Many of our host families look for a student from a country where their ancestors came from, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that; they feel a strong connection with their new son or daughter due to familiarity with their culture and simply knowing that the blood ties to that particular country are prevalent. Sometimes, however, the reason for hosting a child from a certain country can be meaningful in a different way. Ray and Renita Williamson from Wisconsin are hosting Jaeuk, a boy from South Korea. They wouldn’t really consider a student from any other country because 30 years ago, this childless couple explored adopting an infant, and before they knew it, they were welcoming their South Korean baby boy, Brandon, at the airport and bringing him home to raise.
Brandon is now an adult who still lives near Mom and Dad. He’s married with two children of his own. The Williamsons had never thought of hosting a student until their coordinator asked them if they’d like to see a very special South Korean boy’s profile and letter to the family. The letter moved them to consider taking Jaeuk into their home this year, and they haven’t looked back. Jaeuk instantly became their son, and the thought of sending him back home in June almost brings Renita to tears. She still recalls the first time she got to talk to Jaeuk before he came to the U.S. She was beyond excited, and Jaeuk was ecstatic to hear that she and Ray already had a Korean son.
Brandon has been able to ask Jaeuk all about his home country, and the family wants to visit Jaeuk in South Korea in the future. This placement has been joyous in many ways–it’s not only given the Williamsons a new son, but it’s also helped their older son establish a deeper connection to the Korean culture and the country where he was born!