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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Landon the Puppet Master

Meet Landon!  Landon is a breath of fresh air.  He will be 12 in February and is hopeful that a family will come forward to host him over the holidays this winter!  Landon is an intelligent young man who likes to sing songs and recite poetry.  He even knows many English words!  Landon also enjoys playing games with his friends, and watching movies.  Landon is a polite, kind, respectful young man.  He suffers from mild Cerebral Palsy, but you will see in his videos that it does not stop him!  He can completely care for himself, though he would appreciate a ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’ to dote on him, even if it is only for four weeks this winter!

Landon the Puppet Master!

What a talented boy

Landon Picture 1_Sept. 6, 2015 web Landon Picture 2_Sept. 6, 2015 web

 

Landon is available for hosting through Living Hope International this winter.  More than anything, he dreams of spending time as part of a ‘real’ family.  The holidays are a time of giving and showing love to those in need — be that for Landon.  Email Philip at phillam@livinghopeintl.org for more information!

 

He’s ALL BOY

Meet Tyler.  We don’t need to say much about him, as the pictures speak for themselves!  He’s ALL BOY!  He loves running, and jumping, and playing, and messing around.  And you will see from the video that his mild Cerebral Palsy doesn’t slow him down one bit!!

Tyler is 7 years old, and is available for hosting this winter.  He needs a family to step forward, and show him what a family is for four short weeks.  Register at http://livinghopeintl.org/orphan-hosting-program/available-children/ or email Philip directly at phillam@livinghopeintl.org for more information about Tyler, or any of other the precious kids available for hosting.

 

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Crazy, disorganized love

I can remember every second of the day he was born.  I remember the smell of the hospital.  I remember the pain.  I remember the joy.  I remember the exhaustion.  I remember the slew of family members waiting in the waiting room.  I remember the panic when they told me he had a heart murmur.  I remember the calm I felt knowing he would be fine….knowing I was in a state-of-the-art hospital with great medical insurance, and a rock-solid support system.

Jason Picture_Sept. 5, 2015

I remember the day we went home.  I remember how nervous I was.  I remember taking him into his perfectly appointed nursery.  I remember the late nights.  The dirty diapers.  The feedings after feedings after feedings.  I remember the frozen casseroles that people brought by.  I remember calling my Mom crying, worried I wasn’t doing it all right.  I remember the sheer exhaustion.  While living it, I thought the sleepless nights would never end.  Looking back, I realize those were the moments….those were the moments that mattered.  Not all babies get those moments…..not all Moms get those moments.
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With each file I read of one of our kids in the hosting program, I am reminded of my Mom beginnings, and I can’t help but think of her.  Of his mother.  I know she still remembers the day.  I know she still remembers the feelings.  What I cannot imagine is the pain she must feel by remembering the choice she was forced to make.  The choice to leave him at a hospital at only 20 days old, knowing she couldn’t give him enough.  She knew he needed extra care.  She knew she wasn’t in a position to provide it, so she did all she knew to do, to give him a chance.  She left him.
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He has spent the past five years in an orphanage.  A good orphanage.  But an orphanage nonetheless.  He didn’t get undivided attention as a baby.  He wasn’t coddled and rocked and doted on.  He has slept in a sterile room with other children.  He basic needs have been met by different people.  He has survived.
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I think of my worst days as a Mom.  I get impatient.  I yell.  I get mad that there is playdoh embedded in the carpet.  That the dog has gum stuck in her fur.  That the new DVD player was just broken.  But these moments are fleeting.  And ultimately even my worst days are filled with hugs.  With kisses.  With I Love You.  With I’m Sorry.  And then it hits me…..my worst Mom days would be his best days as a kid….would be days his birth Mom would give anything to live with him.  He deserves to be a part of a family.  A part of a crazy, disorganized, full of love family, even for just four short weeks this winter.  Could you be that family for him?
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Jason is 5 years old, and is available for hosting this winter.  He needs a family to step forward, and show him what a family is for four short weeks.  Register at http://livinghopeintl.org/orphan-hosting-program/available-children/ or email Philip directly at phillam@livinghopeintl.org for more information about Jason, or any of other the precious kids available for hosting.

