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A Look into Orphan Hosting: A Sibling Set of 5

So what happens when you have 4 children of your own, including 3 little boys and you feel led to host a sibling group of….5 kids!?  Only the oldest three boys were old enough to be hosted, so this family had a house full of 6 boys.

I have two and it’s crazy sometimes…  I digress.

So, enjoy this hosting story of a family who couldn’t turn this sibling group away, in the hosting picture, the oldest boy had his arms wrapped all the way around his siblings, he had been their care-taker for much too long.

Enjoy :)

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1. What made you want to host an orphan and how did your family feel?

 

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for those who don’t have a home. Growing up my parents were an excellent example of unconditional love. As a child, we always had someone living with us, usually one of my older brother’s friends who had been kicked out of their house for whatever reason. My mom’s heart had no boundaries and she would take in whoever needed a loving home. My husband and I would often talk about our desire to adopt. I have always had the ability to love a child as though they are my own. Over the past few years we began opening our own home to others. It began when a dear friend of mine needed respite care for a boy from Burkina Faso they were hosting on a medical mission. After this, we took in my daughter’s friend who had been kicked out of his parent’s and grandparent’s house, and was six months shy of graduating from high school. He stayed until he successfully graduated high school and got a job. From there we took in my 20 year old niece who stayed with us a year and gained her driver’s license for the first time, got her first job and first apartment.

I remember the day I saw a post about the P143 hosting program, and the more I read, the more I felt led that this was what we were supposed to do. I sat with my oldest boy, looking though the photo listings of children. We came upon a group of five siblings. The oldest was in the back with his arms stretched around the large group. The listing said that the director called it a milestone that the oldest agreed to talk to the interview team about hosting, and that he was a good boy, in need of healing, who had been in the caretaker position for too long. That was evident to me from this photo. That young boy had the weight of the world on his shoulders trying to keep his siblings together and safe. That struck a chord deep in my heart, and I kept thinking to myself, “here’s this boy, finally brave enough to try hosting, and he’s unlikely to get chosen because he’s in a group of five.” I also noticed a sweet, playful, slightly mischievous looking littlest boy in the picture who reminded me of my own “joyful” child. I prayed, and I was convicted that these children were the ones.

My children were immediately on board, but I knew it was going to be a stretch for my husband. I was honestly surprised that my husband, after thoughtful consideration and prayer, agreed. In a way I thought there was no way he would agree to this. So to me, the fact that he did, was a sign from God that this was the right thing to do.

As for the rest of our extended family and friends, it was a slower process. We fielded a lot of questions about why we would spend so much money on children we didn’t know, wouldn’t it be mean to bring these children into our homes and then send them back to an orphanage, how would we communicate with them since they didn’t speak English, what about the safety of our own children, etc. We always brought these concerns to God and He continued to calm our hearts and our fears, and comforted us that we were on the right path.

2. What were your feelings and preparations before you Hosted?

Before we hosted I had a lot of excitement and anticipation of their arrival. I couldn’t wait! Yet at the same time, I had moments of “WHAT AM I DOING?!” Those were usually the times when my own three boys were driving me bonkers and

I would let fear take over and convince me that I couldn’t possibly handle three more boys. (however, through this process, I have learned that fear is a liar!) There were a lot of preparations. We had to set up our guest room with three twin beds and come up with clothing for three more boys, of which I wasn’t sure exactly what size they would be. Friends were awesome and the hand-me-downs poured in. The only things we really ended up buying were beds, socks, underwear, and shoes!  I also began studying the culture and learning some of the language of the country.

3. Share with us some of your hosting experiences, what was it like day-to-day.

What stands out to you as really special was when I remembered the  advice to live your life normally (as possible) during your hosting period. The point was to immerse these children into a loving, home environment, not fill their every waking moment with extravagant vacations and trips to the toy store.  But to allow them to join our family as it is, in all its imperfections, and all its day-to-day delights.

It. Was. Awesome!

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Our day-to-day experiences were pretty normal, just amplified times three boys. What does that mean? Well, it was louder, and dirtier, and, um, stinkier. But we also had more smiles, more shouts of glee, and more joy. Ohhh and bandaids, we went through a lot of band-aids. The bedtime routines stand out to me as the most special. The boys clearly loved this special time of gathering together as a family at the end of the night, praying together, bedtime hugs and snuggles, and being tucked in at night. They quickly began to pray with us, and the prayers they would pray touched my heart deeply.

