easily and love to happy children, rather than a photo of a crying or unhappy child. These basic items can be so helpful in us matching a child with their family.

IMG_0787Our round table discussion was probably my favorite portion of the day! So many of the people at our conference work with the children day in and day out while they are waiting for their families, and their on-hand experiences with these kids are very useful to the medical experts who document the children’s growth in the file. We hope to see improvement in file preparation and communication as we move forward in finding families for the children who wait.

We met one very special lady, who I’ll call “Judy,” who works in the orphanages teaching the children English. Her passion for the children in the institutions was palpable, and she is doing wonderful things for these kids, teaching the ones who are considered “unteachable,” as she put it. She kept pushed that so many of these children lack an education because the orphanages don’t think they can learn, yet she finds a way! She was an inspiring woman to meet, and I am grateful to have met so many on this trip who share my same passion for helping these children in any way I can.
The conference was a hit, and we were happy to share our knowledge with the orphanages and look forward to doing it again. As always, the mission is to help as many special needs children as we can find their forever family.
More interviews begin tomorrow, and I’m reinvigorated to continue working on my small piece of this long journey each of these kiddos travel. Until then!


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I’d Recognize That Face Anywhere

I was excited to walk the halls of our beloved Dongguan orphanage, and I can happily say we have matched many of the orphans there who are looking for their family. There is one little boy from Dongguan who still waits on our photolisting, hoping his family finds him soon. As I came up the stairs to the 2nd floor of the orphanage, I turned the corner to see a beautifully arranged classroom with several children preparing the day’s materials. When they realized the Americans were coming, many sprang immediately for the door, laughing and talking in Chinese and English. I recognized many faces and was pleased to see the ones I knew would be home before too long. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a boy making his way down the hall, a face, like Zane’s in the shadow of the orphanage the night before, that I would know anywhere.

Our Beloved Bo!



If you keep up with our blogs, social media, and photolisting, you are probably aware of our efforts to place this amazing little boy, Bo. He was hosted in Summer 2014 by an incredible advocate family. We have shared his story far and wide, but we continue to wait for his forever family to find him. I burst with Joy and squealed his name! His smile lit up the room, and with a fist pump and a jump in his seat, he hollered back, “YEA!” Both of our smiles were from ear to ear, and I couldn’t believe I was finally getting to meet our precious Bo in real life.

Bo has Spina Bifida which keeps him in a wheel chair, but this little man doesn’t let that hold him back one bit. He can get in and out of his wheel chair with no problem and scoots around on the floor to accomplish anything he needs. He’s smart as can be, friendly, and all the caretaker’s say Bo is their favorite. It breaks my heart to continue to watch him wait, so if you think you might be his forever family, get in touch with us at so we can bring this AMAZING little man home!

37 more kids met, 37 more lives we hope to change this winter. It was a long day so forgive me for the short post – tomorrow we’ll get to see more amazing kiddos and prepare for something I’ve been excited about since our last trip…so stay tuned to find out more!