Jessica

Jessica is an intelligent, caring young lady.  She turned 12 this past June.  She is a very fast learner and would thrive in a formal school environment.  Jessica communicates very well with others, is always willing to help, and gets along with all of the other children.  She is always available to help the teachers whenever they need it!

Jessica Picture 2_Sept. 6, 2015 web

 

Jessica loves reading and writing, and is doing very well with both.  She is eager to learn, eager to please, and an all around joy to be around!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jessica is available for hosting.  If you are interested in hosting Jessica, please register here

Little Mother

Meet Lily, our ‘Little Mother.’  Lily is always willing to help out around the orphanage, especially with the littler children!  She has a sweet, nurturing spirit about her, and does her best to help take care of the toddlers and babies.

Video of Lily

Lily is anxiously awaiting a family to step forward to host her this winter!  She will turn 9 on December 11th while she is here with you!  Lily suffers from mild Cerebral Palsy, but that doesn’t slow her down one bit :).

Lily Picture_Sept. 5, 2015 edited

Joyful English Summer Camp

From July 30th until August 7th, the children enjoyed a wonderful, nine-day, English summer camp with American teachers.  No matter whether they were indoors or outdoors, they were able to learn something new everyday.  Their activities included painting, singing, crafts, new methods of learning, etc., filling each child’s heart with blessed joy.

SarahTeachEnglish

Miss Sarah teaches her group of small children how to say the English names of various fruits. Each child will receive a toy fruit and and repeat the English word, taking turns holding the models. Since the children get to directly touch what is being taught, the learning experience is significantly more efficient and enjoyable.

 

SheMing (a boy who used to living in our orphanage but has now been adopted by an American family) mother, sister, Larissa, and Sarah taught the kids to sing, the song was about how the wise man builds his house upon the rock, while the foolish man builds his house upon the sand. Seeing the teachers so joyfully singing the songs, the kids joined in on the fun, imitating the teachers. The American teachers taught the kids so many great songs, many kids from the 201 home were still singing “11 monkeys on the bed” several days after the teachers had left. Even though they didn’t fully understand all the lyrics, the kids sang so happily so in an engaged manner, so that they will always remember these days with fondness.

SheMing (a boy who used to living in our orphanage but has now been adopted by an American family) mother, sister, Larissa, and Sarah taught the kids to sing, the song was about how the wise man builds his house upon the rock, while the foolish man builds his house upon the sand. Seeing the teachers so joyfully singing the songs, the kids joined in on the fun, imitating the teachers. The American teachers taught the kids so many great songs, many kids from the 201 home were still singing “11 monkeys on the bed” several days after the teachers had left. Even though they didn’t fully understand all the lyrics, the kids sang so happily so in an engaged manner, so that they will always remember these days with fondness.

 

4square ball

Playing Four Square: the American teachers are both fun and funny, making games just that much more enjoyable (the kids love them so much.)

 

4square

Playing Four Square: the American teachers are both fun and funny, making games just that much more enjoyable (the kids love them so much.)

 

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WaterBalloonsA

Awesome game of water balloons: After the balloons were filled with water, the teachers stood by the wall waiting to be hit by the lined-up students. The teachers are allowed to run within a certain range, but if they get hit, they’ll get really wet! However, if the teacher catches the ball, they’re allowed to throw it back. The kids excitedly grabbed their balls, understanding the essence of speed, whilst enjoying the thrill of hitting their target.

 

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Maddie and Rissa play a clarinet and flute duet for the children…

 

OlderKidsEnglish

The older children’s class was equally lively and interesting for the children whose basic English was stable. The teachers were able to share some history of the United States and explain a little of the American culture.

Funny Hats

The kids also learn origami! Under loving tutelage, the kids were able to transform ordinary paper into cute little hats! See, don’t they look particularly dashing?

 

The kids from the middle-aged group pose together with the teachers displaying their handiwork.

The kids from the middle-aged group pose together with the teachers displaying their handiwork.

