I left Kiwi at the church because after the meeting they were having a party for the exchange students... including pizza, board games, snacks and dancing. Kiwi called me half way thru and asked if I could drive a friend of hers home. I said sure... When I picked them up there was empty pizza boxes, tired looking teens, loud music and chaperones that looked ready to go home. Kiwi and her friend, Xed said good bye to their friends and headed for their coats.
In the car, Xed said that this was the best day she has had in the US so far. I asked her how long she had been here. She said she arrived here in August. I was shocked.... I asked Kiwi if it was her best day too and she said no, that she had had many happy days. As I drove, Xed explained that her host parents were both in their 60's and had no children in the home. She said that she had been disappointed by the parents often because they do not come to things they say they will (such as her recent award banquet) and they are always late. She has not gone to anything besides school and the mall since she arrived. When we pulled into the driveway, Kiwi commented that the house was very large, Xed's only comment was that the house was so messy she would not let friends in. Xed was very polite as she got out of the car, thanking me and telling Kiwi how happy she was that they both went.
I feel very sad for Xed. She has come here all the way from Russia and it does not sound like she is having a good experience. Kiwi said that she is not allowed to use the family computer very often to speak to her parents and is not feeling very comfortable in the host house. I am so hopeful that Kiwi can say that we always made her feel like a member of the family and she has a better understanding of what an American family is because of her stay with us. We are not perfect but we do love her and we try to treat her like all of our other children. I talked to Kiwi on our way home about the situation. I told her that if she wanted to include Xed in more activities our family does to just let us know. We already have 5 kids.... what's one more?!!