– Shannon

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Waiting in the Shadows

Another incredible day for the books. I was able to catch some of our previous host kiddos (my little friends!) from this past winter’s program. I’m excited to be bringing home photos and videos even for just a few of these families who wait to bring their child home. A few of our families from last summer’s program recently returned with their kiddos, and it brings full circle the realization that there are always more orphans to help. It’s perfect timing – as some children go home forever, some children are about to arrive for the first time this summer, and I move forward to help the next group toward this opportunity to leave the orphanage and find their family, too.
Our hosts at the orphanage are always so gracious in helping us locate a few of the children whose families will be coming soon to bring them home as well. We were able to take a few photos and videos and can’t wait to share these with their families!
Something people may not know about our interview trips in China – we don’t get to visit every single orphanage. Often, children will be brought to a single interview location to meet with us. The kiddos are usually shy and sometimes a little scared. Today we met children from 3 different orphanages. One by one we played with them, asked them questions, and did our very best to coax them out of their shells to give light to who they are. Although we saw many smiles, laughs, giggles, and happiness, a sense of emptiness always lingers in the room.
Meet Mr. Smarty Pants!
One handsome little guy stood out today – if you followed our photolisting last program, you know that we give each of the children nicknames since we can’t use their real names. This dude has already earned the name Mr. Smarty Pants! He loves to go to school at the orphanage; there isn’t a class he doesn’t like or a subject he isn’t good at! With quite a few awards under his belt for his school work, he happily showed off his math skills for me. When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he quickly responded, “A policeman!” He sat with me for a bit while I continued to take notes and played a few games on my computer. This is a kiddo with both the brains AND the heart to thrive, given the chance.
Last trip I played the role of interviewer, but this time I’m recording everything that happens. It means I interact with the children less, so my favorite moments are the times the children come to sit with me as they wait their turn or watch their friends finish up. One little girl even rested her head on my arm, and I could feel that, even though some of the orphanages we visit provide quality care, these children need the loving touch of a family. These sweet moments are the ones I want to hang  on to, knowing for that moment a child felt secure resting next to me for just a few moments. It is humbling and unforgettable, seeing the older children who wait quietly for their turn to be chosen, not just by a family, by their family.
We finished the day around 3 pm, but no bus for us this time! Adiós unidentifiable meat product! We hopped on a high speed train, which went 100 MPH! Our destination wasn’t too far, so I didn’t get to see the countryside zipping along at 200 MPH, the speed it usually goes. Immediately upon arriving, we noticed the drop in temperature, which was a welcome break from the stifling heat in Guangzhou. You’d think, as a Texas girl, I’d be used to the heat, but air-conditioning is one of those sneaky things you don’t appreciate fully until it’s gone. Many of the orphanages cope with that lack by being open air to allow breezes through the hallway. It means children are often fairly hot in the summer and bundled up in the winter.
Our hotel is a little rough around the edges, but we’re a light-hearted group who can laugh our way through anything. Dongguan is a beautiful coastal city, and I’m excited to “settle in” a little bit for the next four nights. Up until now, it’s been a new bed, new hotel every night since we arrived. I’ll take a little dinginess to get to stay put for a little bit. On the return trip from a walk to the market, we passed the back side of an orphanage we’ll soon visit. Through the gate, I could see some of the caretakers and a few children sitting quietly on the stools outside. In the evening shadows cast by the building, I realized I could recognize one of the little faces waiting there.
The Ones Who Wait
Zane is still waiting for his forever family. Is it you? Contact for more information on the host children left waiting.
After spending months working for these host children, you become familiar with each and every face that you’ve grown to love. When they arrive with a host family, upon return home, and in the lingering, heart-wrenching period as you advocate, knowing that hosting doesn’t work for every child, but why, why can’t it work for this one? I was so excited to see him that I half-called his name, then pulled back, realizing to myself that he will have no idea who I am; the adults watching over him might wonder who the crazy American lady is yelling at one of their orphans like she’s found her own child. As I stood there watching his little face in the darkness, my heart broke to see him like this, without a family, the love and security of a mom and dad, his mom and dad, that I know and believe are out there waiting for him somewhere. The shadows of that orphanage and his face will stay with me until I know his family is found, is coming to take him home.
Until tomorrow.
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Change the World of One

