Rosalie and Richard Hedin, of Vancouver, WA, have no natural children, but they’ve been “parents” to children from across the globe through the Cultural Homestay International (CHI) program.
The Hedins began hosting foreign students in their home in 2004. Their first “son” was a young man from Mexico who stayed with them and attended the local high school through a student exchange program with CHI. Since then, they’ve hosted another 10 students and maintain relationships with each one and their families.
This year the Hedins are hosting the younger sister of that first student “son” from Mexico. Claudia attends Fort Vancouver High School and has already adopted a younger “brother” Rudolf, another exchange student from Slovakia.
When she arrived in the United States, Claudia told Rosalie and Richard that her little sister would also be staying with them on her exchange trip.
Rosalie and Richard are excited to be able to open their home to the third sibling from Claudia’s family!
To make the kids feel more at home, the Hedin’s learn a few basic words in the student’s native language and also ask them to bring recipes to share while they’re here.
Rosalie, who’s from the Philippines, says she and Richard love learning about other cultures through the interactions they have with their foreign “kids.” Rosalie also makes sure all her kids – past and present – make a connection with their Hedin “siblings” around the world so they can learn about each other’s cultures as well.
The Hedins say that by opening their home to high school students from around the world, they’ve discovered that blessings abound when you’re ready to accept a challenge and make a difference.
Would your family like to host a teen from another country? Students from Asia, Europe and South America are coming to the northwest this summer and fall. Host homes and families are needed for short stays – two to three weeks this summer, or longer stays for the upcoming high school year.
To find out how you can reap the benefits of hosting someone from another culture, call Cultural Homestay International toll-free at 1-866-408-3097, or go to www.chinet.org.
Area Administrator – Taunie Murray