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International Adoption Info

Newsletter #146 for Internationally Adopting Parents
April 28, 2011
PAL Center Inc.



Children with FASD in Schools



Initial screening
of your internationally adopted child
in the Spanish Language
is now available both at
the Phoenix &
New York
BGCenter offices!



New Online Class
from B. Gindis Ph.D.

Cumulative Cognitive Deficit
in Internationally Adopted Children
Coming Soon

Internet Digest

    Martha Osborne
    Summer Orphan Hosting Opportunities

    'Selfish Reasons' For Parents To Enjoy Having Kids

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Hosting Children from Foreign Orphanages in 2011

Summer hosting programs for children from foreign institutions have come a long way. Now they are offered practically all year round. And a growing number of families do it not for adoption purposes necessarily, but just to give one more child a chance to see a different world, a better life, and, may be, help find an adoptive family.

We wrote about varies aspects of hosting in our previous publications: Newsletter #63, our online class for hosting preparation and we speak about it during hosting consultations.

Below is a discussion of hosting issues that some families preparing for a new hosting season may have.

Q. We would like to help out by hosting a chaperone or translator. My questions have to do with what our obligations might be. Would it be bad form if the adult chaperone had a sofa bed in the living room? What kinds of things are the chaperones most interested in accomplishing: relaxing, sight-seeing, earning money, acquiring new skills? Would they like to do odd jobs at our house for money, or would that be off limits? Would they generally require a lot of transportation?

A. Valerie Schendel
I think I can answer a few of your questions as I have hosted both kids and chaperones (escorts) over the past several years. I have also had the greatest opportunities in placing both children and escorts in homes for a number of host programs. Currently I am assisting Project One Forty Three (p143) with their program. Here is my opinion based on what I have done myself and recommended to others.

The escort has just brought numerous kids across the "pond" - she probably needs a rest! Depending on how long you host her (the full time or just a day, week or two) some privacy is recommended. She will not need her own room but the general courtesy of not having kids run through the area while she is sleeping would be a huge help for her. But a sofa bed is usually fine - just giving her a couple of days for getting over jet lag.

She will also need to be "on call" for the program for a variety of reasons. The program will typically provide her with a cell phone for this. But purchasing a phone card is highly recommended - so that she can call and check in with her country/orphanage/husband. This too is usually provided, but extra minutes never hurt.

While the escort is here she would love to experience American culture first hand. Many foreigners do not know what America is really like; more importantly they do not know what Americans are really like. Sightseeing is absolutely a fun thing to do. I so enjoy seeing my local "famous" areas through a new person's eyes. For example, we took the escort and hosted child to Niagara Falls (we live not very far from the falls), and that visit was amazing! Visiting Niagara was on the list of things the escort wanted to do. Many come with the idea of what they would like to see or do while here. Going out to dinner, visiting a park, a mall - all of these things were absolutely wonderful for each escort that we hosted. One escort was absolutely in love with dollar stores!

The escorts typically will have some spending money, but it is always nice to help out a wee bit more. One thing we were able to do is to contact a Ukrainian community in our area. I know of other families who found out about local Russian communities as well. The ladies of the community took the escorts to church and into their homes & shopping, so the escorts really had a great visit! This is not something that has to be done, but certainly a nice thing to do if you are able.

I would not recommend "hiring" an escort. They have already been hired by the hosting organization. They will of course welcome additional money (we Americans are known for our generosity, and the thinking sometimes is that we are all rich), but they are not here to do chores. However, that being said, taking in a shopping trip was a great way for me to thank our escort for cooking an entire dinner for us (at her insistence). She even offered to show me how to make some of the local specialties of Ukraine. Many of the escorts chipped in for housework and gardening and so forth, just because they wanted to. Some have opted just to spend their day relaxing outside or in their rooms, but most of them that I have met welcomed the opportunity to help and were thrilled to visit area attractions.

Regarding transportation: this largely depends on the escort and the program. If a child really needs assistance in a home other than your own, it would be a nice gesture to aide in getting the escort to the home, the airport or what not. You will not have to purchase airplane tickets, or spend an extraordinary amount on gas to do this, but this is the only thing that I can think of out of the normal family activities that would require extra planning regarding transportation. Basically the escort is a guest in your home, so whatever you would normally do is acceptable.

Note: Not all of the escorts speak English. Our escort and I had a blast trying to figure out what each was saying using the little books. But some escorts speak English fluently. The language barrier is usually not an issue if both parties are willing to work it out playing charades.

What I would recommend the most, is treat the escort as if she is a guest in your home at first, and then she will quickly become a member of the family. Our last host still refers to me as her sister in America. I have communicated with all of the escorts that stayed with me over the years. The ladies whom I have met, rapidly became friends to their host families, and many were incredibly sad to see them leave. It is almost like you "adopted" an adult!!

Hosting an escort is wonderful, and I for one thank you for considering this. There is definitely a need for this, and I think this is just a good time to show someone how great we Americans are!


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