We are thrilled to be announcing our Runner-Ups of the 2022 Apex Social Host Family of the Year Award.
We'd like to thank the Acosta Family, as the Runner-Up for the Apex Social Host Family of the Year Award.
The Acosta Family, who lives in San Diego, CA, was nominated for the award by their Care Professional Katharina Schumacher with these loving words:
My US journey started off rocky. I went into rematch after a very short time. Looking back now it was the best decision I could have made because I ended up finding the perfect host family for me. I moved from the east coast to the west coast just about a month after arriving in the US. This is where my year really started. I got the warmest welcome and my host family had worked really hard on getting my room set up which turned out amazing. I was part of the family from the second they picked me up from the airport and I felt finally at home. During the first couple of weeks we got to know each other better and I got to learn all about the daily routines, appointments and my role in all of it.
The support and trust that they showed me helped me immensely in regaining my confidence and I settled in quicker than I would have thought possible. After the first month I already knew that I wanted to extent my stay with my host family from one to two years. Our daily life might be a lot of things but boring isn’t one of them. I guess the best way to describe it is to say: Always expect the unexpected. My host child is four years old and always has at least enough energy for five kids. He very dutifully makes sure everyone gets their daily workout done and his creativity knows no limits when it comes to cheekiness. He keeps us busy but in a good way. Of course we have hard moments, too but we get through them together and his smiles and giggles will make you forget everything else. He also gives out the best snuggles and will sometimes tackle you down for a surprise hug. He might not tell us his feelings verbally yet but he definitely shows us everyday. Our days can be chaotic, full of ups and downs and big emotions but the things that are always present throughout our life as a family are love, support and caring for each other.
In November last year I had a big health scare. I had a collapsed lung and my trip to the urgent care ended with an ambulance ride to the emergency room and a five day stay in the hospital after an emergency procedure. Of course it happened during the time that my host dad was visiting family in Ecuador and it was only my host mum (working full time), my host child and me at home. When it became clear that I had to be taken to the emergency room my host mum immediately called her mother who luckily lives only an hour away and drove down to stay with my host child so my host mum could be with me in the ER. I was very scared when the doctor explained the procedure they had to do and it was very painful but at least I wasn’t alone. The next day my amazing host mum sat in my hospital room for about 6h just to make sure I wasn’t alone and that I got at least a bit of sleep. She went above and beyond always checking on me even after visiting hours over the phone and also calling my doctors to ask all the important questions which was something I wasn’t quite able to at that time. It was an incredibly hard time for me but even in the midst of it all I never felt alone and always felt cared for. I don’t think I could have done it without her. The whole family stepped up during that time to make sure that I was getting better and that I got the recovery time I needed. Luckily I recovered really well and when Christmas time came around I was already fully healed. I got the incredible opportunity to join my host family (including extended family) on their Christmas vacation to Yosemite National Park. The scenery was stunning and I don’t remember the last time I have seen that much snow but the thing that stuck with me the most was how the whole family included me in their Christmas celebration. It felt like I had always been part of the family even though I had only meet all of them in the last couple of months.
I have had so many amazing opportunities so far. I get to experience a lot of therapies and I learn new things every day. I also feel very lucky to be able to travel and explore new places and my host family always helps with the planning and it has made my trips so much better. Above all I’m thankful for the immense love and support that I get to experience every day. I have found my home away from home and definitely my host family of the year!
Thank you to the Acosta Family for providing a wonderful home to the speech therapist Katharina and for being there for her during a difficult time.
We'd also like to thank our winner of the Host Family of the Year 2022, the Maha Family, as well as the runner up for the award, the Brown Family.