My YFU “Son” Is The Best Because…

My YFU family is the best because…

There’s a saying that goes: “We don’t get to choose our families…” this is only partially true.

I remember perusing the new student profiles and seeing Stenly’s.  I instantly knew he would be a great fit for us.  Sure enough, he got here, and he won us over immediately.  Everything was so exciting for him, from the size of the highways to the Dallas skyline, to his creating his first fajita. Every experience was taken in with a freshness that made me smile to see his reactions.

Since we don’t have any natural children, I didn’t think I’d ever be a ‘dad.’  I still remember the day (via text messages of course) when he asked if he could call me Dad.  I immediately texted back a resounding “Yes!! Of course.”  This left us with another question: what to call his other dad?  I suggested ‘Papa’, but I typed it phonetically and Stenly read it as Pupa.  So ‘other dad’ lovingly became known as Pupa.  Since that time, not a day has passed when we don’t hear the word Dad or Pupa followed by some comment or question, and we still get excited every time we hear it.

As the time draws nearer to send him back, each day becomes a trial that tests my ability to not tear up.  No matter what country he’s in we’ll always be a family.

Thank you, Stenly for being our son and for letting us be your parents.  This is why our exchange stu…no, our *son* is the best.

He was the best ‘choice’ we ever made.

With Love,

Dad and Pupa

—- Erik is a host dad from Dallas, TX

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About Youth For Understanding USA

Youth For Understanding (YFU) advances intercultural understanding, mutual respect, and social responsibility through educational exchanges for youth, families and communities. The global YFU network, consisting of partners in more than 60 different countries, is united by the belief that full cultural immersion is the most effective means to gain the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly multicultural, interconnected and competitive global society. YFU has remained a trusted leader of intercultural exchange programs for more than 60 years because of its commitment to safety, reputation for quality, and exceptional support services. Backed by a global team of volunteers, YFU provides cultural education and guidance to all participants. Selected to administer more government and corporate scholarships than any other high school exchange program, YFU is the only organization awarded full-listing for J-1 inbound, outbound and short term exchange by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET). Through creating global learning opportunities, YFU has promoted international understanding and world peace to more than 250,000 students and their host families. Thousands of parents across the globe trust YFU with their teenagers every year, and thousands of students every year choose YFU to help them discover their inner selves.
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