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About Host Ukraine
What is Host Ukraine?
Our all-volunteer team consists of dedicated, educated individuals who are also host and/or adoptive parents who have extensive experience serving orphans, and strong connections in Ukraine.
Orphan hosting is a way to show love and care for children who have often lost everything.
What Host Ukraine is NOT?
Host Ukraine is NOT an employee-driven organization. We exist thanks to the dedicated efforts of an incredible team of volunteers who share their time and experience for the benefit of orphan children. Our volunteers all have their own jobs, families, and other obligations on top of their Host Ukraine duties.
How does hosting benefit orphan children? Isn’t it cruel to host them and then send them back?
How many children end up getting adopted after hosting?
About Orphan Life In Ukraine
Where do the host children live in Ukraine?
What are the orphanages like?
Children may speak highly about their “schools”, as they generally call them. This is often rooted in a desire to not appear as an object of pity, and to protect themselves while they are building trust.
What happens when children age out of the Ukrainian orphanage system?
General statistics of children who age out of the system:
- At age 16, children are considered “aged out” and are turned into the street.
- 60% of girls end up being trafficked for prostitution/pornography within 2 years. Orphans are at extremely high risk for being trafficked and exploited.
- 50%+ of the girls become pregnant as teenagers, and more than 80% of babies born to former orphans become wards of the state within 3 years, creating the next generation of orphans
- 70% of the boys wind up in jail within 2 years of leaving the orphanage
- 15% of children commit suicide within 2 years of “graduating”
What future do orphan graduates have to look forward to in Ukraine?
- Hopelessness and homelessness
- No family or social services support system
- Lack of education, vocational training, dearth of job opportunities
- Limited and/or non-existent health care
- Prostitution, pimps, trafficking
- Jail time for selling drugs, robbery, theft — anything to survive
- Mandatory time in an ill-equipped military which is at war with Russia. (Soldiers are expected to supply their own bullet-proof vest, helmet, and boot – but of course, orphan conscripts have no money to do so.)
Are all of the host children adoptable?
If you have any questions about the status of your host child, we will gladly recommend qualified adoption agencies and/or Ukrainian adoption facilitators who can answer those questions definitively.
Does the war with Russia affect the children in Ukraine?
A direct result of the war between Ukraine and Russia is reduced government resources to provide adequate food, medicine, and other basic care to children in the orphanage system. In addition, the war has created an influx of children into the orphanage system, creating extra stress on the social system.
In winter, it is common for the orphanages to lack even the basics. They often have little to no heat in the dormitories, no hot running water (that means no warm showers), no hand or bath soap, no laundry detergent, no toilet paper, and no feminine hygiene products.
Can’t the kids just go to college or get good jobs after they leave their orphanage?
The best that orphan graduates can hope for is to possibly enter a trade school and try to avoid being pimped or trafficked while they survive without a support structure, often living homeless.
About Hosting Fees
What does the hosting fee cover?
That can seem like a LOT of money, so here’s a breakdown of what those costs include:
SCREENING & INTERVIEW TRIPS
The USA volunteer team travels to Ukraine to screen and select host children from 20+ orphanages, which includes:
- interviewing children who have expressed interest in being hosted
- interviewing caregivers and orphanage directors to get references and expert input for children who are being interviewed
- observing children to assess their ability to interact and engage, emotional potential to fit well into a family environment, for overall stability to handle the hosting experience
- researching available information on children’s histories and background (sometimes this is readily obtainable, other times it isn’t)
Ukraine facilitators and translators accompany the USA team to bridge cultural and linguistic barriers
- your child’s round-trip transportation by bus/train from their orphanage to Kiev Airport
- your child’s round-trip international airfare to one of several destination cities (transportation beyond the primary arrival cities is the responsibility of the host family)
- airfare for adult chaperones who travel with groups of children both in-country and international to ensure their safe arrival
- your child’s visa interview trip from their orphanage to the US embassy in Kiev, prior to hosting travel
- government fees for your child’s visa application and processing in both Ukraine and USA
- medical exams to ensure children’s general wellness before traveling internationally
UKRAINE TEAM EXPENSES
Our facilitator team in Ukraine is responsible for a wide variety of key aspects which includes, but is not limited to:
- maintaining relationships with orphanage directors in more than 20 orphanages
- accompanying the USA team in-country for child screening interviews
- arranging transportation and accompanying children from more than 20 orphanages to the embassy for visa interviews
- preparing all the children’s Ukrainian government approval documents and travel papers
- liaising with the Ukrainian governmental departments that have oversight of the hosting process.
