Hosting – A Family’s Perspective

Guest post by The Wagner Family
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1. What led you to consider hosting?
Living Hope emailed my husband (who gets hundreds of emails a day and normally deletes things that aren’t urgent). He read it and prayed over it and sent it to me and ask me to pray about it as well. I was “all in” and started to look through the children’s photos and descriptions. We had worked in mental health for 11 years and had worked with several children and adults with DS and I was instantly drawn to Brooke’s  photo! We thought we were participating in the hosting program to advocate for her adoption; but God had other plans to make her our daughter!!!!
2. What were your biggest fears in going into hosting?
Truly, my only fear was the language barrier and it was evident only 5 minutes after meeting Brooke that our language differences weren’t going to be as big of an issue as I had assumed. However, toward the end of her time here, both Brooke and all of our family wanted to communicate at a much deeper level and we all felt some frustration. At the same time, she was starting to use more and more English words when she spoke to us. I feel that she will learn quickly when she is immersed in the language when she returns home to us.

3. What surprised you about the experience?

The biggest surprise was when we continued to find “perfect” families for Brooke and the doors just kept closing for them. We couldn’t understand why it was happening and yet, we were falling in love with Brooke more and more every day and she was a perfect in our family! As we continued to pray, God showed us His plan for Brooke to be a permanent member of our family! Here we were with two adult, married children; one daughter leaving for college and one about to be a senior in high school and now we were becoming parents (and grandparents)! Our first granddaughter was born only a few weeks after Brooke went back to China. I wish she had been here when Lauren was born and I can’t wait for her to meet Lauren. Brooke always cupped her hands over my daughter’s pregnant belly and talked to “Baby LoLo.” She even drew pictures of my daughter and put a picture of a baby in her belly. LOL

4. What was the best part?
When God made it clear that we were going to be Brooke’s family! We can’t wait to have her home!
5. What was the most challenging?
Brooke is so joyful and happy; but she is also stubborn and has little fear of people or situations. For example, we took her to an indoor water park and she wore a life vest the whole time; but she would run from us and jump into the deepest water or try to get on a slide that was too big for her to do alone. She requires constant supervision; but she brings us joy and laughter and love!
6. What advice would you give to a family considering hosting?
Pray; let go of your worries; have fun; advocate by exposing the child to your friends & family & community; give them tasks and allow them to participate in daily family life; cherish the moments; take photos – lots of them; include your immediate & extended family in activities; trust and be patient as you seek God’s plan and purpose in your hosting time!
WHAT IS ORPHAN HOSTING? The hosting program is an opportunity to show an orphan what it means to be a part of a family. The child comes to the US and stays with the family for 4-5 weeks. The Summer program is scheduled for July. The family embraces the child and showers them with love and security! There are many reasons to host an orphan….perhaps you are interested in adoption (and are open to adopting the child), perhaps you want to advocate for a child who is available for adoption, perhaps you have a giant heart with love to give…. all are great reasons to host! Ultimately, we hope that after the hosting session, we will be in a better position to find the child an adoptive family, as you will become an ´expert´ on that child and can aid in the process of advocating for the child. Register here to view the children available for Summer 2016!  Email Philip at phillam@livinghopeintl.org with any questions.
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