Once they knew that I believed in them, they started believing in themselves and that's when everything began to change.
It wasn't easy, but it was so worth it.
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?
Our family began hosting in 2014 and has hosted quite a few kids. When the photo listing opened in early 2018, we logged in to see who we would host this season. My eyes were immediately drawn to two children near the top of the page. These children had been in the airport several years ago when we hosted our very first child. They were actively playing on the luggage carousel and my daughter said "We should host those children!" They went on to be hosted by another family who hosted them for several seasons, but we never forgot about them. When I saw them on the photo listing, I knew they were the ones.
How did you feel when you met your children for the first time?
I was very excited to meet them and happy that they were fairly fluent in English. Before we left the airport, one of them flashed a handsome smile and said "Will you buy me coca-cola?" Of course I said yes. They LOVE coke and still talk about that memory of the very first thing I did for them.
At what point did you know these children were part of your family?
I had followed the story of these children as they were hosted by others so I knew a bit about them. I, honestly, felt like they were meant to be a part of our family before they arrived.
What was your favorite moment during the hosting process? (Example: a funny moment with language, cooking together, a breakthrough moment, etc.)
My boys had a long, complicated story of rejection and they had closed their heart to finding a family. In their words, they agreed to come for hosting to "have a good summer" but did not want to get close to a family. I respected that. However, when they learned that I knew about their past and didn't judge, they began to open up to developing a relationship, and by the time hosting was over they were asking to come back. Watching their hearts open that summer was one of the best experiences of my life.
What was your favorite moment during the adoption process? (Ex: meeting other kids, meeting other people in-country, trying new foods, etc.)
My boys knew they were being adopted by us, and one day after school their social worker told them the date we were coming. Due to the time difference, our adoption agency had not told us yet. They boys called me at 8:00 AM to tell me the court date and were so excited they were the ones to get to give us that information. Then, of course, the day we picked them up from the orphanage also tops the list of favorite moments. All that paperwork was finally worth it when we got to take them out the orphanage doors for the last time.
What was your hardest moment during the hosting process?
Departure day was the hardest. Each child handles it differently. Our first adopted child looked back and waved many times as she went toward security. These two stepped on the escalator and never looked back. Later, they told me they didn't want to look back because they didn't want to cry in front of the other host kids.
What has been the hardest moment since the adoption?
We knew our boys had some behavioral challenges before adopting. In fact, we knew it before hosting them. However, we also knew it wasn't their fault. Soon after bringing the boys home, I took them to Costco with me to buy groceries. We had been there with them during hosting, but this time was different. They were touching everything, ducking under shelves, and one hid in a display shed and popped up to wave at people as they went by. As we rounded a corner, one knocked some items off a shelf and walked away. When I asked him to help me pick up the items, the other boy rode off on my cart full of groceries. They were loud and we were a spectacle. I could feel people staring at us, and saw the judgmental looks. I heard one lady tell her husband "They are too old to act like that." She was right. Eventually, we were able to pay and head to the car. Later that day, my husband and I agreed both of us would go on future shopping trips with the boys.
These days, I am told how polite and well behaved both boys are when they go to an event or stay over at a friend's house. Those early challenges are a distant memory, but it took lots of time and patience to get to this point. Once they knew that I believed in them, they started believing in themselves and that's when everything began to change. It wasn't easy, but it was so worth it.
What is one bit of advice you can offer to a new host family - one thing you wish someone would have told you?
If someone had told me not to stress so much before the child arrives, I probably would not have been able to take that advice as I have a plan and process for everything. However, after hosting many times, I no longer worry very much about preparations before a child arrives. I have basics ready and know it will all work out in the end.
If you hosted the same children you adopted, did you find it beneficial? Would you have adopted without hosting first?
I feel hosting is beneficial for getting to know a child and determining whether they will succeed in your family. In this case, it was also beneficial for the host children to see if they wanted to be in our family. Our boys probably would not have said yes to becoming part of our family without being hosted by us first.
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