Krystle Detwiler | Host Mom
I had so many emotions, but I think the biggest one was hope.
I hoped that he liked us. I hoped that we could be a positive force in his life. I hoped that his summer would be filled with rest and smiles and all the things that a child's summer would be. And I hoped that we would form a bond that would make us family.
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 next family to be featured are the Detwiler’s! They are in the process of adopting a boy from Ukraine. Please read on for their stories and advice below:
What event or feeling led you to want to host/adopt?
I saw a Facebook post with our boy's picture; it had been shared by another host/adopt P143 family.
How did you feel when you met your child for the first time?
I felt everything when we met our host son for the first time! I was nervous about how he would react to us; would he even like us? We're likable, right? What if he DOESN'T like us?
I was excited to bring him into the fold of our family! I was excited to see his reaction to new things and excited to see how he would like things our family likes. I was worried about the language barrier. I wondered if he would even talk to us! Would it be awkward to use a phone to translate conversations? I had so many emotions, but I think the biggest one was hope. I hoped that he liked us. I hoped that we could be a positive force in his life. I hoped that his summer would be filled with rest and smiles and all the things that a child's summer would be. And I hoped that we would form a bond that would make us family.
At what point did you know this child was part of your family?
Honestly, from the moment I saw his picture I knew he was my son. I just knew. I knew that our hope to adopt "one day" had been waiting for this moment. I think his summer hosting was just an affirmation that he was ours.
What was your favorite moment during the hosting process? (Example: a funny moment with language, cooking together, a breakthrough moment, etc.)
How to choose?! I loved seeing him feel at home. I remember one day when dad and the boys were cleaning up the garage, totally mundane, and our 8 year old was whining and complaining, and our host son just started barking orders and told him to stop being lazy- typical older sibling! I remember when my husband was talking about the motorcycle ride he took our host son on, and I was concerned they were traveling to fast, and our host son quickly jumped to my husband's defense, "No! No! Papa go slow!" It was the first time he called either of us by a parental term. I don't even think he realized he did it. There were a few activities where I could tell our host son just wasn't sure about - miniature golf and Christmas cookie decorating - because he said he didn't want to participate. We gave him some space, had some fun, and continued to invite him to join. Once he saw what it was all about, or that you really can't do it incorrectly, he joined it and had fun with us. Those were great growing moments.
What was your hardest moment during the hosting process?
I think it was hard to have deeper conversations. We had to really set the stage and gently guide the conversation past surface level stuff. It took a deliberate effort to find the moments to form those connections.
And, of course, it was always hard to say good-bye. Not knowing when we would be together again was the worst kind of uncertainty. Your host child can really become YOUR child during hosting and you feel untrusting of releasing them back into the care of anyone else.
What is one bit of advice you can offer to a new host family - one thing you wish someone would have told you?
I think the fears are all pretty well known and you can prepare as much as you can. I think it's just important to remember that as hard as it is for a good hosting period to end, it's hard on EVERYONE. Your host child now has to return to a less than ideal living situation knowing that their host family's lives will go on as normal, your other children will feel big emotions and likely act out, and you will notice how much quieter the house is without your host child. And, while all of these big emotions are hard, they are worth every moment you have together.
What do you wish you would have done better to prepare for hosting or adoption?
I don't know that you can ever really be prepared... honestly. Have a good community of people that are on the same path and people that have walked it before you. They will be the only ones to understand your array of feelings, your struggles, and whatever it is that keeps you pushing through.
How have your relationships changed with friends/family after your hosting/adoption experience?
I think relationships have changed. I think when you host or adopt that you find out who truly supports your family's choices and is willing to encourage you or who will distance themselves. This can be really hard, but ultimately beneficial for you to know. Those that support you will jump in with you, ready to love on your new kiddo, and those that don't will pull back... and this works, because you really only want the most welcoming people surrounding your new kiddo. They've been hurt by enough people in life that you need to protect them from those people going forward; this holds true for family members and friends.
If you hosted the same child you adopted, did you find it beneficial? Would you have adopted without hosting first?
It has been so beneficial for us to have hosted prior to the adoption process! Not only have we already begun forming relationships with our soon-to-be-adopted son, knowing him has been what has kept us pushing through a tough adoption process. I think that knowing him, having hugged him, having had him burrow into our hearts has been the light at the end of the tunnel for us when we'd otherwise have given up.
What is your top resource (or 2 or 3) that helped you and you want to share?
1. Other families (via in person or online)
2. Books - The Whole Brained Child (Lots of highlights in my copy!) and any others you can get your hands on!
3. God - if you are a believer, believe this is what He has called you to do!
To Contact our Featured Family:
Krystle Detwiler: [email protected]
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