This afternoon I had an awesome surprise...one I truly wasn't expecting! I watched little Emma Rose (granddaughter #2) and her mommy called to say she would be a little late. So I was sitting at my computer killing time with Scrabble (thanks Rebecca!!!) and Rach walked in and handed me a box of Kleenex and told me I was going to need it.
With a look of confusion I turned around towards the hall and in walked Sara...our former exchange student from Denmark. Needless to say, the tears began to flow! I hadn't seen her since Rachel's wedding, and I had no idea that she was coming in. Rachel and Chandra had known for two weeks, and had done an excellent job of keeping it from me!
A little background on Sara is in order...
In 2001 I was the colorguard instructor at Eastern. Sara had arrived at Eastern by way of Denmark as an exchange student and she was a member of the guard. As the season progressed I noticed that she was becoming withdrawn and was very emotional. She finally trusted me enough to tell me about the family she had been placed with. The mom had been gone from the home for over three weeks and the dad had been gone just as long. This left Sara (who as just 16 at the time) at the house with a 14 year old and 18 year old who was in and out. They had been left with $30 and no means of transportation. The water, electric and phone had been turned off, and she didn't know what to do. The "mama bear" in me took charge and I immediately got on the phone with the person who had placed her in the home. I told her that I was removing her and she said she would call the police. I told her not to bother, I was taking an officer with me. (It can be an advantage to be married to a trooper!!)
Mickey and I took Sara to the house to get her items, and I was completely shocked at what we found. Food and trash all over the home... it was a mess. I couldn't believe that this young lady had endured this for so long. We got all of her belongings and took her back to our home where we sat and waited until midnight our time to call her parents. She sat and poured it all out to them, telling them that she hadn't told them any of this because she just didn't want to worry them and she knew that they had spent so much for her to come, she didn't want to have to be sent home.
Finally tucking Sara into bed, Mickey and I began to discuss what we would need to do next. We had not planned on having an exchange student, but I was afraid that the agency would move her to another school, which would be painful for her, and I believed that she had already been through enough. We opted to pray about it and see what happened.
Long story short (okay, maybe not so short!) we asked to keep her with us. She came to our home in late September 2001 and remained with us until June 2002 when her parents, Jens and Lissy, arrived in the US to travel with her for a few weeks and then take her home. Over the time that she was with us we became very close to her. Now, I will say that we didn't always see eye to eye, and with two girls turning 17 in the same house, along with a 10 year old, it wasn't always easy. Yet, I cried like a baby the day that she left. As Mickey and I began to reclaim the office we had turned into a bedroom, I just sat there and cried. I felt like one of my children was leaving forever. I wasn't sure whether I would ever see her again.
When she came in for Rachel's wedding in November of 2004 we were so excited. She asked if she could stay through Thanksgiving that year. Naturally, we said yes and she and Carly were beautiful bridesmaids. After that I didn't believe that I would see her again until her college course brought her here around the time Carly would graduate. As I hugged on this young lady today I silently thanked God for bringing her "home". For a couple of weeks our family will feel complete again. And when she goes back to Denmark I'll cry a little...but I know that in three years her studies will bring her back to the US and I'll get to see her again.
I am always amazed at how God brings people together...that he can draw them from different walks of life and mold them into a family. We think very highly of Sara's parents, and we know that they have a strong love for her... and we are thankful they have allowed us to share their daughter for a short time. God was watching over her in 2001...and I am thankful that he was...and that he allowed us to be a part of his plan. And.... I'm glad she is here if only for a little while!
Welcome "home" Sara Belle!