 

Anatomy

SheMing’s father is extremely patient, having a strong sense of responsibility, but balancing with humorous side. Here, Joly teaches the body parts in English.

 

Even after supper, the activities are colorful, as the teachers bring the children outside to play on the slides in the playground.

Even after supper, the activities are colorful, as the teachers bring the children outside to play on the slides in the playground.

 

Every evening, the camp teachers led the happy children in special fun and games. For example, the kids painstakingly and competitively placed coins, one on top of the next, on the backs of their hands to see who had the most skill in balance and strength,

Every evening, the camp teachers led the happy children in special fun and games. For example, the kids painstakingly and competitively placed coins, one on top of the next, on the backs of their hands to see who had the most skill in balance and strength,

 

Other after dinner activities were likewise colorful, with all the children actively participating in each competition. Here the kids meticulously position as many dice and as quickly as possible on popsicle sticks held in their mouths. Look at the concentration in their faces!

Other after dinner activities were likewise colorful, with all the children actively participating in each competition. Here the kids meticulously position as many dice and as quickly as possible on popsicle sticks held in their mouths. Look at the concentration in their faces!

 

Limbo

The fun continues with games of limbo, exercising limb coordination and agility as the bar fluctuates up and down. Due to the intense challenge of this game, all winners were greatly applauded by both students and teachers at their success.

 

The lasting impression that these teachers made on the children was definitely one of humor, fun, and versatility. Here the teachers perform an intriguing, melodramatic skit that all the kids enjoyed, joy plastered all over the faces.

The lasting impression that these teachers made on the children was definitely one of humor, fun, and versatility. Here the teachers perform an intriguing, melodramatic skit that all the kids enjoyed, joy plastered all over the faces.

 

Robert and his masterpiece...

Robert and his masterpiece…

 

SunnyArt

Sunny and her work of art

 

John collaborated with another student to create chalk art.

John collaborated with another student to create chalk art.

 

The whole teacher team brought so much joy to the kids. They split up to teach the different age groups and play with the children, leaving such beautiful memories.

The whole teacher team brought so much joy to the kids. They split up to teach the different age groups and play with the children, leaving such beautiful memories.

 

At the Golden Cow Mountain Park, while some aunties were square-dancing, the teachers joined in on the excitement, following the lead of the dancing aunts to the beat of the music.  Everyone laughed loudly; some children even videotaped the silliness on the cellphones.

At the Golden Cow Mountain Park, while some aunties were square-dancing, the teachers joined in on the excitement, following the lead of the dancing aunts to the beat of the music. Everyone laughed loudly; some children even videotaped the silliness on the cellphones.

 

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Group Photo at Golden Cow Mountain Park

She needs YOU

She needs a family for four weeks this winter.  She needs YOU.  She needs to experience what it feels like to have dinner at a table, together.  She needs YOU.  She needs to know nurturing.  She needs YOU.  She needs someone to kiss her boo boo when she falls.  She needs YOU.  She needs to understand the power of prayer.  She needs YOU.  She needs to learn the joy of building a snowman, decorating a Christmas tree, leaving cookies out for Santa, having a stocking dangling from the mantle.  She needs YOU.  If only for four weeks, you could give this girl the world.  YOU could be her world…..her everything.  Put yourself aside for four weeks and be everything for her.

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This little girl is eight years old.  She has some developmental delays, and a repaired heart defect.  She is described as quiet and calm with good manners.  She plays well with others, and more than anything, wants the gift of being with a family for four weeks this winter.

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Be her everything.  Register to host this precious girl, or another orphan in need, at http://livinghopeintl.org/orphan-hosting-program/available-children/

Or email Philip for more information at phillam@livinghopeintl.org

Our Happy Adventure by the Sea

On July 17th, the elementary and middle school kids from our Hope House along the children from the Children’s Welfare Institute under the guidance of the caregivers traveled by bus to the beach for a day of grape-picking and other fun activities, hosted by the province of FuJian in LianJiang County.

