FAQ: Common Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Every new and potential host family has questions…. as you SHOULD!

Here are the ones we get asked the most. And if you don’t see the answer to your question here, please contact us and we’ll be happy to talk with you!

About Hosting

Can we travel during hosting?

Can we travel with our host child?  Within the USA, yes if travel documents are submitted to NHFC. Outside the USA, no. No cruises. If they leave the USA, they cannot re-enter on their single entry Visa issued to come to the USA.

Do we have to attend training?

Yes! The countries we contract to work with, require our families attend one meeting of their choice so we try and offer several dates and locations to accommodate as many families as possible. If they have to drive or fly, then one parent can choose to come. Hosting is very different than adopting and our training is very specific to NHFC and tried and tested and presented after 10 years of doing this. Others who have said the same things in the beginning, came to a training and later stated they learned more from our 6-7 hours than in all their pre adoption training combined and were glad they attended. Similarly, fostering US kids is VERY different than hosting foreign orphan children. Our hosting program is a mission trip and there are very particular rules, guidelines, scenarios, situations that we come across that are not dealt with through adoptions, fostering or having foreign exchange students in your home.

How do I integrate our host child into family life?

Most families just continue life as normal—especially after the first couple of days. Let your host child catch up on their sleep and adjust a little to the time difference, and then act like they’re one of the family… chores and all.

Isn’t the arrival awkward?

Isn’t their arrival at the airport awkward? How do I break the ice on our way home? Yes, it is usually awkward. No, it is not insurmountable.  You’ll cover this in training, and it’s in the manual as well. The awkwardness can be handled in many ways… lots of smiles, a small gift… before you leave the airport, ask if they need to use the bathroom… find out if they’re hungry. If you have a VERY long drive or will be staying in a hotel overnight, type out something ahead of time and have it translated so they know what’s going on. Some host kids will fall asleep as soon as they’re in the car. Others will just want to look out the window to “see America.” For most, the awkwardness dissipates pretty quickly.

My husband and I both work full time. Can we place our host child in daycare?

The ministry of NHFC is to bring orphaned children into the home and family life of Americans. Placing a hurt child in yet another "institution" does not foster the goal of NHFC to share family.  Therefore we encourage two-parent working homes to become creative in their vacation scheduling so that at least one parent can be with the child while invited into your home for their summer vacation.  While we do encourage things like soccer camp, Bible School, dance lessons, visits to Grandma's and other things of that nature; continuous day long day care away from the host family is not permitted.

Tell me more about scholarships

On the photo listing, what do the scholarships mean and how do the children get them?  These are offered by people who feel called to donate to a particular child. This money is usually donated by people who can’t host or don’t want to host, but who want to help an un-hosted child to find a family. Scholarships reduce the hosting fee based upon the amount pledged.

What can we do to prepare?

Other than getting a room ready, what can we do as a family to better prepare for hosting? Read! We have several recommended books on our website and encourage you to read as many of them as you can. The information contained therein will be INVALUABLE as you prepare for and during hosting. Pray Pay attention at your host parent training. Read your manual and reread and highlight it for later reference. Learn from other host families and join the private Facebook groups.

What is the best way to handle the language barrier?

There are several online translating sites that host families have found to be helpful—Google translate being the most popular. For some, websites like these have been invaluable; for others, not so much. Be prepared for 4-5 weeks of charades.  Also, as they’re learning English, make it a point to learn some of their native language as well. Sometimes they’re not so hesitant to use the little English they know if they hear you fumbling over a bit of Russian.  We also  have paid translators, who work directly with our program,  available to help when these methods do not work.  Our translators are only a phone call away. The translators also work day in and day out with orphans and prove to be an invaluable resource.  (There is no extra charge for you to use the translators, this is part of your hosting fee)

Where can I get a Bible in my host child’s native language?

There are several places.  Host families in the past have used: EEM.org, Slavic Gospel Association, eBay, Russianpublishing.com, and Multilanguage.com.

Who is qualified to host?

Hosting is open nationwide, coast to coast; and is ideal for Christian families who have a heart for orphans, but cannot travel overseas on a mission trip. In this case, we bring the mission into the family and their local church congregation.

Why Europe or Asia? Why not kids here in the U.S.?

1.) All kids - both in the USA and abroad - need to be cared for. This is more than just an admirable endeavor of fighting against the overwhelming tide of faceless numbers; this is a global crisis in which actual names, faces, and souls are in the balance.  Meet some of these kids and find out their stories, and we guarantee that you too will agree that - regardless of which geographical area on the planet into which they were born - we cannot simply leave them to their varied and unacceptable fates.

