My Host Child’s Departure… Now What?


It is so easy for us to be caught up in comparison, isn’t it?

Social media magnifies the intensity of our subconscious need to compare ourselves to everyone else, even if their path looks nothing like ours.

Each situation is unique. Each family is unique.  Each child is unique

Our family came to orphan hosting in a very unusual way, but we are so thankful that our path has led us here. The hosting experience was more than we could ask for, such a fun-filled adventurous time. At times we felt that we walked the line of advocacy versus hosting, unsure of which path we were on.  The severe impact that COVID had on our journey made it seem messier and more chaotic than we anticipated but when we stood at the airport to welcome our host daughter, it was all worth it. She fit into our family perfectly.  She played with our children, joined in their dance classes, went on adventures with us, and even offered joking comments to us that fit our family’s personality perfectly. Everything fit together so well.  

The most difficult point in the hosting period was the final week and the realization that this amazing adventure was coming to an end much sooner than we wanted. The hosting time flew by quickly, leaving us longing for just a few more days. We could tell the emotions were heavy on her heart and the thought of leaving was difficult for her to process.  The departure was emotional and we sent part of our hearts with her the day we hugged and cried together at the airport.

The departure was emotional and we sent part of our hearts with her the day we hugged and cried together at the airport.

Over the next few weeks, each member of our family processed our emotions and the hosting experience in different ways.  My husband and I had many conversations about the potential of adoption and we knew that we wanted to include our children in this process as well.  Their lives and our family unit would inevitably change by adding another family member so including our children in those sensitive conversations was of utmost importance. Two of our children were immediately supportive of the potential adoption but our third child was more hesitant, which is not what we expected.  She was timid to share her feelings towards adoption and leery about the idea of bringing our host daughter into our family forever.  

We had many conversations with our kids about adoption in the weeks that followed, knowing that there was a specific time frame that we needed to make a decision. It was hard processing through these feelings, especially when other host families were so certain about adoption and jumped in with both feet without hesitation.  The comparison had set in.   

We began wondering why it was so easy for some families to say “yes” and yet our family was struggling to reach that collective “yes”.

This is where our eyes were opened to the realization that each journey is different, and each family’s process to sort through emotions. 

On a sunny afternoon laying on the trampoline, just the two of us, was when my daughter opened up about her concerns and fears related to adoption. “What if she changes?”  The question wasn’t one I expected but it was a very real, deep, emotional question that was causing her concern.  In her mind, she was not processing what she had experienced during hosting and the fun times we had, she was looking ahead. “What if she changes?”.  We all change, don’t we?  Nothing is the same today as it was yesterday or how it will be tomorrow.  In a conversation with her, she came to the realization that she too would change during this adoption process, we all will.  Our children and host daughter would change, grow, mature, and be slightly different than how they were during hosting. Hosting had changed all of our hearts.  We knew that adoption was in our future at some point, it just took hosting for us to realize who our missing piece was

“What if she changes?” 

 We all change, don’t we?  

Nothing is the same today as it was yesterday or how it will be tomorrow.

- Host Sister

Comparison is hard. 

It is stressful and anxiety-producing.  We cannot compare our experiences with others, whether that is advocating, hosting, or adoption.  Each child fits into a host family in a different way.  Some families are on the path for adoption while others are on the path for advocacy.  Do not discount the importance of advocacy as it is a vital piece of the orphan hosting journey to help the children find forever families. If your hosting journey didn’t lead to the path of adoption, it’s ok.  You are changed.  Your heart is changed.  Your host child is changed. You are advocating for a child who may not be the first to be chosen for a forever family.

As you follow your own path in orphan care, do not let the cloud of comparison muddle the view of the difference you can make in the life of a child.

Thank you to the guest writer who was kind enough to share their family's story with us!

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Traci Mai

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