Unexpected Blessings: Discovering Family Through Hosting

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I had been a foster parent for some time, but when my last kiddos went home, I knew I needed a break from fostering. I still wanted to be a resource for kids in the system, but what else could I do?  

I was searching for ideas and stumbled across a post in a single foster parent Facebook group about a little girl from Colombia being hosted for the summer and looking for a single mom to adopt her. My curiosity took hold and I dug into learning about Colombia and P143’s summer hosting program. I was intrigued, but also a little nervous. I had never fostered teens before and I didn’t speak Spanish. Could I do this? Turns out I could!

I attended an info session and learned more about the program, peppering them with my questions about hosting options as a single parent and how I was supposed to survive without Spanish. Everyone was incredibly kind and helpful and I decided to just give it a try. It was 5 weeks with a start and stop date, plenty of info about the available kids in advance, and a support system of previous host families and coaches.

Once I made the decision to host, I dove into learning enough Spanish to make sure whatever child or children were in my home could at least tell me if they were hungry, tired, or in desperate need of a bathroom break. While I gave myself a crash course in Spanish, I also read through the profiles of the kids as they popped up and waited for the one that might need a home exactly like mine, and suddenly, there she was.

I was matched with a sweet, smart, wonderful 14 year old girl with a love of music and singing. We were both introverts who loved shopping and painting our nails. She wanted a host home with a mom only and I could absolutely provide that. I filled out the paperwork, completed the training, and we were officially set to spend the summer together.

So how did it go? When I tell you I had the absolute best time, that is still an understatement. I got to spend my summer watching this wonderful girl try so many new things for the first time. She learned to swim, jumped on her first trampoline, tried kneeboarding and tubing, and had her very first snow cone. She taught me about Colombian food and making friendship bracelets and tried to fix my embarrassingly bad Spanish pronunciation. The five weeks flew by and I cried like a baby when I left her at the airport to head back home.

I went into this with the mindset of just trying something new and am now working through the process of adopting my sweet girl and bringing her home. I can’t wait to give her a giant hug when I finally see her again, and I am so incredibly grateful to P143 and Colombia for the hosting program that has absolutely changed my life for the better.

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Natalie Mai


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