April 07, 2008

Temporary Addition to the Family

Garland and I are very excited to announce that we will be getting a temporary addition to the family this summer! In February, we decided that we needed something to help pass the time and also wanted to learn more about other cultures. We decided to sign up to host a foreign exchange student. We know another family, through our adoption process, that has had a foreign exchange student this past year, so I contacted them. I was happy to find out that Shannon had actually become a rep for International Student Exchange and that she could be our rep if we decided to move forward. Shannon sent us a link that listed the available students and the application to fill out. We were really interested in a young girl from Thailand. I e-mailed Shannon and told her we would like to have the student assigned to us and that got the ball rolling. After a bit of paperwork and waiting for Olympia High School to give their approval (to allowing a foreign student there), it is finally official!

We met with the principal at Oly today and got the final approval, so now the agency will send her our file. Our student's first name is Dolrutai, but her nickname is Apple. She is 16 years old and enjoys swimming and loves dogs. She would like to learn more about America and wants to teach her host family about Thai culture. We should be hearing from her in the next few weeks via e-mail. We want to get to know her a little over the internet so that she will be more comfortable when she arrives. Apple should be here a week or so before school starts for the 08-09 school year and will be here the whole school year.

Garland and I have been searching for a twin bed to put in Apple's room. I have been watching craigslist faithfully and this past week finally found one for $75! The mattress and box springs are in excellent condition. The headboard, footboard, and frame are a little old, but my in-laws are going to paint it white to make it look new. We also had an old dresser that was Garland's grandma's that they are also painting white. We are waiting to do any decorating to the room, picking out bedding, or anything like that until we start talking to Apple and find out what colors, styles, etc that she likes. We want her to feel comfortable and at home while she is here.

In our meeting with the principal today, I asked about having a student assigned to be a mentor to Apple. The principal was very nice and said he would talk to some members on the student council and get me their e-mail addresses so that she could also talk to them. He even said he would like to converse with her as well. We are very happy to have the principal's support and think being a new student at Olympia will be much easier for her if she is familiar with a few people prior to her first day.

As soon as we get our first e-mail from Apple, I will post a little more about her. I will also post a picture of her, but I want her permission first.


Anonymous said...

Hi. I saw you on the CHSFS forum. I am 6 months waiting with CHSFS. Anyway, I will have an exchange student living with me, as well. He is from Finland. Here is the cool part - he is the son of the girl who was my "host sister" 25 years ago when I lived in Finland. Yeah for you for joining the community of students and their families!

Jeff and Amy said...

Julie, that is so awesome!!!!! I hope one day when my boys are out on their own we will do that. Didn't think a 17 and 19 yr old boys would be good to have around a female exchange student.