International Orphan Hosting in 2020


What a year 2020 has been for people all over the world.  Not a single organization, family, business has been unaffected by the novel coronavirus - and hosting programs are certainly not an exception.

Hosting programs are incredibly challenging under the very best of circumstances.

  • Identifying children for the program
  • Working with families as they select the children they wish to host
  • Family paperwork (including social worker visits, background checks, and medical clearances)
  • Planning the international travel components
  • Procuring travelers’ health insurance

….. all happen on the United States side.  We also work with our partners in the US to submit all needed official documentation to the children’s country.

Our international partner organizations have a huge responsibility as well.  They have to:

  • Get the government approvals for each individual child
  • Prepare children and chaperone travel documents (passports, visa applications)
  • Arrange and facilitate in-country travel to meet the international components
  • In Ukraine and Colombia, children 14 and older have to travel in person to the United States embassy for visa interviews.
  • Our Colombian children also attend a camp for two weeks ahead of travel.  They finalize documents while they are in Bogota as well as prepare children for the travel experience.

It’s a coordinated dance that Project 143 has been doing for 10 years!  Rules change every season and each country has some different components they require, but our team has a plan and system for each program and have been able to execute hosting trips for THOUSANDS of children over these 10 years.

And along came COVID-19 in 2020.  We had to make the very painful decision to cancel all host programs in the summer and then again, our European programs for the winter host season.

We are still moving forward with our Colombian host program this winter with some very special precautions we have never faced before:

  • We have had to get additional health insurance that will cover coronavirus illness while in the United States.
  • The children and chaperones will be COVID tested prior to going to the camp and will do a quarantine while at the camp.
  • They will be tested for COVID again prior to travel to the United States.
  • Every family has agreed to have every family member tested within 96 hours of the children’s arrivals.
  • The children and chaperones will again be tested prior to departing back to Colombia.

Obviously, the hosting season will be different for all of us, but our many thanks to every partner that is making this possible:  La Casa de la Madre y el Nino, CCAI Adoptions, Holt International, ICBF, the social workers who have worked to get families approved, and most importantly … the incredible families who have stepped forward and endured the delays, changes, and extra regulations in order to welcome TWENTY-EIGHT children into their families for Christmas this year!!  We could not be more grateful for every one of you!


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Traci Mai

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