Arrivals. I was somewhere in that nervous and excited zone.
Then, the kids came out. A host dad and I were in the process of trying to figure out where to stand when my mom said my name and when I turned around, there she was. Gorgeous, taller than I imagined. She’s nearly my height. She hugged me and kissed me on the cheek.
Pretty much take back everything I’ve learned about hosting and pre-teens. Except for the awkward silence that comes along with not having a common language between you.
They tell you to expect that your host child is the size of and behaves 2-3 years younger than their real age. Big L seems 2-3 years OLDER than her real age to me.
Reed and Lena have been great with her and getting her to smile and laugh. She has been exceptionally helpful and good. Washing hands, brushing teeth, helping the younger kids put their toys away. I keep reminding myself that as mature as she acts and looks, there’s a little girl underneath that who is nervous and scared. She’s younger than she seems.
We were able to transition into bedtime pretty smoothly. She watched me tuck each kid into bed, then it was her turn. I gave her a hug and we opened up the first of her links. L is brave. And, she smiled big. Brave to cross the ocean, brave to go home with an unfamiliar family. Brave to open herself up to this.