Tuesday, September 11, 2012

on hosting.

Every time I write an entry that isn't sun-shiney, I lose a follower.

It's kind of funny, but I am okay with that.

I think when you become an adoptive parent, you may naturally examine the culture of adoption.  I know I have.  While I have been angered, upset, and downright hurt at times, I have also been awed, inspired, and amazed at others.  I've learned a great deal about our future son's birth country and also about the adoption process.  I've learned things I wish I hadn't about some people at agencies, and the MOJ, and all of it.  It's an interesting subculture.

One area of adoption that our family is not participating in, but that is an element of adoption and orphan care is hosting.  This is when a family, through the help of an agency, brings an older child into their home for a period of time (seems to be generally during holiday periods or school breaks) to live with them.  In most cases, families are asked to be "adoption minded" though they are not required to adopt the child they are "hosting".  In some cases, it seems children who are brought on these visits are not available for adoption, so that ends the adoption discussion.  In most every case, hosting parents are discouraged from discussing adoption with the child, and those hosting parents who are not interested or not able to adopt are encouraged to "advocate" for the child they are (or have) hosted.

I must admit that I am very mixed on this practice of hosting, and I mean that quite sincerely.  I truly can see both sides of the argument and I cannot decide where I stand on the issue.

Let's take a mythical, 10 year old boy from Russia who is going to be hosted.

I believe all of these statements to be true:

1.  Older children are simply not chosen for adoption for a long list of reasons, so allowing potential parents to "see" these children - interact with them, learn about them, etc - will invariably lead to a higher probability that the child will find a family.  Finding a family is not a bad thing.  And anyone who argues that a child who is seen has the same chance of finding that family as a hidden child is nuts.  I get that.

2.  Even if the child is not adopted, it must be a great sort of adventure to go on a long airplane ride and see another country and culture for a time.  How many children can say they  have traveled overseas?  That has to be at least interesting (if not FUN) for a child.

3.  If children are not told the purpose of the trip, isn't it just a good experience for them? Probably, on some level, yes.


Should we really, as potential adoptive parents "try before we buy"?  Is that right?  After all, these are children, not cars.  I know many people who begin the adoption process feel from the moment they see the photograph or read the referral that this child is theirs, regardless of circumstance.

Do the children really "not know" what the purpose of the trip is?  Will these children feel "unchosen"? 

Is it a "tease" to bring a child into a home - something they may never have seen - with modern conveniences that may not be familar to the child (video games, television on demand, large, overstuffed shopping malls, snacks on a whim?) and then send them away?

Does this in any way "harm" these hosted children psychologically?  I know that is not the intention, but is it an inadvertent result?

I can't answer those questions.  I just don't know.  But I wonder about it; consider it.  Does the potential good of hosting outweigh the potential "bad"?  Is that the right standard to use?

Don't know.

Not sure.

Do you know why I have time to consider stuff like this?


We are waiting for one signature.  Just one.  We've been waiting one month (tomorrow) for just a signature that will send our paperwork to court for the last set of steps before our future son is OUR son.  We are praying it is soon.

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