At approximately 8:50am, everyone departed from the Children’s Welfare Institute. After one hour, they arrived at the DaoAo village in XiaoAo District of LianJiang County, where they began walking with the coach to the grape-picking site.  Every family carried one basket. Each house parent brought the kids to pick grapes.  Even though the vines were grown in a saline environment, but by the owner’s painstaking efforts and sacrifice, all the grapes produced are so sweet.  In fact, the fruit was endorsed by the FuJian Agricultural Association. After everyone ate the grapes, they tasted extraordinary sweetness.

Mary

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GrapesD   GrapesC2

GrapesE2

 

At noon, everyone ate lunch at the 1st Gan Sea Villa, tasted samples of specially featured sea foods. After lunch, everyone walked to a pavilion by the ocean, resting on bamboo seats, enjoying the beautiful scenic view of sea and listening to the grand crash of the waves.

BambooChairs

 

Afterwards, the coach instructed the kids on various beach activities, such as playing tug-a-war, three-legged races, finding duck eggs in the sand, etc. With a teamwork mindset, they were able to play very happily.

GroupGames2 TugOWar2

 

Around 3pm, with the receding tide, the kids walked along the beach wearing gloves and socks to a specific location to pick buckets of crabs and clams.

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At the cry of the coach, everyone ran into the low tide to quickly harvest the various sea creatures. At Gan Sea, this is the method that the native fishermen use, so that when the water recedes, vast sand bars are accessible, exposing an inexplicable wealth of sea treasures from the heart of the sea.  The “Gan” character (meaning “rush”) in the name of the sea is comprised of 2 Chinese characters, firstly “walk” and then “work”. You walk to your work place, but because the tide recedes for only a short period of time, you must rush before everyone else, walking to the work place first, thereby ensuring plentiful harvest.

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SandyTreasure

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At 6pm, everyone gathered their clams, crabs, and small fish harvested from the sea to board the bus headed towards home.

 

A Pleasant Weekend

A Pleasant Weekend

On the morning of July 5th, the children from Hope House led by their parents spent a nice, pleasant weekend at the Fuzhou Grand Theater along with those from the welfare center. At the theater they watched a mask play, Boonie Bear – Wonderful Throne.

Hope.Welfare.ThaiHot

Children from Hope House and Welfare Center together with
the Volunteers from Thai Hot Group at Fuzhou Grand Theater

The event was organized by the Thai Hot Group, a property developer from Fuzhou. The children set out by bus at 8:30 a.m. from the welfare center and arrived at the Fuzhou Grand Theater at 9:00 a.m. About 30 mins later, when the children had lined up and were given tickets, they were guided by their parents into the theater in an orderly manner. The play started at 10:00 a.m. and ended at 11:10 a.m. It was funny and amusing, expressing concern for environmental protection. The children loved the characters of Guangtouqiang, Xiongda, and Xionger very much, recognizing the importance of protecting forests while enjoying the play.

OldDude

FreakyRed&OrangeBear

Being the first stage production adapted from the cartoon Boonie Bears, the play provided an exciting opportunity for the children to see the animated images of Xiongda, Xionger, Guangtouqiang, Maomao, and so on at close range. Some of the children who had never watched a mask play before had a time-travel experience when interacting with the characters, different from what they felt when watching TV. When the actors playing the roles of Xiongda and Xionger walked into the audience and interacted with the children, everyone was excited, feeling that they were quite close to their favorite animated images.

MonkeyFriend

 “I am quite happy today, because I watched a mask play for the first time in my life. The event today is very interesting. Today, I learned a lot. For instance, we shoud study as hard as Xiongda, Xionger, Maomao, Qiqi, protecting nature and our homeland. We should be civilized and courteous, develop the good habit of protecting nature, and keep desirable personal hygiene,” Wang Feng wrote after he returned home.

It is comforting to see what Wang Feng has learned from the play. The article he wrote about the play was excellent, since he personally watched and loved the play. It had fuller content and deeper feelings than his normal compositions or weekly diaries. We hope that the children are given more opportunities to take part in such wonderful social activities in the future!

401Family

401 children at the entrance of Fuzhou Grand Theater
after watching the play Boonie Bears


Zhu Zhao Xie, LongQiang

Jason                                                                                                                               Luke