Host families needed for Russian orphans

Meetings planned1-4 p.m., Jan. 26St. Mary’s Services717 W. Kirchhoff Road, Arlington Heights1-4 p.m., Jan. 27

International Community Church200 Elsner Road, Frankfort

Families interested in adopting children from Russia may be able to host the children for five weeks this summer. Bridge of Hope for Russian Children (BOHRC) will hold informational meetings about hosting children between the ages of 5 and 12.

Host families pay about half the cost of bringing the child to Chicago, generally about ,000, as well as the cost of a summer camp program for the child, according to Michaelyn Sloan, international adoption coordinator at St. Mary’s Services in Arlington Heights, which partners with BOHRC.

If host families decide to move forward with the adoption process, local agencies help with the process, which includes an interview and a home study. The adoption process time frame varies, but is generally completed within a year of hosting a child or children. (Siblings are also available for adoption.) About 95 to 98 percent of children are adopted after spending the summer with host families, Sloan says. Families who are not able to host a child but are still interested in adopting can meet the children during events while the children are in Chicago.

The children don’t speak English, but generally learn the language quickly and host families are taught basic Russian during an all-day training program prior to the children’s arrival, Sloan says.

Although older children can take longer to adapt to new families than an infant, most of the Russian children do well with their new families."We’re working with orphanages where the kids who are chosen are the ones they feel will adapt well,” Sloan says.

There is no fee for attending the informational meetings, but registration is required by calling (800) 252-4152 or via e-mail at msloan@stmaryservices.com.

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