MAFB family transitions well to culture exposure

  • Published
  • By Airman Cortney Paxton
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
(Editor's note: This is part 2 of a 3-part series focused on the Kardoes family's experience hosting two children from Latvia. Part three will focus on any changes within the family's household and how they thought it went overall.)

The addition of two children into a family can present some challenges, but even more-so, a chance to offer love and companionship to someone new without worry.

Upon the arrival of Zibela and Roberts July 1, the Kardoes family acknowledged this opportunity and took full advantage of the chance to call these children their own for five weeks.

Just as expected, Zibela and Roberts' arrival brought changes to the family and the way they operate. Seven was the temporary number for the Kardoes family and compensating for the addition was one thing the family saw the biggest change in.

"It's a big change to have two additional people," said Lt. Col. Michael Kardoes, 40th Helicopter Squadron commander. "I think the biggest change was just figuring out the logistics; getting a table for seven is not the easiest thing to do in a restaurant."

Along with the dinner table, more room was required in the family suburban, the bedrooms and the fridge.

"The food has been interesting because they're used to such different foods," Kardoes said. "They're more comfortable with vegetables and fruits than anything else. They're probably the only two kids I know who don't like hot dogs."

"They've been good sports about trying everything," said Nicole Kardoes.

Different food hasn't been the only thing the children have been exposed to. Along with Vacation Bible School, archery and swimming lessons, Zibela spent a lot of her time dancing and playing with Jillian and Rebecca. Ryan, the oldest, was excited to have the chance to mentor Roberts as his little brother.

"My favorite part is experiencing a new culture and having other friends," said Jillian.

"I like having somebody else to play with," Rebecca added. "We dance a lot and I've learned more of a different language."

Throughout their stay, Zibela and Roberts have become much more fluent in the English language - the Kardoes family learning a touch of Latvian as well - and have experienced, first-hand, the life of an American military family.

"We've tried to keep it kind of how our daily lives are," Nicole said. "This is vacation for them but we can't vacation for five weeks. We still have to function in our home; we didn't want to give false expectations of what Americans really live like."

The time for Zibela and Roberts to leave the Kardoes family arrived faster than expected. All members of the Kardoes family believe they created a bond with Zibela and Roberts, and agree that the hardest part is saying goodbye.