Hosting to Adopt FAQ

Q. What is Hosting like?

A. Hosting is, depending on the agency or organization bringing the children, an approximately  three-to-five-period whereby older children in government care overseas stay with American families.  The bulk of hosting programs are run in the summer although some are done during the holidays.  Through hosting older kids receive a unique experience to share the love and life of a family, attend day camp, and enjoy educational and cultural activities in the United States. While the children are here they usually receive medical, dental, and/or psychological attention (as needed) and cultivate a lifetime connection with an American family. For most they find families who love them and begin the process of adoption.

 Q.  What is hosting advocacy?

A.  Some programs require advocacy for the child.  Hosts are not required to adopt but are asked to do outreach on behalf of the child so that the child’s vacation results in a family adopting that child.  Hosting is exhausting and exhilarating.  Hosts are busy engaging with the child and doing outreach on the child’s behalf.  Kidsave’s program is based on the principle of advocacy, and communities are built to support families doing the outreach.

Some hosting programs bring children only to families interested in adoption.  In those situations a community might not exist, but a host has the ability to have the child in their home for approximately a month and determine whether that child is a fit for adoption.

 Q. What are the ages of the kids that participate in the hosting programs?

A.  The children who come for hosting have little or no chance to be adopted in their own countries because of their age.  Children in hosting are always older, at least above 7. 

  • International: Usually children are between the ages of 8-13 Sometimes a younger sibling (under 7) might travel with an older sibling.  
  • Domestic Foster Care: Youth are age 9 -18.

Q. How are children selected for hosting?

A. The children are selected based on specific program requirements and those who are believed to have the ability to benefit from the experience.  Depending on the hosting program they may or may not have special needs.  Many governments screen for and report disabilities, trauma, sexual abuse and attachment challenges and agencies are continually working to improve this. Moreover, sending countries and social workers in agencies make decisions about children best suited for life in a family and who have the ability to successfully transition to life in another culture.  

Q. Who can Host?

A. Hosting guidelines vary based on the sending country.

  • Hosts must be at least 24 years old. There is no maximum age to host.
  • Hosts can be married couples, a single woman or a single man.  Oftentimes a psychological evaluation is required.  Many sending countries will not allow same sex couples to host.
  • No member of the host household can have a conviction for any violent crime or a crime against a child. Other types of prior convictions such as drug or alcohol abuse/DUI will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Hosts must be in good physical and psychiatric health. Prior psychiatric hospitalization/ history, and in Colombia, for example, hosts who want to move forward to adopt cannot use psychotropic medication.
  • The host family’s home (house or apartment) must provide a safe environment and include adequate space.
  • A host child may share a bedroom with at most one other child of the same gender.
  • a minimum of one adult host must be a licensed driver in good standing.
  • a past disrupted adoption or denial by home study agency may cause ineligibility for hosting

All policies for host family selection are bound by country protocols.

Q. What kind of training and support will host families receive?

A. Host families must complete required training required by the home study agency or hosting organization. In Kidsave’s program families receive training materials and resources such as the Host Family Handbook, The Profile of the Older Post-Institutionalized Child, How to Talk to My Host Child About Adoption- Not!, a Child Talk language guide, and a recommended reading list so that they can learn more about the issues a post-institutionalized child may face. While the children are here for the summer, families have the support of their local social worker, coordinator, and Kidsave staff.  Hosts attend two support meetings during the program, facilitated by their local coordinator. Additionally, families get access to a resource guide that outlines additional support services.

Q. What is purpose of the Weekend, Weekday and/or Monthly events?

A. Events are designed to give the community an opportunity to meet the children/youth and interact with them, while making a connection.

Q. Do host families have to speak the child’s language (International)?

A. No.  It is helpful when families speak the child’s language but not required.  Most families do not find the language barrier a critical problem. Families who have hosted children say they were able to overcome communication problems quickly. To provide additional support to our host families.  Kidsave provides a glossary of familiar terms in the child’s language called Child Talk. Volunteer translators typically attend events, and are available to interpret and help families communicate with their kids.

Q. What if a family decides to adopt?

A. If a family decides they would like to adopt a child they have met through hosting, they move ahead to prepare a dossier with the help of a child placing agency.  For agency-sponsored programs, the adoptin agencycontinues working with the family.  In non-agency host programs, such as Kidsave’s Summer Miracles program, Kidsave provides the family with next steps and a list of Hague-accredited partnering agencies who can manage the adoption. Only an adoption agency can verify the legal availability of the child for adoption.

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