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Things like, “thank you God for mom and dad who loves ALL boys”. I asked one of the boys during the second hosting trip what their favorite part of coming to the US was, and I was pleasantly surprised with his answer. It wasn’t what one might expect from a child (playing with new toys, getting Christmas presents, etc.) It was this, “Prayers. We don’t pray at orphanage. Here we pray with food and bedtime. I like. And hugs and kisses goodnight. No hugs and kisses goodnight at orphanage.  Never. Here-always.”

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Breaks. My. Heart. That’s what these children wanted and needed and appreciated.

God and Love.

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4. What were some of the highlights of hosting? Why? What were some of the hard parts?

Beyond what I described above, another highlight for me was when the oldest, 12 years old, began calling me mom. The younger two started that right away (even though we didn’t introduce ourselves with that) they seemed to follow suit with our own children, but it took the older one a bit to let his guard down.

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The language barrier was difficult, especially at first. We craved to have long, deep conversations with them; that was just impossible to do in the beginning. However, I must point out how truly fast children pick up another language.

Between trips their English skills exploded. By trip two, we didn’t need google translate and we felt that we were able to carry on conversations using simple English. The hardest part of the language barrier remained that we had three siblings who all spoke this other language better than us, so when they would argue it was too much, too fast, for us to be able to understand what was being said.

Then, of course, the very hardest part is saying good-bye to these children that we had fallen in love with, worrying about them while they are away, and trying to parent them from a distance.

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5. How has hosting changed your life? Or the life of your hosted child?

Hosting has absolutely changed my life. I quickly found that WE were the ones changing for the better, that WE were being blessed beyond measure from knowing and loving these boys. We became LESS SELFISH. We became MORE PATIENT. We became MORE LOVING. We were more conscious that the words coming out of our mouths reflected light.

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Was it easy? NO.  Was it loud? YES. Was it worth it?

ABSOLUTELY!

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For all the work that it takes to raise six boys every day, we also enjoyed some of the most PEACEFUL, JOYOUS, and LOVING moments of our lives!

We have decided to adopt the three boys…and their two sisters who were too young to be hosted, keep them all together and bring them into a loving home filled with love for them, kisses, prayers and the ability to be kids.  The two sisters who we have yet to meet (and have been separated from their brothers since they were moved to foster care shortly before the boys came to the US the first time), we hope to reunite them all together again in a forever family of love.

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I can’t wait for that day!

And I honestly believe that even if we weren’t adoption minded, that we would have changed the lives of those three boys for better by showing them the love of Jesus and by immersing them in a loving household and giving them hope.

 

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Please visit the Slade family on their blog here: http://crazyloveparents.com/2015/01/17/how-do-you-do-it/

They are actively trying to raise the $50k needed to finish the adoption of all 5 siblings, you can donate here: http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/help-unite-our-family-forever-/287667  As with all things of people trying to bring their children home and working like crazy to get it done, there is no such thing as a ‘small’ donation.

Thank you!

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Here is a sweet orphan hosting story, with fun ending.  A family full of boys hosting a 15 year old girl?  Let the pictures speak for themselves on this one :)  Enjoy!

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What made you want to host an orphan and  how did your family feel?

 I have actually never heard of hosting until I read my friends blog. I am not much of a blog reader but something about the title of her blog drew me in. After I read her blog I then called my mom and asked , “Hey by any chance did you read Alicia’s blog”? She replied “That is so funny you would ask because when I was reading her blog I thought of you but I wasn’t going to bring it up, I was going to wait if you brought it up to me”.

I started to feel the Lord’s leading about hosting. Now how was I going to convince my husband?  I knew it wouldn’t be easy.  After mentioning it to my husband he was hesitant at first.  I explained to him that we could bring a child, who has little to no family, from a poor environment and share the love of Christ with them ( I mean isn’t that what Christmas is about ? Christ)  He was, and I quote “All in”!  Wow!

I began looking at the photo listing of waiting orphans, trying to choose a child which I found to be harder than I thought. Until we found our sweet M! You see we have three boys ages 12,10,and 8 so my only preference was a girl.I mean who wouldn’t want to have a partner to shop with and to go get mani pedis with?  She was 15 and had a sweet description.

