Tatsiana's Story

My journey to America begun in 1997, when I was 10 years old…and today is 2009 and I am still here! How did it happen you would ask- well, my story is like an amazing fairy tale. 

I was blessed to be one of those kids who got to travel to a foreign land, mysterious U.S.A at ten years of age. As a kid, I was such a homebody, but yet was very excited to go to California. However, when we first landed in San Francisco airport, my excitement grew into fear and tears…for three days! But after I had adapted to my new family for the summer, the most unbelievable and amazing journey of my life began. 

I would like to devote special attention to my host family. They made the biggest difference in my life. If I have never met them, I would have not become the person I am today. Meg and Todd Wilson had two kids at that time- Olivia, age 3, and Spencer, age 1. Imagine, how busy and overwhelming the time when you have little kids plus a 10 year old kid from a foreign country? Anyhow, they showed so much love and care to me, just like my own parents. They opened not only their house to me, but their hearts. I don’t find enough words to describe how truly amazing they are – kind, generous, giving, loving, supporting, caring, thoughtful. During the first year my attachment to them grew rather strong as well as theirs. For the next five summers, I was a frequent visitor at their house. The whole year I would be dreaming of summer because the six weeks that I spend with them were the highlight of my whole year. 

Meg, Todd and Tatsiana However, we all grow older and realize that the age will come when we are no longer able to participate in the project. It happened to me when I was 16. That summer would have been the last summer of my American journey; little did I know the surprise was waiting for me at the end of the summer! My loving American family, after they already have done so much for me, invited me to go to college in California and live with them for the next 4-5 years! College!! Do you hear that? How can I express that feeling? I didn’t believe it was happening to me! On the other hand, my American family’s decision to have me in their home was done independently of CCP, on their own commitment and funds. Can anyone do anything greater than that? Only amazingly kind and a loving heart could… 

So, I moved to California in August 2004 as a student on F-1 visa to go to college. The four years have gone by so fast it seems. And here I am a graduate from San Francisco State University with a B.S. degree in Business Admin. Yet, I am still involved with the CCP, but on the different side of it – I have been volunteering as an interpreter and a spokesperson, and as of this year I serve on the board. It has been a very exciting and yet unbelievable journey. I look forward to being involved beyond the serving the organization… If God’s willing for me to live in the U.S, I want to become a host family someday and give the love and care to the kids, just like I was given. 

Who would think that a summer trip to California would give me another family? My sister Olivia is 15 years old now and my brother Spencer is 13 years old. In my life, I got to be the youngest sibling (out of my Belarusian siblings) and the oldest among Olivia and Spencer. It is a unique experience; it is like I lived two lives. I love my American family with all my heart and grateful from the bottom of my soul for this amazing gift of life!