Important Information About Orphanage Children

Children who have been living in orphanages or institutionalized care often present issues of concerns which include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Nutritional deficits
  • Delayed growth and development
  • History of physical, emotional, and/ or sexual abuse
  • Speech and language delays*
  • Emotional and behavioral problems
  • Attachment disorders
  • Neglect and/or abandonment trauma
  • Learning disabilities
  • Other undetected or undiagnosed health concerns

Some children experiencing developmental delays, and/or poor orphanage conditions, have developed behavioral challenges and undesirable habits. Some children have been known to wet the bed. Frontier Horizon will inform host parents ahead of time if a child has a known recent or current bed-wetting problem.

Due to orphanage conditions, some children arrive with head lice or bedbugs. Though they are checked at the orphanage before leaving, some lice or bedbugs are missed or the treatments available to the caretakers are not effective. We highly recommend host families check the children and their belongings upon their arrival. If lice, bedbugs, or any other pests are discovered, please inform the Frontier Horizon staff and immediately seek effective treatment.

It is uncommon for children to arrive sick. However, should your hosted child[ren] show signs of illness upon arrival, please inform Frontier Horizon staff immediately and take appropriate steps for mitigating the child’s discomfort. At times it is little more than air sickness or food intolerance. However, should the condition persist please use prudence and engage the appropriate professional medical care.

Shopping for your hosted child 

When purchasing things for your hosted child we ask that you keep the following things in mind. Failing to do so could create short and more importantly long-term issues for you and/or the child.

  • If you must spoil your hosted child[ren], please do not spoil them during the first week of the visit. Frontier Horizon host families have found that the first week of the visit often sets the expectation for the entire stay. We recommend spreading treats, gifts, and experiences out evenly for the duration of the program.
  • You may buy your hosted child[ren] a few necessities when they arrive, but it is important to say “No” (“Nyet” in Russian) if they start asking for shopping trips or for you to buy them their own electronic devices.
  • It is up to the discretion of host families to make other “want-based” purchases for your hosted child. However, it is advisable to wait until the last week of the children’s visit so that you are not setting a standard for their time with you.
  • Please be mindful of the context to which your hosted child is returning. Over buying can create numerous challenges for orphanage staff and the children you have hosted. In the past, children who have returned to their country of origin with an exorbitant number of gifts have had many of their things lost or taken. Please use prudence and restraint when expressing love in the form of gift giving. Please do not buy cell phones or electronic equipment that can easily be stolen.
  • Every host family is unique with various stories to tell and gifts to share. It is always helpful to keep “all” the children in mind when investing in “the” child you hosted. Please be aware that many of the children will discuss their activities and gifts with each other both during and after their stay with you. As all children do, hosted children often compare their schedules and their gifts. Please keep this in mind when investing in the gifts and experiences provided for your host child(ren).
  • We ask every family to abide by our ONE (1) large return suitcase request. Sending more than ONE (1) large suitcase in not necessary and often creates more problems than benefits. PLEASE bring your hosted child to the departure airport with only ONE (1) large return suitcase. Thank you!

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