Full House Again

A growing number of empty nesters are flinging open their doors to exchange students from abroad

When Inge Gabel of North Tonawanda, N.Y., watched her son Matthew disappear through the airport gate for a year abroad before college, she felt desolate. Her daughter was long gone, and now Matthew was also leaving. But her nest wasn't quite empty. Michael, 17, a recently arrived exchange

student, put his arms around her and consoled her. "Mom," he said, "we're gonna get through this." It was a spur-of-the-moment comment from a Costa Rican whom she had known for just two weeks, but it turned out to be remarkably prescient.

Michael's yearlong stay with Inge, 56, a hair stylist, and her...

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