Saturday, December 8, 2012

What is Hosting you Ask?

 We stumbled on hosting quite by accident.  Pause.  When I write things like "quite by accident" it suddenly occurs to me that I have been watching a lot of Downton Abbey.  (Oh how I love thee cousin Matthew.)

Moment of silence as I consider this....and I'm back.

We stumbled on hosting quite by accident.  We were looking for information on adoption on the internet and one of the agencies I explored was connected to a hosting program.  The website said, "Hosting an Orphan is a life-changing event both for the child and for your entire family."  I think that may be the understatement of the year.  I'll let you know.  Anyway, it piqued my interest and I read on.  This is what I learned:
  1. Kid(s) can come and stay with you for 4 weeks at Christmas time from Latvia, Russia, the Ukraine or China.
  2. You pay for their flight and expenses. (For us the cost was $2500 each + expenses here)
  3. You get a link to a photo listing of all the children, you read little blurbs with very basic information on each one and then you can request a child or children.
  4. Most of them are ages 11-16, all of them are older than toddlers.  The program is designed to help older "un-adoptable" children find homes, or have positive, world expanding experiences.
  5.  Without intervention, upon leaving the orphanage, 60% of girls will end up in prostitution, 70% of boys will be on the streets or in jail, and 15% will commit suicide within the first two years on their own.
I looked at the photo listing of all the sweet little faces.  They stared back at me, screaming with their eyes, "pick me!  pick me!" ....and, well... it's pretty hard not to just invite all of them to your house.  We couldn't.  But we did find out that most people will only host one or two at the most, so being the over-achievers impulsive people we are, we chose 3.  A little sibling group that hadn't gotten any nibbles.

As I mentioned, our hope for hosting is that eventually we can adopt the children we host.  The hope of the hosting organization is that people who might not consider adoption, would be more willing to open their homes for a mere month than a lifetime.... and in the process they would fall in love and change their minds about adoption.  Apparently this does happen regularly.  I am not surprised.

For us the last two months have been all about gearing up for this big hosting event.  It's shocking how much stuff you need when you suddenly add 3 children to the mix.  Stuff like, beds.  Or clothes.  I don't know, things like car seats and safety locks.  Little people are high maintenance! 

The buns however are currently very low maintenance, and will arrive at the airport with only the clothes on their backs and possibly a homemade present for us.  I cannot promise to hold it together in any way shape or form if they give us something they made.  Or even if they don't.  I am confident in stating this because a couple days ago I almost started crying when someone said...wait for it... "hello" to me. 

It is almost inevitable that I will see these kids and collapse on the floor, sloppy with tears and snot and gulping in air.  Sadly, this will be the exact moment that it will dawn on the buns that they are walking in to the home of a hysterical (not in the good way) host mom and a semi-terrified host dad.  But there is no turning back - sorry buns!

The hosting process and these children touch my heart in every possible way.  This quote from our training information really summed up where they are coming from.  It references a question a host parent asked about if the kids would prefer boxers or briefs:
 "And the boys usually prefer “boxer briefs… but not always. Clean underwear is the most requested style, and some that isn’t shared with others is a treasure."

Wow.  Can you imagine your child or a child you know thinking a gift of clean underwear that they don't have to share being a treasure?

So we plot and we plan and we build bunk beds and buy car seats and think about how to fit 2 car seats and three more people in a Prius.  We send in our background checks and write our letter to the children to introduce ourselves, and we cook and freeze meals, and my husband, Captain Safety, makes our home child friendly.  

And then we realize we're almost ready and we're one week (one week!) away from meeting the buns. 

And all those same "I'm pregnant" feelings I had in Baghdad come back:  Terror.  Joy.  Terror.  Excitement.  Yeah, why not - let's throw in one more terror.   And another excitement too.  And why the bleep is this stupid car commercial making me cry?

And I hope, hope, hope that the "miscarriage" feelings won't follow 4 weeks later.
But if they do, and all my sad.sad.sad. comes back, I know I've been there-done that.  And I definitely know it's worth it.


  1. I frequently cry during commercials too, but this really got me choked up. I had assumed for some reason that you'd learned about this through Erin Bowen. Anyway, love and prayers for you and James.

  2. You make me cry...mostly 'cause I'm so happy/excited for these 3 little buns. : )

  3. I don' normally cry!!!!! But here it comes again. I am so glad you are coming here for Christmas so we can come to love them. Oh, maybe I already do.

  4. Yep, totally just sobbed though this. Looking forward to seeing your pics & posts over the Holiday's.
    In Dicken's words, "God Bless us, every one."

  5. I'd say those are three very lucky siblings. My thoughts and prayers will be with all of you. I'm excited about all those little buns, wearing their new briefs, and getting to be a part of one of the best, most loving families around. Can't wait to hear all about it. XOXO

  6. Thanks ladies - you make me feel very loved. And I appreciate your tears so I'm not crying alone! I always loved the line in Steel Magnolias, "Please don't cry or I will too. I have a strict policy that nobody cries alone in my presence."

  7. So Shauri, I'm new to your blog. But thanks to facebook I discovered it! So I thought i'd just go back a little and start with this post and then get filled in. Oh, my! I was totally choked up reading this. I have a feeling I'm going to be a crier also with your posts. You're very funny so I'm quite sure I am going to enjoy reading your blog. So happy for you guys (and those kids) for going on this adventure and opening your heart up to these kids.