I Found Love: Stories from Host Children

11194770_10153748711787656_1930340443_oThe days are dwindling for summer matching, and 160 children are still waiting to be chosen by a summer host family.

Chosen. It’s a word we hear often, but do we really understand what it means? Several children who have been hosted through New Horizons stepped up and agreed to share what it really means to be chosen.

Being chosen helps kids heal

“I waited four hosting periods [for a family],” said M, a 14-year-old boy who was first hosted in 2013. “When I found out I had been chosen, I was really happy to come to America. I was a really angry person when I left [my country], but I left it in America when I traveled back to [my country]. I felt loved and that someone really cared about me.”

Being chosen helps kids have hope for the future

“Before I was hosted, I thought my future was going to be bad. I thought I could not get a job or go to college. I planned to do whatever I had to do to get money. During hosting, I saw how my host family worked and knew I could do that, too. I knew I wanted to try to get out of [my country] for something better. I would try harder in school so I could get out. [After hosting] I knew my life could be better,” said Y, a 14-year-old girl who was first hosted in 2014.

Being chosen helps kids accept and receive love

“My heart opened up to people. I became more confident in myself,” said R, an 18-year-old young lady who was hosted by an NHFC family for the first time in 2010. “I learned a lot about love and care. I felt needed and important. After hosting my world opened up, and I could see things in a different way from what they were before. My hosting experience left a piece of happiness in my heart which has never left me. I still remember those days!”

Being chosen helps kids understand what family looks like

“There are lots of of orphans all around the world and lots that need a home and a family — a good family, not a bad one which I happened to be in before, “ said S, an 11-year-old girl who was hosted for the first time with her younger brother and sister.

Her 10-year-old sister chimed in and agreed, “It changed my life because I got to live with a family.”

The youngest of the trio, 7-year-old L, said he now knows a little better what to expect of being in a family: “And the mom will give kisses to them.”

Being chosen helps kids feel valuable

“I always had a low self-esteem about myself and thought no one could ever love me and choose me! I also had my hopes lost because I was a teenager, and I always thought that everyone just wants a little kid and no one will want me [because] I was too old to love. The news that someone wants me just changed the whole perspective about myself and gave me the feeling that I’m not forgotten,” said R, an 18-year-old young lady.

Being chosen helps kids make better decisions

“Hosting helps the kids who do bad things try to do better in school and in life. The kids will get to have experiences that they will not get in [my country]. When I went back to [my country] I was so happy that my host family would call me and send me messages. I always checked the computer to see if I had a message. At night I cried because I missed my family so much and I loved them, but I knew they loved me too so it was OK. I really wanted them to host me again!” said 14-year-old Y.

Being chosen changes life trajectories

When we asked M, a 14-year-old boy, what he would tell potential host families about the importance of hosting, he shared his heart openly.

“You are saving their life. My host family and now my forever family saved my life. Every child in [my country] should have the chance to be loved. I found love, and I hope other people can give children a chance.”

Being chosen changes hearts and changes lives forever

“I am staying in touch with my host families just because they have given me and shown me the first taste of the experience being hosted,” said R, an 18-year-old young lady. “I met one of my host families two summers ago and had an amazing time together. We still plan to meet each other [again] one day soon! I thanked my host families for the opportunity they have given me and for making my world brighter. They gave me the taste of love and care I needed, and they have changed my life in a way. They have really made an impact in my life, and I want them to know that it wasn’t just a waste of time; it really made a change, and they have a place in my heart.”

Your turn: Choose to change a child’s life

The days are dwindling for summer matching, and 160 children are still waiting to be chosen by a summer host family. To have a coordinator call you or see the waiting children please click here.

Interviewed and compiled by Hyacynth Worth