Thursday, September 11, 2008

Willkommen Julia

Our little family of four has undergone a crazy and wonderful change in these past few days. I will start at the beginning...
Ken was contacted many months ago by CCI or Center for Cultural Interchange about possilbly hosting a foreign exchange student. He agreed to have them send him the information by mail. When I picked up the mail several days later I saw the pictures of several hundred kids and read all about it. I told him that he was crazy. I mean, what was he thinking? Here we are with a three year old and a 6 month (at the time). How in the world could we include another child in our home and take care of them? I threw all of the paperwork in the trash and we never talked about it again...
Fast forward to Sunday afternoon. We arrived home after helping a friend with his animals and immediately received a phone call from CCI. We were informed that they had a 15 year old girl from Germany that needed a new host family because of an unfortunate situation. They preferred to keep her at the high school that she was attending so as not to make things any more traumatic than they were. The CCI representative told us to not feel pressured...they would find her another home. In the mean time, she would be staying in Sherman and be driven for two hours to school each day. She has to be at school at 7 am, so she had to get up at 4 something to make it on time. We informed CCI that we couldn't do it because we had small children. They said that would be fine. After we got off the phone we decided to pray about it. If it was meant to be, we asked that God would make it clear to us. They had four other families that they would be calling to try and take her. If it wasn't meant to be for us to have her, we prayed that one of the other families would jump at the chance. Several hours later, we called the representative back and asked what the outcome was of the other phone calls. None of the other families had accepted. Okay, I thought. Maybe God has something in store for me that I was not planning on. I asked. He answered. So we agreed to become a temporary host family for her while CCI located a permanent family to house her for the rest of the school year. We were told that it shouldn't take any longer than two weeks.
We picked Julia up from a friends house on Monday evening. We took her to dinner that night and just talked about her time here in the US and what she did at school. It didn't take long for us to learn that she is an absolute joy to be around. Ashlyn was so taken with her too. The first thing Ashlyn did when we got home that night was sit down and watch a Disney movie with her.
Ken and I talked A LOT about it over the next day and discussed all of the pros and cons of what it would take to have Julia here for the entire year. After lots of discussion and prayer, we decided that if she was willing to put up with us not being the typical host family (believe me, there is nothing typical about a three year old throwing a temper tantrum and a 10 month crying all evening because she is not being held while a 15 year old is trying to do school work) then we would do everything that we could to make it work for her to stay here with us. We didn't want her to have to be shipped off to yet another family (she had already been at three homes in four days) and all I could think about was how I would feel if my daughter were on the other side of the world in a foreign country. I would want someone to take care of her and know that she was safe. Although I couldn't convince her mother of this, I knew that we were safe. I knew that as long as she was with us she would be taken care of. So we talked with Julia on Tuesday night and all decided that she would be staying with us until the end of the school year.
It has been crazy around here trying to get everything and everyone adjusted to this new change, but I have to say it has been so much fun and so much more enjoyable than I ever imagined. We are looking so forward to having her here and being a part of her life and helping her to learn about our culture while we learn about hers (Ken is constantly asking her about how things are in Germany). Ashlyn is absolutely in love with her and told Ken last night that she doesn't want her new friend to leave. She wants to stay with us for a long, long time and then we will take her back to her parents house. She asks everyday where her friend is. "She is in school. She has to go to school everyday," I tell her. She will get it soon.
So that is our little family of...five. Always Rushing. We love it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Kenley's 9 Month Portraits

Kenley is 9 months old and just as sweet as she can be. She still loves her mommy more than anything, but I have figured out that if we send her blanket wherever she goes then she can survive being away from me for a period of time. I guess we just have kids that love blankets. Her newest game is taking things out of boxes, cabinets, etc. She just gets an item out, chunks it behind her and moves on to the next item. It is quite amusing but keeps me busy cleaning everything up. Here are pictures of our little Kenley Lael at 9 months. Enjoy..