Sunday, October 2, 2011

Wearing Out Our Welcome!

I called home today to check in with Mike and see how things were going at home and my blood literally ran cold when he said, “Susan, I have some news”.  I really didn’t think I could take a whole lot more.  So I steeled myself and said, “Ok, what’s the news?” and he said, “Kristin moved out this afternoon.”

I’m not sure of the whole story, but Kristin has been staying with her liaison and it seems they jelled as a family together.  They are also hosting a student from Italy this year and the girls got along great, and so it was decided to make a go of it with both girls living together.  April brought Kristin by the house today and picked up the rest of her things and she has moved!

I am happy for her finding her new family and I think they will be a good match for her.  I hope she’s going to be very happy there.  I’m sorry I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to her and I haven’t heard from her since she left for school Wednesday morning, but hopefully I’ll get to see her in the coming months, as I am the Italian girl’s liaison and perhaps will be Kristin’s liaison as well. 

With that, we end our stint as a welcome family.  I am very proud of what we accomplished.  Our goal was to allow a kid to get to the US and start their exchange program, and we did that.  We never intended to host for a full year and while we were willing to do so upon meeting Kristin, there is a sense of relief that we won’t have to, mainly because after this latest blow, I am totally and completely mentally and emotionally worn out.  I learned a lot from Kristin in just a couple of short months, and I really am grateful for the experience of hosting her. 

I am looking forward to getting home in a week or two and getting back to our old routine, which we were just getting used to when I decided to be a welcome family!  This is the last picture I took of Kristin at our house—she and Leah were finally getting to be pals! 

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Good luck, Kristin, we really hope you have a fantastic year!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Update

This has been a really rough two months, and Kristin has been such a trooper to stick with everything while our house seemingly fell apart.

This week was supposed to be our first road trip together.  We were heading up to NY for my dad’s 60th birthday, but Monday we got the call that my mom’s fiancĂ© was on life support in the hospital.

“Papa Jim” has been a part of our lives for many years, and we love him so much.  So to hear that he had suffered a massive heart attack and wasn’t likely to survive was devastating.  His condition deteriorated, and my father called and demanded that I come to Florida instead to be with my mom.

This necessitated an emergency call to AFS, as we knew that Mike would not be able to care for Kristin adequately in my absence, primarily due to the fact that there would be no transportation available and the fact that he’s out of the house for work at 5AM and doesn’t get home till after 6PM. 

Our liaison was great, and got back in touch with us immediately.  By Tuesday night, we had a plan formulated, and I was able to leave Wednesday morning to start driving to Florida.  It was a long, long drive, and at about 1pm, we got word that Papa Jim had passed away.  We got word at dinner time that Kristin had been picked up and was now staying at our liaison’s house.

We didn’t get to my mom’s house until almost midnight.  Things have been chaos here.  Four adults and three toddlers packed into a two bedroom home with friends and neighbors stopping in at all hours to drop off food, express their condolences, and give hugs and support, as well as a phone ringing non-stop, and my dad’s 60th birthday coming and going, as well as all the details we are trying to get worked out from the logistics of Papa Jim passing, not to mention my school work for my class, it’s been a nightmare.

But we are so grateful to everyone who has been supportive and helped us in so many ways. 

So things with Kristin are pretty up in the air right now.  On top of the stress from the house and school, adding in the death of a loved one and the grieving process seems like in many ways more than I can bear, and more than she should have to bear with our family.  We are so lucky to have had a kid who didn’t add any stress to our family during any of this, who has not expressed any resentment over missed trips and lost vacations and stressed out parents and a crazy toddler.  If anyone in the Stafford High School catchment area wants an awesome kid to host, this would be the kid.

Mike is trucking along at home—friends and neighbors have generously given him rides, taken him shopping, and so forth.  Kristin is, I hope, happy at her liaison’s and doing fine with the new family and schedule.  I will probably be here with my mom for the better part of the next 2 weeks and then we’ll head home and see what’s what. 

This has been the most stressful two months of my life, and I won’t be sorry to say goodbye to 2011!!  I hope Kristin isn’t permanently scarred for life. Smile