From Hosting to Adoption: Consider our Ukraine Program!


Ukraine has long been a popular country to allow the hosting of children who have been orphaned. Children participating in the hosting program range in ages from 6 to 16. Hosting can offer many families, as well as the hosted child,  an opportunity of a lifetime! Children hosted from Ukraine reside in orphanages, so hosting allows the child to experience family life during a summer visit to the U.S., as well a cultural exchange with the chance to experience a summer of fun! For families, it not only gives them the opportunity of giving a memorable vacation to a vulnerable child but for some families it is an experience that allows them to “try on” adoption. Three of my own children were adopted as a result of hosting!

What makes the program so special for many families is having a child that has lived in an orphanage setting, staying even for a brief time, in their home.  The family spends time with and gets to know the children and sometimes that is all that is needed to help them make the decision to pursue an international adoption. Most of the families that participate want to host single children six to nine years old, however like most countries, there is great need for children over the age of nine and/or who are part of a sibling group of three or more.

Many families typically have many concerns about older children. I hear concerns from families considering hosting a child.

“How will we communicate?”

“What will they be like?”

“Don’t they have attachment and bonding issues?”

As someone who has personally adopted older children, I understand those concerns. With regards to language, people are often surprised when I share my story of how quickly children learn the English language. My girls who were adopted at ages six and seven from Ukraine were able to communicate in English within three months and were fluent by six months after coming home.

While children coming from an institutionalized setting are not without trauma, I have seen far more good than bad when it comes to the hosting experience and even families pursuing adoption afterwards. I can’t guarantee that it will all be good, but I have seen many children excel with the love and stability a family offers. As for bonding, it is different for each child and depends on what their background experiences were. As for parenting older children, it is not always been easy. My older children very much wanted a family and relish being part of our family. There are so many children that have the same desire to have a family and a sense of belonging. If an adoptive family completes the required education on parenting adopted children, they will learn different parenting techniques that work for institutionalized children. These techniques help them learn to develop a strong support system, there is a very good chance for a positive outcome.  I have witnessed it, I have lived it.

For families that will consider older children, Ukraine is a relatively fast process for an international adoption. There are many older children eligible for adoption with little or no wait, both boys and girls! Who knows, your child may just be waiting for you!

Lydia Tarr works as the International Program Director for MLJ Adoptions’ programs in Bulgaria and Ukraine. She is the adoptive mother of four children from Ukraine and was recognized as a 2013 Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (CCAI) Angels in Adoption Program.