As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
Two weeks from today is a very special day in the Strawser family and one that we’ve all been counting down to for the past several weeks and months. “What are we looking forward to?” you ask. We are looking forward to meeting our newest family member! We are getting an exchange student through ICES (International Student Exchange Programs). Thi will be joining us from Vietnam and our family is so excited to have some Vietnamese culture in our home! So, in just 14 days, our year with Thi will commence …
Our Year with Thi
There are so many thoughts and feelings rolling around in my mind (and heart). I know that he is feeling much the same as he prepares to leave his family and his homeland to spend the next school year in a strange place with a strange family (very strange, as the case may be!) But, I feel the need to share in case there is someone out there interested in the possibility of hosting an exchange student, but just to scared to bite the bullet and make a commitment. Hopefully, as our story plays out throughout the coming months, it will be an encouragement to others. So, here goes …
I’m praying that Thi has a safe and non-eventful journey to get here.
I’ve made the trip to Vietnam and back again twice now. It’s a LONG journey! The second time, it took me weeks to recover from the time change. Hopefully, he’s young enough to adapt quickly to the time difference!
I’m thankful for his parents who are entrusting us the opportunity to love and care for their child.
Even though my life has been touched by adoption and I’m blessed to have had 2 birth mothers who have chosen life for their children so that they may be a part of our family, I cannot imagine sending one of my children to live in a foreign country with people I didn’t know for a full school year! What an act of courage on their part, don’t you think?! Of course, they are hoping he will learn some responsibility here. I’m not sure ours is the right home for that, but we shall see!
I hope that it’s not too much “culture shock” for him.
He’s used to the BIG city; we live in a VERY SMALL town.
He’s used to hustle and bustle (and lots of noise). The most noise we get around here is the clomping by of Amish horse & buggies. Seriously.
There just really isn’t a whole lot to do in our little town.
He says he hopes we like him. The feeling is mutual!
I think he thought I was crazy when I told him we already do! We’ve been chatting over Facebook messenger for a while now and I feel like we are getting to know him and growing attached to him already. An adoptive mom, especially, has that ability to get attached to a child before she even meets him/her. I already feel like he is mine.
I hope we can introduce him to much of what the USA has to offer.
We are already planning a vacation to Florida for around Christmastime. I’m looking forward to showing him a different part of the country and, hopefully, introducing him to our beloved Walt Disney World (or some of the other Orlando-area theme parks we have grown to love as well).
Ian and I have a list of local places that we are hoping to visit on day trips as we can fit them in. I just want to do SO MUCH and I’m already thinking it will be hard to fit it all in in 10 months or so!
I pray that he makes lasting friendships.
I remember starting at a new school in 6th grade. I’m an introvert and that’s hard to do! He has already told us that he is shy in new situations. So, I pray the transition to a new school is an easy one for him and that the kids are friendly and welcoming to him. Hopefully, he will establish some friendships that will last him many, many years to come!
I’m looking forward to having some Vietnamese culture in our home.
Two of my children are adopted from Vietnam. I have always wanted to keep their culture alive. I’ve wanted to talk to them about the country of their birth. But, quite honestly, because I really have no personal experience with Vietnam (other than the 5 weeks I have spent there between 2 adoption trips), it’s a difficult task.
I want my kids to know about the Vietnamese people. I want them to enjoy Vietnamese food. And I want them to know things about their country that only someone with personal experience can share.
Thi can provide all these things (he even said he wishes to cook for us!)
I’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg here! I’m sure he has similar thoughts rolling around in his head of all the things that he is anxious about. I know, though, that God has chosen THIS boy to be a part of OUR family for a year. I don’t know why, but I know that, as this year plays out, we will find out the whys.
I hope you’ll enjoy following us on this journey!