Hosting testimony; Hosting to give hope

“Hosting for us came soon after we’d returned home with our recently adopted daughter. We were working hard on attachment while trying to maintain balance with our other children. Even in the “crazy chaos” of that period, I still had a strong desire to help another child. Adoption wasn’t an option at that time but I knew there had to be something else we could do. Late one night, I stumbled on the hosting website. It also happened to be on the day the photo listing was released. I called my husband over to show him, knowing in all probability he would veto the idea of hosting. He took one look and, somewhat surprisingly, said, “Let’s host!” After looking through the children, he pointed to our host son and said, “We can get him a new prosthesis, make a difference in his everyday life and I know you can find him a family.” That sealed it for our family and our mission was set, to get our host son a new prosthetic and a forever family.

Gill 1Immediately, I started connecting with the limb difference community to get prepared. I started writing letters to hopefully get a grant for the prosthetic. I found a wonderful prosthesis company about an hour from our home that was willing to make the prosthesis at a lower cost.  Thanks to the First Hand Foundation for their generous grant and to Thomas Lizotte and his team at Washington Orthotics and Prosthesis, we were able to get our host son a brand new prosthesis!

In addition to this wonderful opportunity to replace his crude, outdated and ill-fitting prosthesis, we had a wonderful time with our host son. His favorite thing to do was put together puzzles. Once all my toddlers were in bed, he and I would try conquering a new puzzle together.  When he first arrived, he was happy to complete a 100 piece puzzle. One day he asked if he could try a 300 piece puzzle. By the time he left, he had put together a very difficult 500 piece puzzle and was beaming from ear to ear! I found a 1000 piece puzzle for him with pictures of famous American monuments to take back with him after hosting.

Our final goal for him also came true when a wonderful woman contacted me with interest in our host son’s adoption. She is a sports instructor for kids with varying abilities and her boys are close in age to our host son. We were thrilled to take part in so much life change for our host son. His willingness to open up and attach to us coupled with his courage to accept a brand new type of prosthetic leg was inspiring to all who met him. He has a very bright future ahead of him.”

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Hosting testimony; Hosting to advocate

garland“Our month of hosting had its ups and downs; steps forwards, steps backward and many eye opening experiences and self-revelations. We learned so many things. While looking at the hosting photos, we noticed this tall boy with a sweet smile who was about to age out. We wanted to help him before that happened. We started advocating for him right away, speaking at churches and getting the word out any way we could. We were sad that no one really seemed too interested in committing to his adoption. We couldn’t understand why, but hoped that eyes were opened and hearts were stirred for orphaned children. Just a few short weeks before he arrived, we were contacted by CCAI telling us a family in another part of the country was interested in meeting him! In the days leading up to his arrival, fear set in. fear of the language barrier, fear that he was a teenager (something we had no experience with). What were we thinking? Then again, I could not imagine what was going through his head! Once our host son came through security, we all quickly learned to use the translator on our iPhones and iPads. We were so proud of how our boys included him in everything. During hosting, our host son was able to Skype with the interested family. It became very clear that this family was perfectly orchestrated. We were at peace. This family, who plans to move forward, has thanked us over and over again for the opportunity to get to know him. That is what hosting is about! Many families host for the reason we did, to advocate and to help get the kids exposure. These kids are wonderful!  Each one brings their own history and brokenness, but each one has a family waiting for them. I believe that! All children are worthy, let’s help put an end to the word ‘orphan.'”

Hosting testimony: Hosting to advocate

“Hosting was never on our radar. We have three biological kids and one adopted with special needs, so our house is plenty full and lively. Most of my concern with hosting centered around the kids who didn’t end up getting adopted. It seemed unfair to bring them, give them the experience of a family only to return to the orphanage without the hope of getting a forever family. When God led us to host, I was shocked and tried to turn my back. One day, I was skimming through a blog about China’s Waiting Children. I had read these child descriptions many times in the past and always thought the same thing: “How sweet. I hope someone adopts that child.”

This time was different. When I read Fu’s story, my heart started beating out of my chest and I felt an instant connection. I was sitting in the living room with my family and I tried to shut the computer, but my husband noticed… then my daughter noticed and suddenly I was reading his short story to my family. I assumed my husband’s response would be: “How sweet, I hope someone adopts that child.” Instead, he smiled and said let’s pray for him and see what happens.

Before I knew it, our daughter came to us with all of her savings saying she felt we were to host him and wanted her money to help bring him here. It turns out we had very little time; the deadline was fast approaching, but God provided every step of the way. That sweet boy we chose for hosting did arrive and captured the heart of our family immediately. My opinion of hosting changed very quickly after I realized what an impact having him in our home would make. Hosting is not just about what we teach them, but about what they teach us. No longer did I doubt the importance of bringing him into our home, even if for only 4 weeks. The hosting experience was a priceless experience. We were so impacted; I now see the value in the host experience for everyone involved. Finding Fu was one of our family’s greatest joys.”gipe 1

Hosting testimony; Deciding to adopt!

“Having adopted five times through CCAI, we believed we were finished adopting. We then began receiving emails regarding CCAI’s hosting program. Realizing that many of these beautiful children were considered to be “unadoptable,” I knew hosting might be their only opportunity to have a “you matter” moment in their lives. Although we had planned to do other things in the upcoming summer, I found it hard to make plans for anything else as long as I knew these children were out there needing our help.  My heart won over and we applied to host a 12-year-old young man. It was all so surreal to greet him at the airport and simply take him home with us! I am so use to greeting these children via adoption, which takes miles of paperwork before you can call them “yours”!  But yet, at this moment of greeting our host child at the airport, Josh made a quick introduction and then said, “You are free to go!”  Such fun!!!!

Hosting was magical!  Here we were, responsible for this little guy who came from nothing. He was polite, helpful, funny, and a pure joy! Food differences and communication were part of the experience, and just giving him love was enough to break those barriers! To watch this little guy experience “firsts” was amazing.  We tried to expose him to many “fun” things as possible, but it was the little things really… like the time I realized taking him through a car wash would be a treat!  The look on his face as the brightly colored soap devoured the car was priceless!

Hosting was a life changer for us and our little guy!  There were times I wondered if he was homesick or even bored with his experience as we spent life as we typically spend it, which was filled with mundane tasks such as getting kids back and forth to summer school, sports activities and doctor appointments.  However, it was when his China chaperone called him to remind him that he would be returning to China soon, that enlightened me beyond words.  His reaction of pure and raw grief verified just how important this hosting program is. Although it was an extremely heartbreaking moment, I knew that our hearts had met and bonded. I knew this little boy would carry this with him forever… that he was adored, loved and that he was special.

Dave and I had absolutely no intention of adopting again. We did not go into the hosting program to adopt, but once again, to let a little one KNOW he/she is special and to send a message for him/her to never EVER forget how beautiful they are. However, this little boy had such a huge impact on us and through much guidance, thought and prayer, we made the decision to bring him home. His grief as we departed and my grief as he left our home sealed his fate. He will be home forever and ever, and it is my hope that one day he can share his story over and over and perhaps be able to help those left behind.

Thank you CCAI for this wonderful, wonderful experience and for helping these most amazing children!”