It’s when you travel that you’re reminded that a good dinner the night before makes all the difference. The wonderful orphanage director had treated us to a yummy late night dinner, and we were able to get to sleep almost immediately with a good meal on our stomachs and a long day ahead.
I almost can’t believe I was here just six months ago, interviewing the kiddos who are now about to arrive in just a month’s time. It reminds me that there are always more orphans to serve, and I sometimes find myself overwhelmed by thinking how I can help each and every one of these beautiful children. Reality sets in, and I remember that I can’t change the world, but I can change the world of just one. For every one child in hosting that finds his or her forever family, that is one difference I know I can make.
 12 yr old girl - day one
Interview days are exactly like you imagine them – full to the brim. Before we can even get situated with our interview materials, the first kiddo is walking into the room. She is 12 going on 13, and my heart breaks for the children who will hit 14 and age out of the orphanage system here in China. In the moment of seeing her face, I’m reminded of the sense of loss you see in so many of the children’s eyes in the orphanages. There is a sense of waiting, wanting for someone to be their family is never ending. Many of these eyes have a look of desperation and even despair because the wait has been so long.
the brothers
To our surprise, the highlight of our day was meeting “the brothers.” If you’re familiar with adoptions in China, siblings are quite rare in the orphanages, as most children are placed there from birth. Even more rare, these two little guys are healthy, handsome, and smart as can be. At 13 and 9, these two kiddos desperately need a saving grace – the oldest is set to age out in just under a year. We will need to find a family ready to start bringing them home NOW to help them. They are typical boys and brothers, but they told us that they don’t get annoyed with each other. Even more heart-wrenching, the younger brother told us he cares for his brother VERY much. I know when we get back, the team will be ready to do everything we can to make sure they get to stay together and grow up in the forever family that they so deserve.
After a day full of 22 interviews, we hopped back onto the bus for the 5 hour ride back to Guangzhou. We chose to again stay away from the “unidentifiable meat products” and made it back to our hotel pretty late in the evening. Our bodies still haven’t adjusted to the time, so we headed down the street to find dinner that was a little more identifiable. While I tried some chicken on a stick, the rest of the crew was feeling a little less adventurous, opting for Pepsi and Snickers, the dinner of champions. We’re now settling in to rest up and get ready to meet another 30 fresh faces tomorrow, each with their own hopes of finding their forever family.
Until then 干杯! (Cheers!)

– Shannon

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Greetings from Guangzhou!

As we departed on our interview trip, in true Austin style a man sat in the terminal singing “Happy Trails” with his guitar. Well it happened – we made it! We are here in Guangzhou after somewhat of a long journey, but we finally made it! You forget how long the flight can be…7 pm Thursday departure from Austin to Houston, with a five hour layover until a 1 am flight to Beijing (which is a 15 hour trip itself), and then a four hour layover until finally our flight arrived in Guangzhou on Saturday.

shannon travel
Diedra and I preparing for the long haul

“Happy Trails” couldn’t be a more fitting song to prepare two Texas girls for a two week excursion into China to visit the orphanages and meet the amazing children and staff who live and work there. For the well-traveled, you can probably understand our gratefulness for zero travel issues along the way, with not even one delayed flight despite the crummy weather happening in Texas.

When we arrived, our wonderful adoption guide, Kelly, greeted us in Guangzhou. She took care of me during my last interview trip with Kayley, and I was so pleased to see her again this time with Diedra by my side! We wanted to visit many of the sites that our own adoptive families get to see when they come for their adoption journeys, so it was straight to Shamian Island for lunch. I have to confess, I ordered chicken tenders from the famous Lucy’s – I figured it might be my last opportunity over the next twelve days!


Instead of taking the car back to Shaiman, Kelly asked if we were up to a 35 minute exploratory walk instead. After 24 hours of being stuck sitting on a plane, our immediate answer was YES! She walked us through a large square, and we ventured down a side-street lined with row upon row of shops and people. Guangzhou is a bustling city of roughly 14 million people, and this experience really opened our eyes to some of the differences between here and back home.