 

What were your feelings and preparations before you Hosted?

 

To be honest with you as I started to read the parent training manual I was really scared and almost backed out. You see these kids come with a lot of hurt. You hope for the best, but they prepare you for the worst. I put my trust in the Lord and knew that if he called me to do this, he would get me through.

We explained to our boys what we were doing,  they were very excited to be getting a new sister even if it was only for four weeks. Once our family was all on board and eager to bring her here and show her love, we began preparing for her, it was so fun!  We got her some new clothes and shoes and other necessities, when the kids come over here they only come with the clothes on their back. We were lucky enough to have  many friends and family donate clothes, and we went and got her some cute girl stuff and created her own room together, it was so fun to do as a family.  As we waited for her arrival I would walk by her room and just envision her in there safe, warm, full and loved. She couldn’t get here fast enough!

 

Share with us some of your hosting experiences what was it like day-to-day. What stands out to you as really special.

 

 I first picked her up in Chicago, we live in So Cal but they need chaperones to help fly with some kids so I met her in Chicago then flew home with her to California.  She was so sweet but so shy and unsure, this was her first time being hosted.  She was nervous.  When we got her home, she instantly connected with my boys. She was so sweet with them and you could tell she genuinely loved them from the start. Everyday she opened up to us more and more.

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She went from smiling with her mouth closed to showing all her teeth by the time she left. She starting joking with us more and opening up to us everyday.

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Some days we would go go go, and other days she would just lay with us on the couch and hang out. Either way she knew she was loved and was safe. You could see it in her eyes. We had so many special days but ones that stand out most is the day she met with my friend Vera. You see Vera is also from Eastern Europe and speaks the same language as M, it was such a special connection, and I feel as though God once again proved to me that he know what he’s doing, I felt so happy that we stepped out and said yes to hosting, to M.

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By the end of their time together M had given her life to Christ. She now would go back to EE with hope and with a Heavenly Father who was better then any Earthly father could be. I am forever thankful to Vera for this meeting! So Vera if you are reading this Thank you I am blessed to call you a friend.

Another thing that stands out to me is when we were having her “see you later” party the night before her departure and everyone who had grown to love her (especially my niece Bryn who was also the same age) was upset and crying, it was M who consoled them. I mean, shouldn’t be the other way around? She’s the one going back to nobody and to poor living conditions, not us. But  she showed compassion and love for us.  She kept telling  us “No cry please no cry”.

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She is amazing simply amazing.

What were some of the highlights of hosting? Why? What were some of the hard parts?

Hosting was an amazing experience.  To bring a child over who has nothing and to show them they are worth so much more then they’re being told is priceless. To share the love of Christ with them is what we are called to do.

James 1:27 Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.

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I feel honored that God chose us to bring M into our home and show her his love through us. What I found to be hard was just to see this little girl and know she had been abandoned at a young age and I couldn’t make up for everything she missed out on in life.

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To know she had no mom to go to for advice, someone to hold her hair as she was sick and tell her everything was gonna be ok. To know that she would not have a dad to walk her down the aisle or to be an example to what she should look for in her future husband.  All these things just flooded my mind.

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To know that in 4 weeks we would be sending her back just as she started opening up. How could we do that? All I knew is that in those 4 weeks I was gonna let her know her worth in this world. I was gonna let her know that even though she feels abandoned that she is loved by us but more importantly by Christ.  Psalm 27:10 Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.

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How has hosting changed your life? Or the life of your hosted child?

Well when we first started this journey we were only going to host…

My husband and I talked about  adoption and it just wasn’t something God called us to do…

Well…

We all know God has a sense of humor. M stole our hearts and we felt a strong pull on our hearts that God was calling us to bring this little girl into our home. So here we are in the process of adopting our sweet M!

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We are so, so excited!  We can’t wait!  We are also nervous; a teenage girl in my house for me to raise who speaks very little English? Am I crazy? Maybe but I love her and she loves us. It’s a good thing that Love doesn’t need words, love means the same in all languages through our actions. God is good and we trust him wholeheartedly in our journey with M.

Now to get her home our prayer is this that every document gets filled out correctly and we are able to get through this fast and with no hiccups. We all miss her so much and just want our daughter home.

