Summer 2015 was our first experience with hosting. We learned about hosting from friends. My wife and I always wanted to adopt but figured that was not going to be possible after our special needs child was born. However, five weeks of hosting a child seemed like something our family could handle. We eagerly anticipated arrival day, which was both exciting and terrifying at the same time. With only a picture and short description of your host child, your mind can create all sorts of scenarios. When the host children finally arrived, it was really hard to identify our host daughter but when we finally made eye contact, she immediately looked away and down to the ground. Our hearts sank, she was clearly scared and lacked confidence. She spoke very little the first few days, but as the summer went on she opened up. Her walls closely guarded her heart. When we returned to the airport for summer hosting departure day, she did not shed a single tear. We, however, shed many that day.
After summer hosting, her orphanage allowed us to set up weekly Skype calls. Those calls were so beneficial in keeping communication open. We had mentioned to our host daughter about returning to our home for Christmas. She grew more excited as the time grew closer and we could see her confidence was growing as well.
Winter arrivals finally came and we were much more comfortable this time around. We were able to spend time getting to know others and encouraging all those nervous first time host families. We were also anxious, not really sure what to expect for our own rehost experience. When our girl arrived, it was clear that she was a much more confident girl. She was actively looking for us and when we made eye contact, she was all smiles. It was truly wonderful. When we got home it was as if she had never left and she went straight to her room to get settled. Her English was much improved from the summer and conversations were easier. Because this was Christmas hosting, she met extended family and our shy summer host girl had officially come out of her shell. She understood she was welcome and loved and she blossomed with that knowledge.
Even in the times of testing, our host daughter was able to see that she was treated no differently that our other children. We were always careful to show her the reason for the rules was because of our love for her and desire to protect her. Even those times were very important to build her trust. Winter host departures finally came and we were dreading the day. We began to see her walls once again but when it was time to depart, she grabbed us both and began to cry. She had never cried. She could finally let her heart be vulnerable. That is the difference a rehost makes.
Our thanks to the Ellis family for sharing their winter hosting rehost testimonial!