Our guide, Kelly, and Diedra
We made it back to the island just in time for the rain to start pouring down (much like back in Texas, I hear), so we parted ways with Kelly and returned to our hotel. We ventured out late to a 7-Eleven, which are apparently universal! As we walked to exit, a handful of young university students approached us, overwhelmed with excitement and giggles! They were excited to see Americans and wanted to practice their English with us. How could we refuse? They were so eager because we were, for some of them, the first native English speakers they had ever spoken to. They told us about their families and their studies. Unlike many American students, their studies had been chosen for them, with their futures clearly mapped out. One of the girls was studying social work, and when she discovered that was our work and even what Diedra studied in college, she squealed with delight. We ended with a photo, hugs, and handing over of business cards. It was amazing to see the reality that, despite the cultural differences, children everywhere have similar curiosities, hopes, and dreams.
After losing the battle to stay awake from jet-lag and time change, we woke up early in the morning. With nothing to do until 11, we went for an early walk and stumbled across a park. Families were scattered everywhere, with a small group of mothers and grandmothers doing a traditional dance. Diedra hopped right on in and tried to join! Fathers and grandfathers were doing the same, even using a sword! The kids were playing and music piped in the background, and the magic of China washed over us once again.
For me, I was preparing for a reunion with our amazing staff and volunteers in China. We were meeting with Jeanne, who has been with GWCA from the start. She’s funny, sweet, and caring, and we’re so lucky to have her. Our quirky translator Lynn is going to be serving as our translator for the interview with the kiddos, and she always does an amazing job. Our volunteer Celese is joining us for the 2nd time as our medical expert and doctor. She is an adoptive mother herself and an incredible advocate for orphans, so her knowledge comes from both a medical and a maternal viewpoint!
The reunion is fun, filled with hugs and laughter. We stopped along our ride for a meal, and my oh my was the cafeteria interesting! We were given a meal ticket where we received a tray of rice, cabbage, and “unidentifiable meat products.” We tried a bite of everything, but being full from breakfast, it seemed safer to wait for dinner. We climbed back on the bus and settled in for the rest of our 5 hour trip.
I’m watching now as the sun sets over the mountains and can’t help but pinch myself and think, we are here, we actually here. These trips run deep for us all. As we approach the breath-taking mountains, I know I am about to meet the orphans who wait for this chance to be hosted, to meet a family, maybe even THEIR family. These are the children that have been waiting for someone to show them they are important, waiting to be told they are beautiful, waiting to know that they are worth something. These children are WAITING.
– Shannon
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Meet the Hosting Team!

Ever wonder who is on the other end when you call the Children of All Nations office about hosting? Though each person in our office contributes in some way to the amazing task of bringing the children here each summer and winter, this is the group of ladies you are most likely to talk to when you reach out to us about hosting!

Hosting Team

From Left to Right:

Cayce is the Hosting Program Coordinator for each of the current hosting programs! She is also part of the team who will help us launch our Latvia program this Winter 2015-2016! “My favorite part of hosting is watching the host kiddos and families grow together – from beginning to end of the hosting program, you really see the difference a family makes in the lives of these children!”

Amanda is the Hosting Program Coordinator for the Philippines and Ukraine Programs. She is passionate about helping the kiddos find their host family and potential forever family. “Hosting gives kids who normally wouldn’t get a second look their chance at experiencing a family…and maybe even finding their forever family!”

Shannon is the Hosting Director for all Children of All Nations Hosting Programs. She ensures each team member has the resources they need to help as many children as possible and works hard to help each and every one of the host families in all of our programs. “I love hosting because these are the children that are often labeled as hard to place. We are helping the children ‘nobody’ wanted find the family that has always been waiting for them!”

Kayley is the Travel Director for the Hosting Programs and is also a member of the interview teams that meet the children prior to being hosted. She’s part of the team who will help us launch our Latvia program this Winter 2015-2016, and she gets to work with families early on in the process when matching is in full swing. “Working with families to find a hosting kiddo is a great experience – sometimes the child that a family never thought of turns out to be their perfect fit!”

Want to get involved in our Hosting Program? Learn more about one of our host programs, get in touch with us about volunteering, or find out ways you can donate today!

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Interview Team Departs Next Week!


We can’t believe it’s already here! Next week, our hosting team will depart for China to visit with the children for our Winter 2015-2016 China Hosting Program.Interview trips are so vital to hosting, allowing our staff to assess if children wish to be hosted and are healthy enough for travel. It’s also a great opportunity for us to gather information we know our host families want to know about the children they will soon meet!

