Hosting Stories: Degnan Family


Lisa D.

Host/Adoptive Mother

Permanence is huge!  The knowledge that they are here to stay is big.

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 third family to be featured are the Degnan's! They are a family of 8 with 3 children adopted from Latvia. Please read on for their stories and advice below:

What event or feeling led you to want to host/adopt?
I opened an email from P143. Somehow I had been on the email list for a long time since our friends had hosted years earlier. So the email was about a boy who needed a host family because all of his sisters were being hosted.  He was basically being left behind. So I replied to the email.  Ultimately then being matched with another child because the one I replied about wasn't a match for us.
How did you feel when you met your child for the first time? 
It was very overwhelming for all 5 of us. My Husband and I immediately felt a connection with her and knew that we would adopt her, although my husband and I didn't talk about any of that for a few days or a week. 
At what point did you know this child was part of your family?
When we hugged her at the airport at arrival. It felt like my heart was about to explode when I hugged her.
What was your favorite moment during the hosting process?  (Example:  a funny moment with language, cooking together, a breakthrough moment, etc.)
Our first hosting was full of joy!  We loved getting to know her!  We loved hearing about her country, listening to her language, helping her learn our ways.  Favorite moments from our 2nd hosting with all 3 was being able to spend the summer out on the Wisconsin river and teaching them all about boating and fishing. Favorite moment from our 3rd hosting was getting to watch our 7 year old open up his Christmas gifts for the first time ever!  Getting to see his joy, and hearing him tell us soooo many times that it was the best day of his life.
What was your favorite moment during the adoption process? (Ex: meeting other kids, meeting other people in-country, trying new foods, etc.)
Being in-country was so fun!  We took our 3 teen kids too!  We got to explore a castle, explore old town Riga, and go to church in Riga. We experienced many different restaurants and Latvian food was delicious.  We also went to the Baltic sea and had a blast doing a beach day. So many fun memories in Latvia and we look forward to our trip 3 and again we will be taking our whole family again.  Do not leave your kids at home, take them!!! Also go to the go cart place in Latvia it was so fun, in Mauraupe.
What was your hardest moment during the hosting process?
Lots of hard moments!  The “not trusting” you to do things and testing how much you care for them.  Sending them home was very hard. You feel very torn because you are worn out from the rollercoaster of hosting but you don't want to send them back either.
What has been the hardest moment since the adoption?
Our kids have been home 5 months now and I would say the toughest moments are again about trust but the ups and downs that we experienced every day with hosting doesn't happen anymore.  The routine and stability of the permanent family is very helpful.
What is one bit of advice you can offer to a new host family - one thing you wish someone would have told you?
Just have fun, don't worry at all and just pray continually for God to lead the way. Also focus on activities that can bond the whole family together.
What do you wish you would have done better to prepare for hosting or adoption?
I'm not sure you can really prepare yourself for what God is about to do in your life.
How have your relationships changed with friends/family after your hosting/adoption experience?
We have had so much support in our small town and within our friends and family. I feel like everyone really became involved in our story and still support us 5 months home.
If you hosted the same child you adopted, did you find it beneficial?  Would you have adopted without hosting first?
I would not have adopted if we had not hosted. I'm so glad we hosted before adopting!!!  We did not host to adopt but that's exactly what happened.
How has your adopted child adapted to their new family and home?
Permanence is huge!  The knowledge that they are here to stay is big.  All 3 are doing much better than we thought they would. Being home with them and living our daily life is much better than when we hosted. 

To Contact our Featured Family:

Email Lisa D. at

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:

• Host/Adopt:

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