Ask any parent for pointers on how to talk to a teenager and you'll probably be laughed at.

For Jeremy and Ann Hitchcock of Hermiston, communicating with their 15-year-old host child Nik, from eastern Ukraine can be a real dilema. A simple conversation about the weather and what they did during the day can take several hours.

They've found that one of the best tools to help them talk to one another is a website that translates sentence from English into his native Russian.

Some things are easier to deduce: the shy teenager likes to play soccer and Wii sports. One of his favorite actors is Martin Lawrence and he likes to the movies 'Home Alone' and 'Lord of the Rings.'

But answers to questions about what life is like at the boarding school where he lives during the school year or where he learned to chop vegetables into perfect cubes to make a soup called okroska are more elusive.

When he doesn't understand a question or can't find the words to frame the answer, he responds with a shrug.

The Hitchcock were paired with Nik through an organization called New Horizons for Children- a hosting exchange program that pairs orphaned children from Eastern Europe with American families in the summer months and during Christmas vacation.

Children who seem like they could benefit from traveling abroad to live with a family for a short period of time are interviewed by program coodinators in their home countries.

Once a child is accepted into the program, families from the United States can review his or her profile on the New Horizons website to help decide which child is the best match for their family.

In order to protect Nik's identity, we were asked not to print certain details, such as his last name or the name of the town where he came from.

From an early age, Nik was living on his own. When he was six years old, his mother passed away from Tuberculosis. Two years later, his father died in an accident.

The language barrier makes it difficult to talk about. During an interview Jeremy Hitchcock exits the room and reappears a moment later with a silver Mac book. He gives the lap top to his wife who opens it up and types a question. When she's finished, she tilts the screen towards Nik. He leans closer to read the translation and does his best to answer in English.

"He's definitely more confident and he's saying more complex things than he was before," said Jeremy Hitchcock.

Using this method, the three of them are able to spend the evenings talking to each other after the younger Hitchcocks-Libby and Evie- have gone to bed.

The family has enjoyed the experience so much that Ann hopes to work as a coordinator for the program to help other families in the area to connect with the children.

Although organization describes itself strictly as hosting program, adoption-or finding a child's 'forever family' as they prefer to say-is often a byproduct of the experience.

According to their website, as many as 80 percent of the children who participate end up finding their 'forever families' during their visit to the U.S.

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