2.) Christians have a responsibility to stand in the gap and help these children (Matthew 19:14 & 25:31-46, John 14:18, James 1:27) as the Body of Christ and His representation here on Earth (Romans 9:8, Matthew 5:14-16 & 18:3, Galatians 3:26, 1 Corinthians 12:27).

3.) Programs such as Wait No More (an arm of Focus On The Family) are aimed towards helping domestically, while other organizations such as NHFC are focused on regions outside the USA such as Eastern Europe & China.  None of these programs are right nor wrong for their focus. NHFC focuses abroad because the fact is that there are aspects of American society which give kids inherent advantages over those in other countries. Governmental programs exist to care for them and try to make sure they don't slip through the cracks; a decent foster system to provide their basic needs, ample opportunity for adequate nutrition, and a guarantee of a decent & equitable education are just a few examples.

However, these do not exist at such a level in other countries. The likelihood that orphaned children in Eastern Europe will lack a quality education, simple life skills necessary for survival and more is high. Even though we see the government services doing the best they can to care for and help these kids. We know that many will enter a life of crime or prostitution and sadly some will commit suicide. This region of the world is also one of the highest sources of human trafficking today; millions of girls are sex slaves today simply because they were unfortunate enough to grow up as orphans in these parts of the world. We could go on and on...

We believe wholeheartedly that all these kids need to be fought for, encouraged, and educated. But while other organizations are doing a great job reaching out to those children in America, we have chosen to show the kids in another part of the world that Americans are not as selfish and materialistic as they've been told, that they are not forgotten by God, and that they are valuable and loved. We believe and have seen kids can come to know Christ through us, and in the end, that is what is most important.

About Student Visas and Adoption

Do we have to consider adoption in order to host?

No. In fact, New Horizons For Children is not an adoption agency at all we are a hosting program.

How do I know if adoption is an option?

You will need to contact an adoption agency. If you need assistance in how to locate one your coordinator may be able to help.

What do I do if the adoption topic comes up?

I know we’re not supposed to mention adoption (The “A” word). But how do I handle it if my host child brings it up, or what if one of my own kids lets it slip? Change the subject! If you’ve already adopted internationally, and it’s obvious that one or more of the children in your home are not biologically yours, show your host child on a map where your kids are originally from—and then talk about how long the flight was, or how different the food was… steer the conversation away from the adoption question.

What is a Student Visa and how do we get one?

NHFC does not process or facilitate student visas. If this is of interest, you can contact the child's guardian in their home country AFTER the return from the host program to request permission to go further.

About the Kids

Can I contact my child before hosting?

My host child is having a birthday a month before he arrives in the US. Can I send him a card/gift before hosting begins? No, because the kids we are offering don’t know they were selected to be offered at this point and the orphanages and foster families have very specific timeframes when they let the kids know who is coming. They don’t know you yet and don’t need to know you based upon getting gifts. There will be plenty of time for this during the program. Next year, yes, please send them something for their birthday.

Can I keep in contact with my host child AFTER hosting?

Please contact your coordinator for each country's specific rules.

How can I find out more about my host child?

It is quite normal to desire to know your child's history and why he’s in an orphanage.  However, most times, you’ll have to be satisfied with the information we get on the interview trip.  Sometimes we do know why a child is in an orphanage or foster home; and when we know, we’ll tell you—but it’s not the norm. If you move to adopt, many times that information can be obtained through your adoption agency.  On occasion your host child may freely offer that information, but don’t count on it and it isn’t wise to press them for this information during the program.

How does the time change affect the kids?

How long will it take my host child to acclimate to the time difference? It depends.  Everyone handles it differently. Some will bounce back within a couple of days, others might take a week or more.  A general rule of thumb is: 1 day for every hour of time difference. And speaking of time difference, there’s a 7 hour time difference between the east coast and Latvia and Ukraine. There is a 12 hour time difference between China and the east coast in America.

Isn’t it cruel to send them back?

