Lifeline is thrilled to be partnering with BLOOM to host a Colombia Vacation Program this December! We are so excited that you are considering being a host family to a child or sibling group from Colombia for two weeks during December 7-21, 2018.This is a unique and wonderful opportunity to share the love of Christ with a child waiting for a forever family. This is also a great time to teach the children about American culture, the English language, and even to celebrate Christmas a little early with them. We’re looking for families that live in the Southeast area (specifically Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina). Your family can host to adopt or host to advocate – either way you will be playing an important role in the life of a child or sibling group that will impact them for eternity.
- Apply online to become a host family through Lifeline Children’s Services and BLOOM. Your application will be reviewed and approved if all program requirements can be met.
- Once your application has been approved, your family will be contacted by the BLOOM Program Coordinator to welcome you to the Vacation Program, send you a link to your online portal, and to get you connected with your Lifeline evaluation social worker.
- Your evaluation social worker will be responsible to conduct your Hosting safety visit evaluation, assist in your education process, and to approve you to host a child from Colombia.
- BLOOM will be the host for December Vacation Program. They will work with you to ensure you are prepared for all logistics as you wait for your child’s arrival and will communicate the itinerary of events with your family during this time.
- Your home study will also need to be approved no later than October 3, 2018.
- It will then need to be translated and submitted to Colombia by October 7, 2018. They will review the evaluation and approve you for the vacation program.
- During the evaluation process, you will review children’s files to determine which child/children you wish to host.
- Once you review the information in the child’s file with your Lifeline case worker and/or the BLOOM team, you will write a letter of intent to host that specific child.
- Colombia will review your letter of intent. Should all requirements be met and there be no questions, Colombia will approve the match. Please remember they can come back and ask clarifying questions during the evaluation or Letter of Intent process.
- Once you are matched with your host child, you will be connected with BLOOM to plan all logistics.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What days will the child be with us?
- December 7-21, 2018
Who are the children?
- There will be 15+ children traveling to the USA for the vacation program. They will likely be 11 year old and older. They do no have to have pre-identified medical needs. Their age may be their need. There may be younger children with pre-identified medical special needs. Most will be individual children, but there will be a few sibling groups of 2-4 children traveling too. You can view the children here.
Do I get to speak with the child before they arrive?
- Yes! The children selected by Colombia to travel will go to a pre-camp two weeks before they arrive to your home. During this time, you will send photos and letters to the child that you are hosting to help their psychologist prepare them for their time there. You will have two Skype sessions before the children arrive.
What is required of us before they travel, during, and after?
- You will be asked to send photos and Skype with the child before they travel. When in the USA, you will be requested to spend time with the child, giving them a cultural experience. You will also be requested to attend a few events during the two weeks. After the child leaves, you will be requested to determine whether or not your family will pursue adoption or would like to advocate for the child.
What is a chaperone? Why will they need to stay with us?
- The chaperone will be a psychologist or social worker from Colombia. Their role is to observe and support the child and families. Each child will be assigned one chaperone, and that chaperone will need to stay with you for 2-3 nights. You are not expected to entertain the chaperone during this time, but you will need to provide meals and a place to stay.
What exactly are the cost to be a host family?
- The Lifeline application fee will be waived for the Vacation Program. Your family will need to pay $1,995 total for the hosting program. This includes the application, administration fees, hosting evaluation, and out of pocket expenses needed. There is additional cost of $595 per additional sibling, but please be sure to let us know if you would like to host siblings and may need to apply for a scholarship to help host siblings.
Am I responsible for medical costs?
- You will not be responsible for medical care while the child is in country. However, you are welcome to work with BLOOM to assist in any way you would like. Your main responsibilities will be covering all food and entertainment for the child while he/she is in your home.
Can I travel with the child we host?
- Yes, you may travel. However, you need to include days, plans, and times in the evaluation.
Do I have to adopt the child?
- No, hosting the child is not a commitment to adopt t he child. However, we request that you seriously take into consideration either being an adoptive family or an advocate for an adoptive family for the child.
What happens if my family wishes to adopt the child we have hosted?
- You will need to visit lifelinechild.org to review the Colombia adoption process and guidelines. You can submit a letter of intent to adopt the child 15 days after he/she returns back to Colombia. This will lock their file for your family. You will then need to apply to Lifeline’s Colombia Adoption program right away, pay agency fees, and work on your immigration and dossier paperworks as quickly as possibly.
If you would like to pursue adoption of the child you wish to host, please be sure to review the adoption process facts to be sure you can meet the requirements. Additional info is listed below in regards to the steps for the Colombia international adoption process. Your family can visit Lifeline’s Colombia Adoption website for more info.
We understand that you may have questions as a result of all this information. If you have any questions about the vacation program or about international adoption in general, please contact Beth Stanley or Meredith Crawford. You may also call 205.972.8382. We look forward to hearing from you soon and are so excited to serve you in this journey.