written by: Mrs. Kimberly Marquez, Host Family from Puerto Princesa

I remembered when I was little, I prayed for a younger sister or brother. I never imagined that it would one day happen through AFS.

A friend from work encouraged me to host a foreign student but I was hesitant because my family might not fulfill the responsibilities.  But through interesting stories and convincing words, my family agreed and lovingly welcomed Sofiia in our home.

Having Sofiia in our family taught us meaningful lessons. We learned that love could go beyond borders and that caring sincerely wasn’t only for people of our own flesh and blood, but also for ‘strangers turned into family’, like Sofiia.

Many might relate with us if we will say that adjustments were there during the first few months. Thankfully, love prevailed over these situations and that is why it became easier and bearable. We saw how our differences could be knitted beautifully into a wonderful tapestry of shared lives. Through this, we say that this experience was worth the try, time, and investment.

Soon, our youngest sister would go home. She may not be with us physically, but we know in our hearts that she will forever be a family.