Our knowledge-base will answer many of your frequently asked questions.
The children that come on the program are selected based on recommendations by orphanage directors and facilitators who work with orphanage staff. In addition, our OHHC team travels to Ukraine and Latvia twice a year to build and strengthen our in-country relationships, as well as to personally meet with each child. On occasion a particular child may be recommended to the program without a personal interview, but that is the exception. The children chosen for the program are believed to have the ability to benefit from the vacation experience and to successfully adapt to family life in the United States. A brief description of the child's personal characteristics and medical history is requested from the orphanage staff, yet as a host program, the information is often limited.
The children travel to America accompanied by an escort from the orphanage. Host families meet the kids at the airport and take them home to live as part of their family for three to four weeks. While the children are in the U.S., they interact with American kids and participate in cultural and enrichment activities. Host families provide the opportunity to experience family life to children who would otherwise never get that chance. All of the children must return to their home countries with their escorts at the end of the visit program.
For more information contact the Volunteer Coordinator assigned to your state or region from the Out Team page.
Surprisingly, the language barrier is not a critical problem. Families who have hosted children say they were able to overcome communications problems quickly. The children learn much English from your family, and quickly pick up household words.
To provide additional support to our host families, OHHC provides a glossary of familiar terms in Russian, Ukrainian and Latvian. Volunteer translators will be available to interpret and help families communicate with their host child.