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You can donate to Campbell’s adoption here, every tiny donation adds up for families working their hardest to bring their kids out of orphanages.  Please donate and share:


http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/operation-bring-m-home-/292878

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A Look into Orphan Hosting : A 17 Year Old Boy

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This is a very special hosting story.

A 17 year old  boy.  Who had never been hosted before.

A family welcomed him in despite fear in their hearts, and fear from others.
I love this story, love it.  The words and feelings are easy to sense and pick up  as you read the words, see the pictures.  This boy was loved, more than he may even understand.

 

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1. What made you want to host an orphan? How did your family feel?

The idea of hosting an orphan had never occurred to us before September. I didn’t even

know you could do something like that. Then I saw a post on Facebook about hosting

during the Christmas season and sharing love and family with someone who doesn’t, or

maybe has never, had one. How sad, and how sweet, all at the same time. I have two

young kids at home, ages 9 and 6, and I wasn’t sure how the dynamics would be. My

husband was completely on board with the idea of hosting an orphan. That’s when it hit

me… “Oh my goodness! Assuming we get approval, we are actually moving forward with

this!”   My kids were excited. They each thought they would be getting a built in playmate

for a month!

 

2. What were your feelings and preparations before you hosted?

To be honest, there was a very small part of me that was hoping my husband would say

“no” to the idea of hosting. Then I could at least tell myself, “Well, I tried. It must not be for

us.” And that would be that. So I was shocked, nervous, scared, and super excited all at

the same time when he said yes. Then we started to look at the photo listings board of all

the orphans in the program that needed a loving home. So sad. There were so many of

them, and these were just the kids who had been approved by their orphanage, by the

NHFC team, by their home country, and by the US embassy. The flood of emotions came

pouring in.

 

Through a lot of prayer, tears, nervousness, and uncertainty, we ended up picking a boy

who turned 17 years old in October. He had never been hosted before.   And… that was

about all we knew. I started to get scared when people would say things like, “You have 2

young kids at home, including a 9 year old girl. Why would you be bringing a 17yr old boy

into your house who you don’t even know?   You are asking for trouble!” Was I scared…

yes!   I also heard things like, “He’s 17. He doesn’t need you. A young kid would benefit

more from this.  “Really? Really? Because a 17yr old doesn’t need love or a family who

cares for him and doesn’t need to see how a family works together on a daily basis before

he gets kicked out of the orphanage at 18 and is on his own?  We all need love and we all

need family and we all need people who support us… even as adults.

 

I just kept on praying, and trusting, and crying. I was WAY out of my comfort zone. What

did I do? Before he came, I doubted our decision on the boy we had chosen. Did we

make a horrible mistake? But those sweet words kept rushing into my head and calming

my heart… “Trust Me.”   It is so amazing to me now, looking back at how I was feeling

before we met our boy, how much God was forcing me to trust Him. He knew…. He

always knows. He knew the right kid for us and knew the right family for this kid. We

prayed, we listened, and God is so good and faithful.

 

3. Share with us some of your hosting experiences, what was it like day to day, what

stands out to you as really special?

 

Day to day was hilarious. This sweet 17yr old boy was not scared or nervous at all

coming here to America. His first time being hosted too! If we let him, he would sleep in

until 1pm everyday! We all joked about that… and we all had fun trying to wake our guy

up every day… which sometimes took awhile with a lot of shaking and even some little

ones jumping on his bed.

 

He was always great about whatever we had going on for the day… or even if we didn’t

have anything going on for the day.

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He loved trying all of our foods and he realized that

he LOVED carne asada burritos! He was so sweet and playful with my younger kids and

never ever got mad at them.

 

Our guy got along so well with our extended family, joking around, being silly, wrestling,

answering questions, etc. I remember him telling me that he likes to play beach volleyball,

and I just stood there like a dear in the headlights. You see… I’m from San Diego. He

doesn’t live anywhere close to a coast where he is from, and his country isn’t really known

for beaches. Beach volleyball? Did I hear him right? Turns out he plays volleyball on the

dirt. Not the beach. No where close to the beach. I figured we needed to fix his “beach

volleyball” experience.

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So, the day after Christmas, we went to the beach, his first time

ever to a beach, and we played real beach volleyball! He was even brave enough to go in

the ocean.

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4. Overall, what were some of the highlights of hosting? Why? What were some of the

hard parts?

