One of our greatest misgivings about hosting for Together for Good was how it would affect our children. Would they be negatively influenced? Would they somehow be hurt? Would they feel resentful that attention was on other kids? Our discovery is what other host families can likely affirm: children are natural hosts. When we picked up M (age 1.5) for our third respite weekend with him he was screaming in the car seat. Suddenly, I heard the quiet, calm voice of my 2-year-old daughter say “It’s okay, M, you’re going to be okay. You’re safe. It’s okay.” Eventually, the crying stopped. I asked my daughter what she had done and she said, “Mommy, I’m holding his hand and he feels better.” Her actions and words were exactly what he needed.
My kids love these “strangers” in a way no one else can. At ages 4 & 2, they pray for the children we host, ask what their parents’ names are, and include the parents in their nighttime prayers. They ask when we’ll see the kids again and encourage me to say “yes” to a hosting, even if I’m hesitating when I look at the calendar. When we walked into the house that we would eventually buy, we were thinking through who would sleep in each bedroom and the kids both said, “This one is going to be M’s room.” M had a room designated in our house and more importantly, has a place in all of our hearts.