My husband and I recently opened our home to an exchange student. Since August, we have been touring Pierre around. We've been to Fiesta Texas and the River Walk in San Antonio. We went to an Aggie football game in College Station. We explored Houston, and most recently, Washington, D.C. We bought Pierre occasional gifts and French cookbooks to welcome him to our family and encouraging him to share culture with us. We drove him to early morning cross country practice, taught him to play catch, helped him sign up for drivers ed and get a driving permit. Most recently, we created a huge collection of classic Christmas movies to share.
In recent months, we had behavior issues with Pierre. After ongoing talks with him, the agency, and even his parents, we knew things would get better.
However, Thanksgiving night, Pierre picked a fight. I told him to sleep on things. We could talk the next day. He continued arguing and told us he wanted to live with another family. With a shaky voice and tears in my eyes, I called our local agency contact to have Pierre picked up. I emailed agency headquarters and Pierre's parents, apologizing that things did not go better.
In the past week, we have heard nothing from anyone. Pierre has deleted us as friends on Facebook. His parents and the agency have been silent. My husband and I can't help but feel angry, frustrated, and, more than anything else, used.
I keep trying to spin this experience so it's less personal. I keep thinking about sunk costs in business, hoping that will make it easier to cope. Like sunk costs, our experience is in the past. We can't change our decision to host. We can't get the money or time we spent back.
Then, I am reminded of volunteering with the homeless, giving out jackets and sandwiches. I remember the shock of being asked for a different color jacket, or a sandwich with a different kind of lunch meat. I remember how frustrating it is to give and not be appreciated. However, I also remember that lack of appreciation by a few is no reason to quit.
As sad and hurt as we are, it's time to stop looking back. In life and in business, when challenges come up and things don't go as planned, we must pick up the pieces. We must refocus our efforts and build ourselves up. We must recognize we've tried our best, learn what we can, and move on.