The LaCroix household has always bustled with intergenerational activity! 3 daughters + 1 son + mom and dad + grandma = one full house! Robert, the youngest, always wanted a brother. And when his sisters went away to college, he got one!
“Robert always wanted a brother but never had one,” shares host mom Sara. “He is three years younger than his closest sister, and when she went off to college, we thought we would give him the brother he always wanted! I met a woman at Best Buy and she was peaking in German to a young man who was with her. We started up a conversation and I found out she was a host parent for iE.
We went through the application process and then picked out our son, Osasu from Finland. Robert and Osasu immediately bonded and became very good friends, like brothers.“
Osasu was in for a treat as well, since the LaCroix family had every intention of making his experience memorable! They visited 12 states during his 10 month stay and collected priceless memories along the way.
“My favorite would have to be taking him to the Michigan International Speedway and having him do a ride along with a nascar driver! Seeing his face and hearing him tell me ‘THAT WAS AWESOME!!’ was a highlight.
Another would have to be taking him to Tampa Bay Florida and going to see his favorite hockey team, the Tampa Bay Lightening, play the New Jersey Devils. Osasu got to see his favorite players shoot and his favorite team win.”
The amazing side effect of student exchange, as the LaCroix family soon discovered, is the absolute (and unexpected) JOY that comes from forming a lifelong bond and adopting a new member into your family. The downside of that new relationship, however, is the heartbreak of having to say goodbye.
“It was hard when it came time for Osasu to leave to go back home. He fit right in with our family. Always eager to help and was fun to have around. He came back a year later for another cross country trip where this time we went to 13 more states. He now has been to 25 different states in the United State of America. We miss him horribly and can’t wait to see him again!”
What will the future hold for Robert, Osasu, and the LaCroix family? Absolutely anything! They’re committed to staying in touch and being part of one another’s lives as much as possible.
They’ve experienced that shift in life’s trajectory, so that now their lives will forever be intertwined. For that, the LaCroix family and Osasu are incredibly thankful.