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Moments to Remember

Our 21st hosting season is now underway and already memories are being made! Even though it’s only been a few days choosing a favorite memory proved challenging for many of our host families, luckily they managed to narrow it down to just one they’d like to share.

The Stonick family in California shares…”Nastya is a joy. I have had so many favorite moments today, it’s hard to know where to start. My favorite moment was when our entire family climbed up on her top bunk at bedtime and we all snuggled together to look at a “seek and find” book. She had kept some space between she and I all day, but at that point she was nearly curled up in my lap. She was even busting out some good English words. I don’t have a picture of that because we were all up there, but below is a picture of her with my kiddos who adore her!”

Nastya (middle) with her host siblings.

“No one has ever shown me family, spent money on me, or loved me”  Igor age 14 shared with his host family the Steendahl’s in Illinois.  Favorite moment – just one?  It had to be when we first met.  He said “hello” (which we expected, they seem to all know how to say that when they arrive.)  But then he spit out “where are my brothers?”  We about fell over in shock.  We had no idea he spoke English and I knew immediately that he was going to fit right in.  Calling my boys (who were at home and he had never even met) his brothers from sentence one – he had my heart with the first words out of his mouth.

Igor with his host sister.

The Cayanne family in New York is hosting Edgars from Latvia. His host mom shares “When Edgars had just come through the gate at the airport the warmth between us was immediate. Right after the hugs and hellos, he seemed a little uneasy I handed him a letter that our sweet friend, Inga, had translated for us and the relief was instant…he just wanted to know what to expect! As he read it, Edgars stood very close to me…I thought it might have been an accident so I moved back a bit. Instantly he was right next to me again with his head almost touching my shoulder, just reading the words I had written to him. I was blown away by his willingness to jump right in and become a part of our family. One of my favorite moments so far was the look of pride on Edgars’ face when HE was the one to chop our Christmas tree down with a rickety dull tree-farm saw!”

A very proud Edgars at the Christmas tree farm!

The Kramer family in Georgia is hosting Miranda. Her host mom shares…”my favorite moment so far was Miranda running with my girls back to the parking garage after The Nutcracker – putting her arms around all of  them to try and keep them warm {the wind was blowing around 30 mph} and laughing  hysterically the whole time.”

Miranda and her host sisters.

The Ringman family in Colorado shares… “Iryna  is from Ukraine. Here is a picture of her sledding in our little bit of snow. I love this picture because she’s smiling and having fun like one of my very own kids. She smiles easily and is very polite and has wonderful table manners. She doesn’t know very much English but we are relying on hand gestures and Google Translator. We’ve had some good moments all ready and she is getting along well with everyone. Love her! Love the program.”

Iryna smiling and sledding.

The Prince family in Alabama shares… “It is so difficult to choose my favorite moment. There have been so many. Renate is such a precious girl and it has been such a joy to watch her experience new things. It is so amazing to see her eyes light up over simple things like having ice in her drink. She had a taco for the first time today and loved it!  If I had to choose just one moment, I would say it was tonight watching her playing with my girls. They were just being silly girls while they baked and decorated cookies. The giggling was the sweetest sound!”

Renate (middle) and her host sisters.

The Graham family in Ohio shares…”Markus has fit into our family so wonderfully since day one!  This particular moment is one of my favorites, as he has a special affection for our littlest and she for him.  He is so kind and loving and gentle with her.  In this moment, we were all working in the living room, setting up the Christmas tree.  I look over and he had climbed himself into the playpen with Sarah, our 1 year-old.  He must have stayed in there with her for 30 minutes, playing with her, tickling her, hugging her…it really was an amazing thing to see such tenderness in this 12 year-old boy who had only met us two days prior.  We absolutely adore Markus and couldn’t be more blessed that God has chosen him to be hosted by our family!”

Markus is such a gentle and loving big brother!

Eight year old Viktorija is being hosted in California by the Izzo family. Her host mom says “My favorite moment was not captured with a camera.  She was sitting on the couch with me and my husband one evening and she was doodling on a sketch pad, and she wrote in English “I love you mama papa!”  Our hearts melted. Since I couldn’t capture that moment on film here is a photo of Vika and Dan, she loved this play park last summer and this of course is here favorite part.  She loves that papa will get her spinning fast.”

Viktorija having a blast at the park!

The Brown family in Tennessee shares their favorite memory with Nataliya. “Her smile overwhelms my heart with joy! She loves science experiments and spending time with her made this a special moment for us all. Today I felt like I was the one receiving the blessings from this experience. She has such a precious, sweet and gentle spirit.”

Our future scientist Nataliya.

The Gardner family in Georgia is hosting 5 year old Gunars. His host mom said “Gunars found these blue goggles and wouldn’t take them off. He keeps us on our toes, but he is such a sweetie.”

Gunars sportin’ his blue googles!

The Lowther family in Colorado is hosting Martins. His host mom shares “One of my favorite moments with my biological children is when they first started calling me “mama”. The same has been true for a 15 year old speaking in a different language!”

Martins arrives in Colorado.

The Sicking family in Texas is hosting 6 year old Sasha. His host mom shares “This was the night he got here from airport. He was so excited about his new Thomas pajamas. Him and my son go to bed in their matching jammies, holding hands and on their matching pillow pets.”

Sasha (right) and his host brother in their matching Thomas jammies.

The Becker family in California is hosting siblings Nataliya and Vitaliy. Their host mom shares, “My biological kids and host kids were having trouble bonding for most of our first day together. Until… some soccer and basketball started happening outside for the boys and some bracelet making, reading English easy readers and practicing Ukrainian happened inside for the girls. I knew some bonding was officially in effect when they all snuggled up together for this pic.”

Nataliya bonding with her host sisters.

The Dawson family in Kentucky is hosting siblings Justine age 9 and Kristaps age 8 from Latvia. Their host mom shares “We took the children to Gatti Town for Pizza and games.  They were very unsure of it all at first, but it didn’t take them long to jump right in with the rest of my children!  The bumper cars were a huge hit!  It was the first time we heard REAL LAUGHS! It was the huge ice breaker we all needed to blend us as a family.”

Justine and Kristaps enjoying some family fun!

The Dack family in Wisconsin is hosting Hanna from Ukraine. Her host mom says “Is it cheesy to say that the picture below represents our favorite moment? From the moment we met her, she has been the most incredible addition to our family. That moment right here, changed our lives. There have been other great moments since then, such as working with her on her English and cuddling on the couch in the morning with her and my son right when we all get up. I don’t have pictures of either of those, but they are both special times when I get to see Hanna’s heart and her need for affection. It’s also a time when I get to hear her sweet voice (she’s not real talkative otherwise).”

Hanna meets her host parents for the first time!

The Brandt family in Indiana is hosting siblings Ervins & Ligija from Latvia. Their host mom’s favorite memory so far was “Watching Ervins and Ligija put on a concert on their first full day here.”

Future rock stars Ervins and Ligija!

All those sweet memories in just the first few days…there will be many more to come! It’s not too early to start thinking about hosting a child this summer! For more information click on the “contact us” tab on our website and contact your regional coordinator!











Dr. Sherri McClurg

Dr. Sherri McClurg serves as the CEO and oversees operations. Sherri has a doctorate in clinical psychology and worked for many years with youth who have experienced trauma. She has a private practice and also serves with Maxwell Leadership on the President’s Advisory Council.

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