“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 www.orphanhosting.com to learn how you can be a part of our Hosting Program.Read More
Way to go Hosting Team! Matching is complete! We look forward to welcoming 30 children from China, 10 children from Ukraine, and 7 children from the Philippines. Thank you so much to everyone that has helped support us in our matching journey.
If you still want to be a part of hosting, read on about ways you can get involved!
Did you know that your own home is a prime vacation destination? To an orphan in the Philippines, your home is an oasis where a child can find out what the love of a family is outside of the orphanage. Last winter, an amazing group of children had the opportunity to spend a “stay-cation” in a home with a family – we want to provide that same opportunity this summer for a new group of children. Make memories like the one in the photo with a host child and be an Orphan Warrior for one amazing kid!
Bring one of the amazing children in our Philippines program to spend a 4-5 week long vacation with your family this summer! All proceeds go toward the children’s hosting costs. The kiddos in our Philippines program are healthy, know some English, and are excited to spend time with you and your family! Whether you want to host to adopt or host to advocate, WE NEED YOU! Hosting Grants ARE AVAILABLE NOW! Ask us today! Tentative dates are mid-July through mid-August, so if you’re ready to be an #OrphanWarrior, contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. Or apply today!Read More
In the fall of 2014 we heard last-minute about the Great Wall Winter Hosting Program. Our family felt compelled to move forward with the program and host a boy during the holidays. We entered the program with the possibility that we might adopt, but it could be that we were to advocate for the child.
We chose to host a six-year-old boy who turned seven a few days after his arrival in the US. Our family welcomed him into our home and he settled in quickly into our busy holiday schedule. We celebrated his birthday, attended a family wedding, enjoyed several Christmas gatherings, had numerous play dates, and stayed at my parents’ farm for a few days. It was a delightful time and he added a lot of fun boy-energy to our home with three daughters!
About halfway through our hosting, we knew we had to make a decision about whether to move forward to adopt or to advocate for his adoption. Our prayer had been that we would know whether to adopt or advocate. He fit into our family so well and we love him so, but for reasons we couldn’t really understand, our family felt we were to advocate for his adoption. That was December 31st. Our family prayed that God would lead us to the family who was to be his adoptive family.
That night at the New Year’s Eve Service at our church, a lady I knew casually came over to ask a few questions about the hosting program. As we talked and I shared about adoption (our three daughters are adopted), it became evident that this family would probably be his forever family. They had talked about adopting at some point and recently had discussed that with the ages of their biological children, it might be a good time to move forward with adoption. On January 2, they made the phone call to Great Wall to start the adoption process.
We could not have selected a better family for him! He will join a family of loving parents with a sister and brother close in age to him. The boy is three years older and the girl is about a year older, so they will be in the same school and participate in a lot of the same activities.
What we couldn’t understand quickly became evident and the beautiful journey continues to unfold. The rest of the time he was in our home, we made more memories with him that we will always cherish! The last two weeks, we spent many hours with the adoptive family, though he did not know they would be his forever family (in keeping with hosting guidelines).
Our family is so blessed to know this family even better and have our host boy grow up in our community. Of course, the first few months, we will keep our distance as he bonds with his forever family, but we look forward to being part of his life and watching him grow! What an amazing journey for us, the host boy, and the adoptive family as several lives are changed forever through this hosting experience!
Join our TEAM and contribute to our upcoming host programs. All proceeds acquired from these t-shirts will go toward hosting grants for the Summer 2015 program. These shirts will be worn by all of our hosting kids as they arrive to meet their host families for the 2014 Holiday Program. We ask that all family members and friends that will be meeting these children at the airport purchase a shirt. The shirts will be available to order until November 5th. They are $20, which includes shipping. T-shirts will be shipped after November 20th. Send this link to your friends and families and make a difference in a child’s life by joining our TEAM today!
Do you know what TEAM stands for?