Summer Hosting Program Offers Benefits to Children and Families


The mission of MLJ Adoptions is to serve children in need. We are committed to working collaboratively with organizations that share this purpose. Below, Laurel Boylan, a founder of God’s Waiting Children, highlights an opportunity for families to host children from Ukraine this summer.

boylan-mainIs hosting an orphan in your home this summer right for you? Why would you want to sponsor a child to come to the United States for a month, only to put him or her back on a plane to the orphanage? How could you say “good-bye”? Can the child be adopted? All good questions!

God’s Waiting Children, Inc. is a charity organization that specializes in orphan ministries. Twice a year, we bring children from Ukraine orphanages to the United States to stay with host families, similar to a foreign exchange student program. This summer we plan to bring groups of children, between the ages of six and sixteen, to California, Indiana, and North Carolina.

The children enjoy visiting America, practicing English, riding a bike or scooter and have fun going places they’d only dreamed about! But, host families are rewarded by watching the child’s personality blossom as they experience the love and security of a family and home for the first time. The child will feel special. She will experience family dinners around the table or a picnic in the park. He will learn what life is like in a private home where each family member has responsibilities and privileges. He or she will go home knowing a family in the United States cares about them.

Orphanage directors routinely tell us that a hosting trip changes the kids’ personalities for the better. Shy children return home with more confidence. Behavior-challenged children return home more obedient and respectful. Children who were previously afraid to show emotion come home more empathetic to others, caring and hopeful. Why is this so? Children living in institutions have been raised to feel like “one of the pack” or “non-existent”. Once these same kids are shown individual love and attention, they are changed forever.

But, what about the poor host family who falls in love with a child and then has to say “good-bye”? I like to equate this situation to summer camp when I was a child. I LOVED going to summer camp but I always cried when we had to leave. I hated saying good-bye to the new friends I had met. But when the next year rolled around again I would beg to go back again. The skills I learned and memories I made outweighed the sadness of leaving. I was a better person for having gone to camp. The exact same thing is true for host families and kids. When the children return to Ukraine, host families are encouraged to stay in touch via phone calls or Skype, and to send occasional cards, photos and gifts.

Host families do not have to have intentions of adopting a child. In fact, if a family knows for certain they want to adopt from Ukraine, we often recommend they save the money to host and go straight to adoption. Hosting is more for families who want to help an orphan and to make a difference in a child’s life. Hosting is also good for families who are contemplating adoption but not sure how their family will react to having another child around. If the host family decides to pursue an adoption in Ukraine, the family may request to adopt the child they hosted. God’s Waiting Children has a trusting partnership with MLJ Adoptions, who will handle any adoptions that come from hosting a child.

The children speak primarily Russian and Ukrainian languages, but will likely know some English. Surprisingly, communication during a hosting experience is usually not a problem. The children are very intelligent and learn quickly. There will also be translators available by phone 24 hours per day.

Host families pay the all expenses and travel costs for the child or children they host. The actual cost varies from trip to trip but is always a tax deductible expense through God’s Waiting Children. Each family will be asked to complete a state level background check, federal sex offender check, and child abuse clearance. For more information on specific costs, dates, and other details please contact us.'

Laurel Boylan and her husband, John, of Clovis, California, founded God’s Waiting Children, Inc. with the help and support of several other adoptive families. The Boylans currently have five children, all of whom entered their family through adoption. One of the Boylan kids was born domestically and the other four were born in Ukraine.