Frontier Horizon seeks to provide prospective host families with as much relevant data on the children they seek to host. However, for legal reasons, Frontier Horizon is not authorized to provide personal, medical, or family history information regarding hosted children. We will do our best to provide general information to prepare for hosting and to provide families who are interested in adoption with information regarding the child[ren]’s availability for adoption. We cannot provide you with any medical, psychological, or personal information about your hosted child[ren]. Any information provided by Frontier Horizon is unofficial information. Should you pursue adoption, we encourage you to seek official information individually and independently through your adoption facilitator and related international agencies that facilitate these proceedings in each country within which we serve.
Frontier Horizon cannot guarantee that a child’s records are accurate, up-to-date, or that new or different information will not come to the fore at anytime in the process of hosting. Child records are created and managed by the agencies of each international government with which we work. Frontier Horizon seeks to ensure that said records are accurate but we unfortunately cannot guarantee that they are and have no ability to control the integrity of said international systems. We cannot guarantee the availability of children for adoption. Frontier Horizon’s Hosting Program is not an adoption program. Our work is not exclusively with available and adoptable children.
Hosted children come from various international child welfare systems such as orphanages and guardian care. It is essential for host families to understand the disparity between the reality of a healthy western nuclear family and the lifestyle of those living within the challenges of such institutionalized care. While behavior is individual, and Frontier Horizon cannot tell you exactly what to expect from the child you will host, there are a few things that can be generally expected of international orphans and displaced children.
- The children served by Frontier Horizon are placed in institutionalized care for many of the same reasons that children are placed in foster care within the United States and Canada. These reasons may include but not be limited to neglect, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, substance usage and abuse, incarcerated parents, or death of parents or guardians. In addition, many children are placed in institutionalized care because their parents have abandoned them or because their parents (or guardians—grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, etc.) cannot financially afford to care for them. Poverty plays a significant role in many of these situations.
- Many children do not have any relatives other than siblings, and many children have lived the entirety of their lives in the care of governmental child welfare systems. Some of these children were submitted to the system as infants and have moved from one orphanage to another throughout their lives. Challenges with regard to attachment are common.
- Some children who live in orphanages do have a family member who have remote contact with them. Usually this is a parent, an aunt or uncle, older sibling, or grandparent who make contact from a distance. Depending on the situation, the children may visit with their relatives while living at the orphanages. It is important to know that some of the children with living adult relatives are not available for adoption, but host parents are welcome to inquire about availability.
- Life in institutionalized care is dramatically different from the “typical” American lifestyle. Many of the orphanages we work with have hundreds of children under their care. As a result, the children who live in these orphanages do not have people actively attending to their development such as many children experience in a healthy family system. Therefore, many of the children show signs of neglect and attachment disorder due to their life experience. Hosted children may have difficulty giving and receiving love.
- Common problems reported by host families include general disobedience, lack of interest in activities, withdrawn personality, anger issues and argumentative behavior, stealing, and other bad habits or coping skills. Orphaned children often lack social and hygiene skills due to a lack of direct personal instruction.
- While these issues are not a problem for every child, it is important for all host families to recognize the impoverished and under-educated background that orphaned children are raised in for the entirety of their lives. Do not expect the child[ren] to behave properly immediately upon instruction. Learning opportunities that healthy teens and adults will immediately understand are usually not quickly absorbed by these children. They are wounded children with little-to-no comprehension of a healthy family unit.
Frontier Horizon is not an adoption agency. Expectations are a powerful dynamic and carefully managed by Frontier Horizon. In an effort to protect children and families, Frontier Horizon staff specifically tells hosted children that they are NOT traveling to the United States to be adopted. While we do our best to prepare the children for their trip to be only an educational and cultural experience, it is nearly impossible to keep them from getting their hopes up. Host families are STRONGLY encouraged to refrain from using adoption related language even if they are intent upon pursuing such pathways. We understand and appreciate the delicate and difficult nature of navigating such situations. Should host families need help communicating accurate expectations with the child[ren] while they are in your care we are well versed in supporting you in these endeavors.
Adoption of hosted children is a wonderful pathway that many host families choose to pursue. Many hosted children are subsequently pursued for adoption. However, again, we discourage families from openly discussing adoption with hosted child[ren]. DO NOT make any promises to your hosted child[ren]. There is no such thing as a quick and/or easy adoption. The adoption process is a lengthy, and arduous process that is filled with uncertainty. Communicating love, care, and commitment is an important part of the hosting journey. Communicating care must be done in ways that do not lead children, well acquainted with disappointment, to one more blow to the fragility of their hope for a fruitful future. Please be respectful and mindful of this as you contemplate and speak of any future plans.
Availability: Frontier Horizon feels that it is important for all host families to know that there are a myriad of factors that impact the availability of hosted children for adoption. Each family, child, country and process is unique. The experience of one family may be radically different from that of another. A few factors regarding these issues are noted below.
- Available Now: The child is currently registered in the National Adoption Center and is immediately available for adoption.
- Available in the Future: The child’s paperwork is in the process of becoming available. In Ukraine, every child must be on the “registry” for 14 months and available for domestic adoption within Ukraine before becoming available for International adoption. Frontier Horizon staff is available to discuss with you the status of any specific child.
- Possibly Available: The child’s status is unknown at the moment. It could be that their legal guardian has never been asked whether that child may be put up for adoption, the legal guardian cannot be located, or the guardian is incarcerated. Oftentimes, the child[ren] in this circumstance can be made available for adoption once their guardian is located and is able to meet with the orphanage director or local social worker.
- Not Available: Children who are not available have families or relatives who have custody of them and who have informed us that they do not want the child[ren] to be adopted. These children are only available to be hosted.
- All children profiled within our Colombian program are available for adoption.
- Given the adoption status of Frontier Horizon Colombian children, preference for hosting is given to families strongly inclined toward adoption.
- Families not inclined toward adoption are encouraged to host Colombian children if they are committed to “advocating” for the adoption of the children among their friends, family and network.
- Hosting a Colombian child does NOT guarantee a successful adoption of the hosted child.
- Frontier Horizon’s Nicaraguan program is HOST ONLY. Children hosted from Nicaragua are NOT available for adoption.
- The Nicaraguan children hosted with Frontier Horizon have families, they are simply desperately poor. Thus the focus of hosting these children is on creating surrogate families of sorts. These relationships have the ability to profoundly impact the lives of the children hosted. Please consult with a Frontier Horizon staff member regarding the amazing opportunities that exist within this program.
- Hosting a Nicaraguan child is an especially good option for families not inclined toward adoption.
Note: Frontier Horizon’s mission is to bridge the gap between a vulnerable child and those in a position to help. “Helping” takes many forms and countless stories of creative measures to ensure such care can be told. Thus both kids available for traditionally understood adoption and those not available for such arrangements are served by Frontier Horizon.
Disrupted / Dissolved Adoptions: It is important for our host families to be aware that not all foreign adoptions work out as planned. Sometimes an adopted child causes such problems that the family finds it necessary to remove the child from their home. While this is very rare, it does happen. Although children in this situation cannot return to their country of origin, another US / Canadian family can adopt the child. Should you find yourself in such a situation and in need of help, there are organizations that can be contacted in order to help you handle this situation: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/s_disrup.pdf