As an added bonus, we have brought together staff from numerous orphanages to come to a training conference hosted by Children of All Nations. We hope to provide training that will assist orphanage staff in better placing the children in need with forever families here in the United States.



Our Hosting Interview Team will blog their journey from China and, as in their previous trips, will be able to highlight the conditions and needs of children overseas. This past trip taught us so many ways we can begin improving the process of hosting and adoption.

Stay tuned for blog posts about this interview trip, and follow us on future journeys to Latvia and Ukraine! If you are interested in donating to support our interview trips to help children in need, please visit our donation page to find out about how you can make a difference today!

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Hosting Yu Yu

“Hon, I know you are going to think I’m crazy, but I want to host an orphan from China this summer…” This is how I greeted my husband the day that I dared to take a peek at the photo listing of children who needed placements for the summer hosting program. After adopting my daughter as an infant (I was single at the time), I felt in my heart the pull towards adopting an older child. But after marrying and settling in to the joys and challenges of a blended family, I figured that dream was behind me. Well, what a surprise when my husband said “I don’t think you are crazy!”, and we quickly moved ahead to meet the looming deadline to be matched with the child we felt drawn to host.


While we were open from the start to the idea of adopting if things went well, we were very nervous about all the ways that things might NOT go well. Hosting seemed like the perfect way to see what it might be like to add to our family in this way, and to see if this particular child was a good fit. And he was. After weeks of nervous preparation, our lives were forever changed by the adorable 6 year old boy who greeted us at the airport with a huge smile on his face. He was small for his age, and acted much younger than 6, but he drew us in with his humor and the sheer delight that he expressed with each new thing that he tried and experienced with us. I spent about a day feeling a bit worried about his immaturity, nervous about how the summer would go, but it didn’t last! I had worried so much about communication with a boy who knew no English, but really that was not a very big deal. He surprised us by singing some songs in English that he had learned in school in China (BINGO, Twinkle Twinkle, ABC Song) . He very quickly learned some words and phrases in English, and we learned a few essentials in Mandarin. What we didn’t know got communicated through gestures and pantomime. Yu Yu fell in love with ice cream at the first, unexpectedly cold lick. Every time we went out in the car after that, he would say “Mama!” to get my attention, then pantomime holding and licking an ice cream cone, as his way of asking to go get some ice cream! (I could hardly ever say no!)


The best part of hosting was falling in love with this amazing little boy. Experiencing him learning to love hugs and being held, snuggling in close and giving kisses – all things that seemed new to him. Watching him play and bond with our girls. Seeing the utter joy on his face as he experienced not only the big fun stuff, but the everyday things like a bath, being tucked in, and eating a picnic lunch in the yard. Seeing him go from fear of the water to actually swimming! Seeing how well he compensated for his right arm disability. Was every moment fun and easy? Well, no. He did his share of testing the limits, and laughing when reprimanded. He turned out to be a sensitive boy, crying easily at small things and sometimes just shutting down. Those were the times when the lack of common language was the hardest. But as the weeks went by, I feel like we were starting to see wonderful progress with his trust of us, his bonding with us, and learning to live with the limits. Those sparks of progress gave us hope that this was a good fit, and that he was meant to be with our family.


To be honest, the hardest part of hosting is right now, afterwards. Watching him leave us at the airport was one of the hardest moments in our lives. He already felt like our son, and we were losing him. Now, to be separated so many months as we go through the adoption process, it is really hard. At times it feels cruel to both him and us. But I also know that we would NOT be adopting right now if we hadn’t hosted. I know that we wouldn’t have been brave enough to take on the unknowns of an older child without meeting him and feeling him melt into our family. What a gift he was to us. What joy we have in looking forward to the day when we will finally be reunited with him, this time forever!


Thank you to Yu Yu’s Host Family for allowing us to share their beautiful story.

Visit to learn how you can be a part of our Hosting Program.

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