My Host Child is Stealing My Son’s Girlfriend

My older son, Joey, is 19, a soon-to-be sophomore studying food science at the University of Missouri, and about to lose his girlfriend to a 4-year-old boy from Africa. Divinity is a great young woman. She and Joey have been together since October 2019. And D thinks she’s his. It started out innocently enough. DivContinue reading “My Host Child is Stealing My Son’s Girlfriend”

Wait. He’s Going Home … in July?

D loves airplanes. “Avion! Avion!” he screams whenever he sees, hears or thinks he sees or hears one. His favorite toys are airplanes. He asks me to put videos of airplanes from YouTube on the TV. He talks constantly about airplanes. To the best of our knowledge, he’s taken exactly one airplane trip in hisContinue reading “Wait. He’s Going Home … in July?”

The Truth Beyond ‘All You Need to Do Is Buy Food’

To be sure: We did not go into this whole host-parenting thing blind. To be equally sure: There is a big difference between having sight and 20/20 vision. When I researched and wrote the article “Rewriting Their Stories,” I literally took notes on what being a host parent was like from someone who was activelyContinue reading “The Truth Beyond ‘All You Need to Do Is Buy Food’”

What Exactly Is This Kid’s Name?

Dieudonne’ is French for “Gift from God,” and he is. That doesn’t mean, though, that deciphering how to actually say his name is something God made easy for this native English-speaker whose foreign language acumen amounts to a decent grasp of Spanish and just enough Italian to help me get through an amazing vacation withoutContinue reading “What Exactly Is This Kid’s Name?”

My Pickiest Eater (And Why I’m Better Than Bono)

The worst line in the history of music, I contend, comes from the 1984 Band Aid song “Do They Know It’s Christmas Time?” that road the coattails of “We Are The World” to shine a do-good spotlight on African famine. Now, before we continue, let’s answer the song’s question: No, the majority of Africans don’tContinue reading “My Pickiest Eater (And Why I’m Better Than Bono)”

Into This Crazy Life, We Bring an African Child

Dieudonne became a part of our household amidst chaos, grief and weariness. Objectively speaking, it wasn’t a good time for us to welcome a 4-year-old with medical issues who didn’t speak a word of English. Of course, waiting for a “good time” to tackle that challenge is much like saying, “We’ll have kids when we’reContinue reading “Into This Crazy Life, We Bring an African Child”

Good Storytellers are Changed by Their Stories

Early this morning, as snow fell softly in the pre-dawn darkness outside and my family slept upstairs, I had a 45-minute conversation with a little boy who couldn’t understand a word I said and who said about only two words I was able to pick up — one of which led me to give himContinue reading “Good Storytellers are Changed by Their Stories”