USA TEAM EXPENSES
- marketing and awareness of hosting as a ministry, and available host children in particular
- database management of children and host families
- legal and administrative costs
- medical insurance while your child is being hosted, to cover any emergencies while they are in your care
- stipend for Ukraine chaperones who volunteer their holiday season (both summer and winter) to travel abroad and provide translation and oversight support to children and host families throughout the hosting season
Host Ukraine seeks to maintain quality relationships with the directors of all orphanages that allow us to host their children. We are not only committed to helping children during hosting seasons, but also to helping provide a higher quality of life while school is in session. This includes but is not limited to:
- supplementing orphanage food budgets
- paying for heat when the schools have no money
- providing medical supplies when needed
- helping with medical support when children are critically injured or ill and are in area hospitals (which often are ill-equipped and do not provide adequate medicine to orphan patients)
- supplying basic hygiene items such as toilet paper and hand soap when orphanages have none
- Providing support during times of need, goes a long way toward building positive and trusting relationships with orphanage directors, and helping to support needy orphan children who may not be suitable for the hosting experience.
About Applying To Host
The process for becoming a host family is simple but thorough.
- Host Ukraine Online Application form ($100 non-refundable application fee required)
- Criminal Background Check ($30 fee per person over 18 in your household, paid online to the company which performs your background check). Background checks MUST be completed for ALL members of your household age 18 and older.
- Home Safety Inspection MUST be completed to ensure that your home is a safe place for children. This inspection can be performed by a licensed social worker, a police officer, a fireman, or a member of clergy. A template is provided in your application packet.
NOTE: this is not a home study.
- Host Family Education and Training MUST be completed in one of the scheduled Host Ukraine training sessions, prior to your child arriving. Required reading and online quizzed help prepare host families to care for children who have experienced trauma and loss.
- Host Family Welcome Letter will be given to your child when they start the trip to America. This is a one-page letter that
Download Printable Checklist
About Choosing A Host Child
Where do I find photos of children who can be hosted?
We keep the collection of child photos in a closed group to protect their privacy and ensure safety.
You must send a request to join the Host Ukraine Photo List group, and be approved by an administrator. Once you’re in the group, you can browse the list of available children in the current season’s photo album.
Can you “hold” a child for me while we think about it?
When you choose a child, Host Ukraine will hold your child(ren) for up to 24 hours, during which time your initial (non-refundable) donation of $750 must be successfully received via PayPal, and indicated in the PayPal notes that it is toward your child’s hosting account. At the end of 24 hours, if the $750 is not received, the child will revert to “available” status in the database, or to a “back-up” family if another has expressed interest.
When the $750 is received, your child is considered “hosted”, and paperwork for your child is immediately underway, both here and in Ukraine. From this point forward, it is not possible to switch between host children.
What is the Host Ukraine refund policy, if I change my mind?
If you change your mind after committing to host a child, any funds applied to your child’s account will be posted as a grant to help place them with a new host family.
Please contact your team member for special circumstances.
Also, see Fundraising Questions below for more details on how to raise funds even if you have paid the hosting fees up front.
How do I get answers to my questions before I choose a child?
What is the timeline for the remaining donations to be paid?
- $750 non-refundable deposit is due within 24 hours of placing a child(ren) on hold. Deposit must be paid, or the child will return to “available” status
- $750 is due 10 days after application submission date
- $750 is due 30 days after application submission date
- $750 is due 45 days after application submission date.
Payments are tax deductible.
All payments are donations to Host Ukraine, a 501(c)3 non-profit and are non refundable.
Please inquire with your employer about matching grant opportunities.
PLEASE NOTE: Children who have any balance remaining on their account after the final payment date, CANNOT TRAVEL TO THE USA. Airfares cannot be purchased for children who do not have fully funded accounts.
About Preparing For Your Host Child’s Arrival
Will our host child know anything about us before they arrive?
What should I do with the items my child brings from Ukraine?
Set all the items aside, and tell them that you’ll keep it safe for them to take back to Ukraine at the end of their visit. No matter how many holes are in the socks, or how you may feel about the items, the child is considered responsible to bring them back to their school. Make sure items are packed in their return bag at the end of hosting.
What will my child bring with them from Ukraine?
And probably nothing more. Sometimes, children will be carrying a small bag with an extra pair of underwear or socks.
But don’t count on it.
What should I buy before my child arrives?
- it’s hard to know what size to buy until your child has arrived
- your child may have very distinctive style preferences
- your child is guaranteed to grow while they are here.
Buying too much in advance is not only overwhelming to your host child, but the clothes you buy when the arrive may not fit them when they leave, even during the shorter winter hosting!
