When families first venture into the world of hosting, it is a foreign world to most and with that comes a lot of uncertainty and curiosity.
But know -- you are not alone!
We recently put out a survey to former host families about their first hosting. We had dozens of families respond - eager to help new host families behind them.
We thought their responses could shed some light on their family dynamics at the time they decided to host so hopefully you can see that there are all kinds of families that host, different motivations to host, and multiple fears for all families embarking on this journey. But unequivocally, their responses about what bits of advice they would offer new families - you - were full of encouragement and reflective on the life-changing experiences of orphan hosting.
First, we asked about what the household makeup was at the time of the hosting. We had parents with no children, single parents, parents with babies, parents with teens, households with an aunt or grandmother living in the home, and lots and lots of pets (76%!)
Next, we asked what their motivation for that first hosting was. We know that families have a lot of different reasons they host, but overwhelmingly, we found most are interested in adoption, with an almost equal portion that are looking to do a “reverse mission trip” where they serve orphan children within their family and home. Adoption advocacy was a sizable group as well. So no matter your reason for wanting to host, you’re in good company!
And those worries you have? They’re normal! These were the biggest major concerns by the families, with 10% falling in the “other” category where they wrote in their own fears. As you can see, language is a big one for many!! Our volunteers can help talk you through these fears and help you prepare and our been-there-done-that veteran families are here to support you throughout your hosting process too!
But their words of advice and encouragement spoke the loudest:
Don’t be afraid. Take the recommendations in the classes to heart, especially keeping their world small at first. The P143 contacts and repeat host families are always available if you have questions or are struggling and offer great advice. We were also concerned about having the chaperone stay with us but it is really a great thing. I recommend hosting the chaperone first week if you can if you are a first time host family.
Meet them where they are at. Open mind, open heart ♥️
It is more fulfilling than you can imagine. It's so fun to show a child your part of the world! We did many local things we hadn't done in years because we had forgotten about them or forgot how fun they were. But once our host child got here, we were actively looking for things to do and had the *best* summer ever.
All of our fears and concerns about hosting an older child from another country disappeared the moment we met our host son and spent time getting to know him. We quickly realized he had the same hopes, desires, fears, and dreams as other teens his age. Hosting older children is an experience that will impact your life and theirs for the better forever! Truly an unforgettable experience.
Follow 143 Million Reasons on Facebook over the coming weeks for more advice from these veteran families.