Q & A about Hosting an Older Orphan

What is the purpose of the hosting program?

Everybody, adults and kids alike, needs a vacation once in a while. Why not children living in orphanages? As a charitable organization focused on promoting the well-being of orphaned and abandoned children, we truly believe orphans deserve the same as any other children – dignity, a family, good education, and some fun. The simple goal of our hosting program is to provide older orphans with the rare opportunity to visit a loving family, to experience American culture, and, just like any other kid, enjoy some swimming, horseback riding, hiking, eating out, and so on.

Living in an orphanage environment without the love or experience of a family is impossible to imagine. The hosting program provides an opportunity for these children to see life outside of an orphanage and provides them with hope.

So do these children fully understand that they will return to China after their trip is over?

Absolutely! No vacation lasts forever. The children understand that it is a temporary trip and they will return to China at the end of their time.

Is there ever a situation where a hosted orphan could stay in America instead of returning?

Absolutely not. The orphans are granted visitor visas through the US Embassy in their country and are permitted travel for the period of time their visa is issued. At the end of the host program, all orphans must return to their country of origin. They are not citizens of this country, they are visitors, and cannot remain here past the time allotted by the two governments.

What is the timeframe for hosting?

Typically, summer hosting for Ukraine and Latvia kids is 4-8 weeks and begin mid-June or mid-July, depending on participation in the short or long program. Winter hosting is typically mid-December to mid-January and is 4 - 5 weeks in length. For China hosting, it is typically a 3 week program for Summer or Winter.

Is this an adoption program?

As an adoption agency it is our mission to find permanent, loving homes for as many orphans as possible. So if a hosting family decides during or afterward that they do want to adopt their host children or want to advocate for his or her adoption, CCAI will whole-heartedly support and will assist any qualified family to adopt any child who is eligible for adoption after their return to China.

Amazingly about 75% of host children end up being adopted either by their host families or through host family advocacy. What a great opportunity to forever change the life of some kids who otherwise would have NO chance - ever - for adoption!

Please note to protect children’s emotions, we do not allow the orphanage or our host families to discuss the topic of adoption with the hosted child before or during their trip. The sad reality is that not every child will be adopted. Actually, some of the host children are either beyond the legal adoption age or are deemed “unavailable” for international adoption.

What about those who are not adopted?

There are millions of orphans around the world. Only a very small percentage of them will ever have the chance for adoption, but that doesn’t take way the significance of international adoption. We try to reach out and touch as many orphans’ lives as possible through adoption and all kinds of charity projects like our hosting program, yet we can only do so much. But we can’t give up our efforts simply because of the impossibility of covering 100%. If everyone does their small part, there would be fewer orphans in the world and more orphans will see hope and purpose to their lives, whether or not they are adopted.

So can I host if I don’t plan to adopt?

By all means! The primary requirement is your desire to be good host parents. Married couples and single parents may apply to host, but must be at least 25 years old for Ukraine and Latvia and 30 for China. There is no upper age limit. Host families are expected to complete an Application to Host.

Is a home study required to host?

You do not need a full-scale home study unless you decide to go through the adoption process, but all host parents must complete clearance and background checks, as well as a home and neighborhood safety visit conducted by a Licensed Social Worker. Social workers will engage potential host parents in discussion about their desire to host a child or children and will examine the general environment for any hazards or issues that might not be suitable to accommodate a host child.

How are the children selected?

All children are recommended by their orphanages and approved by their birth country to participate in the hosting program.

Can we decide who/how many we will host? Age? Gender?

Yes. A family that desires to host is able to select the orphan they would like to host through an online photo-listing. This photo-listing, only accessible after you have registered, provides a recent photo and a brief biography that describes the child’s personality, likes, dislikes and hopes for the future.

What information will we receive about the child we select for hosting?

Information includes a brief biography and some medical information, as well as some current pictures. Due to country laws and to protect the privacy of children, information may be limited.

Do the children come with medical insurance?

Every child comes in with a medical travel insurance. A medical deductible may be necessary if an emergency arises.

Will the children need clothes or do they come with clothes? Will we receive sizes ahead of time?

Due to their age and travel challenges we recommend the children to travel with a back-pack only. So we do ask that host families to provide additional shoes and clothes while they are here. We can get their sizes for you before their arrival.

Can we take them to a dentist, eye doctor or medical doctor?

We would love for you to schedule a dental exam and eye exam for each host child. Many practitioners will agree to provide services free of charge or for reduced fees. Plan appointments early in the program, so if glasses are needed, they will be done in time for the child to take home. And, if a lot of dental work is suggested, you have time to schedule appointments or look for a dentist to donate services.

In many areas of the country, LensCrafters, Sears and other national chains, will offer a free eye exam and a pair of eyeglasses if needed. LensCrafters program is called Gift of Sight and can be location dependent. You will need to call in advance to find out what documentation is needed from CCAI in order to be seen. Consider asking your own eye doctor or dentist if they are willing to donate any services. We are not allowed to take children for any medical checkups or treatments unless prior approval is obtained from the lead chaperone.

Please note for Chinese host children, prior authorization from the Child’s orphanage is needed for any surgery.

How do you support a child while they are here?

Each orphanage will send their own chaperone to travel with the children. The chaperones know these children and know their personalities, emotions, and medical needs. They will be given a U.S. cell phone and Skype account so they can communicate with “their kids” every day. If needed, these chaperones will go to a host family to visit a child. CCAI has a team of translators and social workers ready to assist children, chaperones, and host families 24/7.

Do you do any follow-up after the children return to China?

Yes! We follow up with orphanages to make sure the hosted children enjoyed their hosting experience and will continue to do OK in the orphanage. We want to make sure their needs are met as much as possible and want to do our part, together with host families, to support them and advocate for them.

Why does it cost money to host a Child through this program?

The cost to host a child is about $3,000 per child. This amount covers the child’s passport, visa, train tickets/airline tickets within China, international flights to the US, domestic flights within the US, medical insurance, as well as the costs for the chaperones who are traveling with the children to the US. In addition, the host family will pay for travel expenses incurred to meet their host child in the arrival city and to return them to the departure city for their trip home. Whenever possible we try to arrange travel to the most convenient and/or cost effective port city. Other costs include providing care for the child while they are in your home, any medical services that you may arrange, and any activities that your family plans. These fees are 100% tax deductible as a charitable donation.

Any more questions?

For China hosting, please contact hosting@ccaifamily.org

For Ukraine and Latvia hosting, please contact latvia@ccaifamily.org