Pre-arrival shopping list:
- underwear in two sizes
- pajamas, preferably with adjustable waist or draw-string, in case they are very slender for their age
Wait until after your child arrives to buy play clothes, dress clothes, shoes, etc…
Quality nutrition, healthy sleep, and a loving environment combine to allow children’s bodies to relax and growth spurts often kick in.
Wait to buy clothing to send back with them until the last few days before they leave, and then buy big so they have room to grow after they return.
About Your Host Child’s Airport Arrival
Where will my child land upon arrival in the USA?
JFK or Boston
Seattle or Los Angeles
Dallas or Houston
Please check with your team contact regarding the current season’s arrival airports to find out which location is closest to you.
NOTE: If you are joining as a host family at the last minute, please be aware that many airports have waiting lists for large groups of passengers, and we may not be able to accommodate your preferred arrival airport.
When must we arrive at the hub airport?
If you will be traveling from out of town to the hub airport (or more than 3 hours away), you MUST arrive the day prior to the children’s arrival, and we strongly suggest that you plan to spend the first night in the city of arrival before traveling home with your child.
How long will customs take when the children arrive at the airport?
What do I do when I meet my child for the first time? Can I hug them?
What should we bring to welcome our child, when we meet our child at arrival?
a small gift bag or backpack stuffed with little essentials such as:
- a water bottle
- crackers, granola bars, or other easy snack
- pocket kleenex pack
- notebook and pen
- family rules book (See Family Rules segment below.)
Who pays for my child’s extra flight if I don’t live near any of the hub airports?
How long has my child been traveling by the time they get to me?
Can I meet my child immediately when they walk out of the restricted immigration area?
Your airport coordinator will have a list of children and their host families. The waiting welcome group will be called forward to meet each child one at a time. A Host Ukraine team photographer must take a photo with your family and your host child — this is required by Ukraine government to prove that all children are spending their time with legitimate families in the USA.
What Host Ukraine check-in process should we expect when we arrive at the airport? Do we need to bring ID?
- check in and show driver’s license
- sign to receive your child’s insurance card
- give $25 chaperone donation, in an envelope, to airport coordinator
- take a Host Ukraine photo with your child BEFORE leaving (this is required by Ukraine to prove that each child has been handed to their host family)
What should we expect when we get our child?
They may or may not show emotion at all.
They may smile or look totally blank.
They may or may not be hungry.
They may desperately need to use the toilet but be too shy to ask.
They may hug you back, or be stiff as a board when you try.
All/any of the above is totally normal.
Just roll with it.
What about medical insurance and checkups?
Exploratory checkups are forbidden during the hosting period, by Ukrainian law. You absolutely may not under any circumstances take your child to the doctor for the purpose of testing or exploring your child’s physical, mental, or emotional wellness.
What about car sickness or nausea?
You can help them relax and adjust by:
- keeping chewable children’s Dramamine in the glove compartment of your car
- keeping a small trash can lined with plastic grocery bags in your vehicle, to make any mess easy to clean in case of vomiting
What about dental or vision checkups?
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a tax deductible receipt for services rendered by your doctor, optometrist, or dentist.
How do I shop well for my host child’s wardrobe?
What’s an ideal wardrobe shopping list?
- underwear (one weeks worth)
- socks (6 pair)
- pajamas / long johns for winter layering
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 pair of khakis or other pants
- 1 sweatpants
- 1 sweatshirt or polar fleece
- 1 sweater
- 4 tees
- 2 nicer shirts
- 1 winter coat
- 1 pair casual shoes
- 1 pair sports shoes
- 1 pair boots
Will my child speak English?
Never say anything in front of your child that you wouldn’t say if they spoke fluent English. You never know how much they may understand, even if they don’t talk to you freely.
How do we use Google translate effectively?
Use exact, precise words that don’t have multiple meanings in English.
Avoid colloquial expressions that would not have the intended meaning if you looked up the words in a dictionary.
(Example: “stink to high heaven” is a colloquial expression that has nothing to do with heaven, or being high. The simple words “smell very bad” would translate much better.)
If you seem to be having confusion, try copying the translated words and retranslating them back into English to see what is really being said.
Google translate has a verbal recognition software that works excellent for English>Russian and Russian>English. However, the Ukrainian language app does not have the verbal feature.
Eating and Growing
What if my child won’t eat?
Keep food available, especially items like a bowl of fruit or other healthy snacks. Typically their appetite will show up after the first few days have passed and they begin to feel comfortable and at ease in your home.