 

Oh my. The whole month was full of hosting highlights. I loved every bit of it.

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Often, just he and I would stay up late together after my young kids were in bed. That is when I

would ask him questions about his home, his life story, his friends, etc. He was always

open to answering my questions. We would show each other pictures of friends, of fun

things we have done. We would play rounds and rounds of Uno and play car racing video

games. I loved those times together. That is when I really saw him put down his defenses,

laugh, get excited, share about his life. It is at those times when we bonded the most.

 

 

On his last night with us, he asked me to stay up with him all night. How sweet… a

teenage boy wanting a mother to stay up with him on his last night with us. My husband

was the one doing the early airport drive, so we knew he had to get some sleep. There

we were, just he and I, laughing together over funny videos, sharing more stories and

pictures. Finally when I thought I wouldn’t last another minute and was starting to say

goodnight to him (at 3:30am), he said, “Nope. You can do it. We switch to Uno.” And

there I was… wide awake again getting beaten, yet again, in Uno. It took him a couple

rounds to realize that I was dealing him 3 cards for my every 1 card. He laughed when he

realized I had been cheating… and of course he still won those games.

The hardest part… a couple of hard parts actually. It was hard for me thinking that he was

bored hanging out with us. I figured he was used to being more active doing the crazy

things 17yr old boys do. We weren’t that family. But he never complained…. not once.

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I rolled my sleeves up, got my inner tomboy out, and played soccer with him in the street

for hours, took him to trampoline parks, the beach, race car driving, etc.

My own kids were EXTRA out of control while he was here and driving me crazy (they

wanted his attention ALL the time) and it was hard knowing how to

discipline them in front of our boy while still showing that I loved them deeply and cared

for them.

 

The most difficult part? Having to say goodbye to him at the end of the 4 weeks.

 

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For sure, hands down, super painful and heart wrenching. This boy, even though he is 17, he is still

a boy, who I opened up our home to, our family to, our life for the past 4 weeks and is

now heading home and I didn’t know if I would ever see him again.

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All the questions I wanted to ask but didn’t came flooding to my head. I wondered if he even felt the same

way about me and my family as I do about him. Does he care? Was this just a fun

vacation to him and he won’t really think about us in another week? I wanted him to stay

with our family so badly, but we all knew it couldn’t happen. What is really sad is that he is

17… he’s in this weird limbo stage where he is too old to be adopted yet still in the

orphanage until he is 18. I knew he had friends back home and was missing them. I knew

the place where he lives is actually not so bad and he has a lot of privileges and is cared

for pretty well. I didn’t ache for him with what he was going back to… I ached because I

knew I would miss him. I ached because I opened up and let my guard down as well,

loved this kid that God brought into our lives, and now was having to say goodbye to him.

Loving another person hurts, but it is so worth it.

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5. Now that they are gone, how has hosting changed your life, or the life of your hosted

child?

To be honest, I don’t know how we have changed his life. I would like to think that we

showed him love, showed him Christ, showed him how a family operates day to day with

communication, compromises, schedules, etc., instilled a sense of value and “being

special” in his life that he might not have had before, but I don’t really know. It is hard

when the other person doesn’t communicate that back to you. I might never see the

rewards of the seeds we have planted, and that is hard. We have told him that we love

him and are always here for him. We are on his side. I don’t know if he gets that or how

much meaning that has to him never having lived in a traditional family.

He has definitely changed our lives. We put ourselves out there, trusting in God who is

bigger than us. All those fears and concerns I had before I met him just melted away as

soon as he embraced me at the airport upon his arrival. All those thoughts of, “You can’t

do this,” quickly vanished as we interacted with our guy on a daily basis and just loved

him right where he was. I have learned to trust more, to love more, and hopefully not to

worry so much about God’s plan! Would I do it again? Yes!

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I pray for our boy. I pray that he would feel God’s love. I pray that he would accept Christ

(my 6 yr old was preaching to him for the whole 4 weeks trying so hard to get him to

accept Christ). I pray for the life that is ahead of him once he leaves his orphanage. I pray

for the things that are out of my control. And I pray for peace…. peace in my heart instead

of the pain of missing him. Peace knowing that we did all we could do to show him love

and Christ while he was with us. Peace knowing that he cares for us even though he

hasn’t expressed it in a way that I am used to or as often as I would like. Peace in Christ.

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