Judy Engel never dreamed she would be a mom to so many.
“We always said we were stopping with three kids,” Judy Engel said. “Then, we added 57 more ... from 23 different countries.”
Engel and her husband, Phil, started hosting international students in their home in Portage in 1997 through a short-term exchange program with the Lions Club. In this program, international students would come from and stay with a host family for six weeks at a time to experience American culture from the inside.
Within a few years, Engel was coordinating the exchange program for Northwest Indiana.
Then, Francisco changed their lives. Two days before he left Brazil to study in America, his host family backed out. Judy and Phil agreed to fill in on a temporary emergency basis. He moved out eight years later.
“A few days after he arrived, we knew God wanted him to live with us,” Judy said.