Isn’t it cruel to bring these kids here, show them the land of plenty and then send them back? The kids that we bring are coming on a visit, or exchange type program. Many orphanages close during the holidays and over summer so all kids must go somewhere. They go other places like Italy, Spain, Holland, other camps in their own countries and some go to local foster families as well. We are one of the “options” as far as the kids are told, and they are selected to come on our program after being interviewed and after we talk to their caregivers about behavior, school efforts etc. So, everyone goes out of the orphanage for the summer and in our case, we are a 5 week program. They come here and usually return to a camp type place in their home country or start out at one and come to us from the camp. Our program shows children what it’s like to be fully and unconditionally loved in a Christian family. It is an experience that many would never have in their lives.  In addition to the ministry aspects of the program, the kids come and gain a new language. Most learn as much English in 4-5 weeks here as they would in a good English class in their schools over 4-5 years. Latvia is a part of the European Union as well and in that, residents are able to move and work in other EU countries. But Latvian is a language that no other country speaks or uses, and English is a very common language in all. So, that alone, would be a good “tool” to give kids now to help them later. On the other side, when I talk to children who have been fully adopted and live in The U.S., none of them state they felt like they were being ripped out of a glorious land and placed into poverty. It was a trip to remember and they returned “home”. When they were offered adoption later, since we don’t speak of it on the host program, they were in most cases, shocked and it took a great deal of thinking to consider it real and accept it. So, in the end, if a child who comes on the program has even 10% chance of being helped through one of these purposes, where they had 0% if they didn’t come; should we decide not to do this, or to do this for them as much as possible? And, that 10% is in reality, much greater for each child who participates…more like 99% gain something important from the program whether it’s Salvation, family, language or love. Lastly, it is interesting to consider that the kids don’t have such the expected “trauma” after having to go back as one would assume. In fact, I have traveled with some of the groups all the way back home and each program I travel with them through security to the plane after we depart parents at the airport in Atlanta. The kids look at this as a vacation. Once they separate from their 4-5 week family, they refocus on friends after we get through security and find familiarity in them. They are going home. It is told to them and explained as such and being their homes are in Latvia and Ukraine, they don’t expect to stay forever. The things that we see as extreme poverty and necessary things we have to have in life to live,  just aren’t seen that way when it’s what you know and is “life and home”.  We could compare it to a visit to Disney World where no one expects to live at Disney World. In fact, there are some kids who go back, are offered adoption and say no. They are content where they are. For Americans, our view of necessary things we need to some may be seen as waste and extreme, even greed and ugly wealth. After traveling myself twice a year, to where they live, I tend to feel their viewpoint at times too.  Not having running water in a house doesn’t mean it isn’t a comfortable home that provides attention and a sense of belonging. Safety and security of the “known” is there and that is number one on what humans need in order to consider what things are important. Consider the show Little House on the Prairie? They may have had little by our standards but felt like they had everything. These kids are similar, except they may not have a healthy understanding of family and that’s what we aim to offer them.

What do they eat?

What do they eat and what do I do if they won’t eat what I serve them? This is covered in depth in training as well as in the training manual. Fresh fruit, cheese, cottage cheese, juice, milk, deli meats, potato pancakes, ramen noodles, hot dogs, French fries, grilled cheese sandwich, chicken, raw veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and onions. When in doubt, bring them shopping with you and let them pick out a few things. Go to a buffet restaurant and take notes on what they choose.

What is a “Special Needs” Orphanage?

 My host child is from a “special needs” orphanage.  What does that mean? Special needs” often means something very different in Eastern Europe than what it means here in the US. First, don’t panic. It could be something as insignificant as mild scoliosis, or that they’re behind in school. If we didn’t tell you up-front about a “special need,” it’s something so minor it may not even be on the interview sheet; but call your coordinator to double check. Many times, children who are in orphanages had a lack of opportunity to go to school, and therefore we deem their slowness in education as a lack of opportunity rather than a lack of ability. Time together in your family will tell more about the true issue.

Why aren’t the children’s ages on the photo listing?

We don’t list the ages (unless a child is close to aging out) because we don’t want a child immediately dismissed because they’re not the “right” age. Emotionally, many of these kids are a couple of years (or more) behind their American counterparts. So, a 14 year old boy may be 14 age-wise, but only 11 emotionally, and his interests and social interactions would reflect that discrepancy as well. Our Coordinators are more educated on these issues and can discuss them on a case by case basis with interested host families and will have birthdays and ages to share as well.

About Travel

Can we go visit our child after hosting?

Now that we’ve hosted, we’d like to take a trip to our child's country to really see what it’s like.  Can we go and visit our host child and other orphanages while we’re there?  Not on your own.  You need permission from the Government and Orphanage Director/Orphan Court to gain access to an orphanage or foster family.  Depending on where you want to visit, there may be a local missionary who can help; but you can’t just show up and ask to visit with the kids.  Our interview teams have a local Hosting Program Director in each country where we work.  Her responsibility is to make the arrangements many weeks prior to our arrival and present validation paperwork as to who we are, why we are there, and to prove we have permission to enter these orphanages and foster families.  She spends weeks on making appointments. It is not an easy thing to do, and is not recommended prior to an adoption trip.

How to Help

How can I help promote NHFC?

I want to promote New Horizons at my church/MOPS group/Bible Study.  What resources to I have available to me?  The first place to check is our website: www.NewHorizonsForChildren.org and click on “More ways to help.” There you’ll find printable resources, links to videos and more that will help you spread the word about New Horizons.  Second, if you desire to have printed brochures mailed to you, please contact the main office 678-671-2279.


Are you Considering Hosting?  Fill out the Pre-Application Here.