Orphan Hosting Programs: New Horizons for Children

by Laura Christianson

If you’re thinking about adopting an older child internationally, you might consider participating in a program that brings children from other countries for short-term stays with host families in your area.
In the next few posts, I’ll be introducing you to several programs.

New Horizons for Children, Inc.

Regional programs operate in the Northeast, Southeast, Central Texas, and West Coast. The deadline for applying to be a summer 2008 host family is April 30, 2008.  Le Ann Dakake, Director of Hosting Programs, told me a bit about their program:

Q: Why did you start New Horizons for Children?

A: I started it after my husband and I adopted an older teen from Russia in 2000. Now he is 21 and his prayer has always been for God to help his friends and other orphans find families, too. We have now adopted 5 times… most recently after becoming a last minute backup family to a little boy age 5 with mild Cerebral Palsy… we weren’t expecting to adopt nor ever considered a handicapped child… he is now home and we can’t remember life without him in it! In all, we figure about 80% of our host families don’t expect to adopt, but 70%+ do.

Q: You are a non-denominational Christian ministry. Do your host families need to be Christians?

A: Our host families are of a Christian faith, and our aim is to share the love of Jesus with kids who may have never known or realize they do have a Father! The same one we all have, in Heaven, who loves them very much.

Q: Do you need to be actively seeking adoption in order to participate in the program?

A: No.

Q: What training do host families receive prior to the child’s visit?

A: Full day in Atlanta area or Philadelphia area, host parent training manual, telephone and email support and access to past host families.

Q: How much does it cost to participate in the program?

A: Cost of the child’s travel: $1,950 presently.

Q: How long does the child stay in your home?

A: 4-5 weeks (4 weeks at Christmas—mid-December through mid-January, or 5 weeks in summer—late June through early August)

Q: What host program activities do you and the child participate in during the visit?


  1. Group events if the family lives within the program radius on some weekends, usually 7-10 days apart.
  2. Welcome party: America 101. This is a Christian experience with crafts and games.
  3. Farewell party. Out of program families who live more than 2.5 hours from core programs in Atlanta or Houston or Philadelphia do not attend these and have other connection needs with email of photos, calls to chaperones etc.

Q: What is the most challenging aspect of hosting an orphaned child?

A: Expectations of family and child not being equal. Keeping in mind the child is an orphan, and became that way from something that happened to them. They don’t “look like” orphans, so families tend to forget and raise expectations beyond what a child is ready for.
The farewell at the airport is really tough. But, all kids come as a group and must return as a group, or the program will end.

Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of hosting an orphaned child?

A: The blessing of experiencing life through a child’s eyes and teaching love from a family perspective, realizing communication is 20% verbal and 80% non-verbal and connecting with a child who came into your home not speaking your language or being familiar with your schedules, culture, meals, living conditions, ways of showing love, etc.

Related posts:

Other posts in the Orphan Care series:

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