How can I be involved in the Welcoming Angels Program?
There are several ways to get involved in Welcoming Angels:
- Become a host family
- Become a volunteer Hosting Liaison for your area
- Host a chaperone
- Volunteer at a group event
- Sponsor a child’s trip
- Pray for the children and hosting program
What countries can I host children from?
Currently, only children from Ethiopia can be hosted. However, AW is working with other countries to set up hosting programs for the future.
What is the age of the hosting children?
The goal of the hosting program is to bring awareness to the older orphans. We bring children 8 years and older because they are the least likely to be requested by a family during the adoption process. This program is designed to give children that might otherwise not be considered for adoption the chance to live with a family that might consider an adoption.
Can the host program come to my state?
Each state must be considered on a case by case basis, but AW has opportunities to host in many states.
When will the children come to the United States?
The host program can occur at any time during the year, the timing will depend on when the group of host families are ready. Typical hosting times are: spring break, summer break and winter break. The exact dates will be determined based on the availability of the host families and the Hosting Liaison.
Will the hosted children attend school while they are in the U.S.?
The hosting program usually takes place during breaks from the U.S. school year so the hosted children would not attend school during the day.
How much will it cost to host a child? Can I fundraise?
Hosting a child from Ethiopia costs $2,500 - $3,000. AWAA underwrites a portion of the hosting program, however there are still fees involved including travel expenses and documents for the hosted child, social worker fees, medical insurance, host family training, etc. Host families may choose to fundraise part of the cost for hosting. The hosting experience can be viewed as a “reverse mission” opportunity. Many have a heart for missions but are unable to travel internationally. Hosting an orphaned child is an opportunity for your family to participate in missions at home. You may want to contact your church, family and friends with your plans and give them an opportunity to come alongside you in this effort. There are also many creative fundraising options, such as yard sales and bake sales.
Can I choose the child I host in my home?
Both family and host child preferences will be taken into consideration for child placement decisions. AW clinical staff will make final placement decisions after families are approved to host.
What information will the family receive about the child’s history or background?
A host family will receive pictures, profile information, medical information, and a psychological report on their host child.
What are the children told about the trip to the U.S.?
The children are told that this is a cultural exchange program. Furthermore, this really would be the only opportunity they could have to visit our country, unless they were adopted. However, the chances of older children being adopted is much lower than infants and young children.
What will be the schedule for the children during their visit?
Planned group events will occur during the host period so host families, chaperones, and children have an opportunity to participate in the hosting community. These will be fun events for everyone. It is anticipated that there will be a minimum of two mandatory group events, which will take place during the weekends. Host families will plan their own schedules for the majority of the program.
Are there rules about the children remaining in the presence of the host family at all times?
Yes, for the duration of the hosting period, the children need to stay under the supervision of the hosting family.
What happens if the child I host has needs that I can’t manage during the host period?
Each host family will have an assigned social worker who will conduct a check-in visit once during the host period. If problems arise during the hosting period, the host family can contact their social worker or the hosting director for assistance. If either the host family or child appears to be at risk, alternate host families will be available.
What happens if my host child needs medical care?
America World will purchase medical insurance for every host child and chaperone during their stay in the U.S. The host family will be given proof of the health insurance with instructions on use of the policy. Notice must be given to America World and to the insurance company should the child require medical care. We encourage families to ask people they know in their medical community if pro bono services would be available for the children while they are here. Although the children will have insurance for their stay, it does not cover anything related to a pre-existing condition. Consent for routine medical services must be approved by the orphanage chaperone.
How do I communicate with the child since they don’t know English?
There will be chaperone(s) traveling with the children who speak English fluently and can assist families with interpretation. Also, there will be an overview of basic phrases in Amharic provided during host parent training. Nonverbal communication is a very effective way to get across basic communication needs (i.e., gestures, tone of voice, pantomime).
Are the children adoptable?
Families that host are not required or expected to adopt and it is mandatory to not discuss any interest in adoption with any host child. However, all of the children in the hosting program are eligible for adoption, although America World cannot guarantee the placement of a specific child. Efforts to adopt children from a foreign country involve circumstances often beyond America World’s control. Such circumstances may interfere with or interrupt the adoption process. America World takes all reasonable precautions to anticipate and avoid such risks, but cannot assure its efforts will always prove successful. In the event of any reasonable occurrence which impedes the successful outcome an initial adoption effort, America World will work with a family for as long as reasonably necessary in pursuit of alternative adoption possibilities.
If I want to adopt the child I host, do we have to send the child back to Ethiopia?
All children must return to Ethiopia at the end of the hosting program as they are here on temporary tourist visas with special permission from the Ethiopian and American governments. The Ethiopian government maintains legal guardianship of each child and therefore each child must return to the orphanage at the end of the hosting period.
Can a host family use a different agency to complete their home study?
America World uses our affiliate social workers for the hosting program. If we do not have an affiliate in your state, we will work with a social worker with whom we have a cooperative agreement.
What is the process to adopt a child?
Any family that decides to adopt a child from the hosting program will have to fulfill the adoption requirements for AW which include the full home study evaluation, education, and building of a dossier to be submitted to the country. The approximate adoption timeline is 10-18 months but can vary in length depending on individual factors.
What if I decide not to adopt the child that I host?
Families that host are not required or expected to adopt. However, AW hopes that host families will continue to advocate for their host child to find a permanent family.
Does participation in the program increase a family’s success in the adoption process or speed up the process?
Participation in the hosting program will not speed up your adoption process in Ethiopia and you will not receive special consideration during the process. You must still meet the requirements for an Ethiopian adoption and will go through the same process as everyone else that adopts from Ethiopia.
Are references available for families that have previously hosted a child?
Yes, we have several families that would be happy to share their experiences with you. We can connect you with these families if you are interested.