Could hosting an orphan from Ukraine in your home over the winter holidays be right for your family? MLJ Adoptions is organizing a Ukraine hosting program during the winter break and is currently seeking 8-10 host families who may be interested in participating. The dates haven’t been finalized but typically the children will come for a 10-14 day visit right after Christmas. A host family is also needed for the Ukrainian escorts of the children, which will include lodging as well as a willingness to entertain them during the visit.
Hosted children enjoy visiting the United States and staying with American families, learning English, practicing how to ride a bike and having fun going places they have previously only dreamed about. The most rewarding part of hosting is being able to see firsthand the child’s personality bloom as they experience what it is like to be a part of a two-parent family and experience family activities, possibly for the for the first time. I met three of my four children through hosting and they still speak of the fun they had during their initial visit to the United States.
Many of the orphanage directors who have participated in hosting programs share that the opportunity provided helped to build confidence in the hosted children and that they saw improvement in the children’s behavior. Children with behavior-challenges return to Ukraine being more obedient and respectful. Once these same kids are shown individual love and attention, it changes them forever. It gives them hope knowing there is someone who that cares about them.
But, what about the host family who falls in love with a child and then has to say “good-bye”? When the children return to Ukraine, host families are encouraged to stay in touch with phone calls or Skype, and to send occasional cards, photos and gifts. It is a great boost to the children’s morale to have someone that cares about them and to encourage them. Every package received can elevate the child to semi-celebrity status and is a great way to boost the children’s morale. Even receiving a letter during the holiday season can be significant to a child whose family, both immediate and extended, has abandoned them.
Host families do not have to have intentions of adopting a child, however it is a great opportunity for families who are contemplating adoption. The hosting experience allows families to see how their family will react to having another child around, specifically an older child. If the host family decides to pursue an adoption from Ukraine, the family may request to adopt the child they hosted. MLJ Adoptions will work with families that express a desire to adopt their host child, however any referral must come from the Ukrainian State Department of Adoptions and cannot be assured by MLJ Adoptions. In the past, not all families have been able to adopt their host child, but have considered their experience as a stepping stone to moving forward to adopt an older child or a younger child from a different country.
The children speak primarily Russian and Ukrainian languages. Surprisingly, communication during the hosting experience is usually not a problem. The children are very intelligent and learn English quickly. Families are given a document with common Russian phrases on it – plus with technology today many phones and computers have apps on them that will even say the word for you! There will also be translators available by phone 24 hours per day. Additionally, non-verbal communication such as smiling, gestures and drawing can help families overcome the language barrier initially.
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 a tax deductible expense. Each family will be asked to complete a Host Home Safety Review which will include a state level background check, federal sex offender check, and child abuse clearance. Families do not have to live in Indiana to host. For more information on specific costs, dates, and other details please contact Lydia@mljadoptions.com. Hosting a child changes the life of the orphan and blesses the host family in ways hard to put into words.
For more information on adopting from Ukraine, please contact us.