Our exchange program

Look around your house.  Tons of things come from China.  This computer that I am typing on - made in China.  The phone I just finished using - China.  My clothes - China (and Israel too).  Things, things are the only connection I had with China.  Well, that was until a couple of months ago.  

The beginning of the year, China moved in.  Literally moved in.  China in a 6'3" loud spikey hair boy.  He is a typical teenager -- something I had to get used too.  

But in the last many weeks I have found a place for China in my heart.  He belongs here.  There is no doubt in my mind that he does.  My children have accepted him as one of them.  The dog and cat love him.  He is a joy to have and we are blessed in more ways than one that God choose our house to place him.  

What I just didn't know that when we prayed and welcomed an exchange student into our house what we would really have to exchange to have him.  

For months, I have heard.
"Are you crazy?"
"Are you really willing to put your kids in danger?"
"Do you really think you need another child there?  You are already have four!"
"Is there going to be an end to this.?"
And my favorite yet, " good for you, I'm just not as international as you are."

I really don't agree with any of these comments.  God made it clear that this boy was suppose to come.  There are details that will blow your mind.  The Lord has his finger on every pulse of our little Chinese project.  I listened, and accepted - our family is different.  That just doesn't make us wrong (or in turn does it make yours). 

For one, before Michael and I even got married we knew we were to have four children.  No crazy there - it was planted very clearly.  

Secondly, we watch our children very closely - God watches them even closer.  Certainly there are precautions that you take when a teen who you don't know moves in but I would never intentionally put my (or anyone's children) in danger.  

And because I have God on my side I can do it thru him.  There will be days to cry.  Times I just want to sleep.  But there will be time for that when I am dead.  Seriously, the work to be done is now and sign me up to do it. 

The end?  When are we suppose to stop loving people?  Loving people for who they are.  When is the world going to throw perimeters out the door? 

And as far as being international.  Seriously?  I'm a first generation American.  I have a child adopted from another country?  My niece is waiting in China right now for my sister and brother in law to come get her.  And besides, what do you think heaven will look like?  

So as the weeks went by and our little Chinese project developed life became a bit lonely.  The phone doesn't ring as much, dinner dates have stopped, people have even used another door at church to avoid having to talk with our family.  

In exchange for China - our worldly lives. 

There are days where it makes me angry but then I remember - my journey is not theirs and I can not expect them to understand.

There are days when I hurt.  I hurt because I have been guilty of judging people just our family has been judged.  To know that someone has felt this way because of my actions (or in actions) breaks my heart. It hurts to know that I will probably do it again too.

There are days I morn.  Loss in any form is not an easy thing.  The past few months I have lost relationships, trust, and at times a bit of faith in the world.

There are days that I rejoice.  I see progress in his life!  I have friendships that were just that in passing become amazing relationships.  My family has been chosen for an opportunity! We are blessed.

Do I think it has been easy to have China move in- certainly not?  Would I do it again? Absolutely!

I knew I would write a blog post on an adventure that God was taking us on, I just never thought it would look like this.  I find comfort in knowing that HE did and he will provide.  But our exchange program turned out to have really nothing to do with another country - it turned out to be an exchange of things we hold close to our hearts. 

Where is your heart today?  Are you willing to let God move into it? 


  1. You have an amazing heart and a truly a special person. I don't understand why anyone would judge you or your family badly. You are the example for others to follow.

  2. My parents had the opportunity to host a Japanese student, German student and Brazilian student (not to mention MANY foster children, who people look down on as well) over the years. My sister currently is hosting a Korean student for the 3rd year in a row and my other sister is hosting a Chinese student. I KNOW it is difficult. Many times they don't seem to want to be involved with the family. God can use these opportunities to stretch and grow you in your faith and as a family. We have seen several of the students who've been part of our families to come to know our Heavenly Father and salvation through His Son. THAT is worth it and what it's about! Bless you all for opening your home and your family to this AMAZING opportunity!

  3. Thank you both so much for stopping by! We are blessed. All of this is an opportunity to learn and love. I am so not mad at the ones who have thrown judgement our way because even their words are ones to learn from. My heart just yearns for a world where people can let go and love. Not perfect, just trying to give people what I so desperately see missing even the ones with harsh words.

  4. Well, color me clueless. I had no idea you were hosting an exchange student. What a great adventure! Perhaps I am biased since we hosted an orphan from Ukraine for a summer a few years ago, but I think this is fabulous. What an opportunity to share God's love very specifically with one person. And its a chance to help your children broaden their vision, too. Most importantly (maybe), is how God has shown you something in your own heart. What a wonderfully written post. We are honored to know your family.

  5. Wow, thank you my friend! It is an adventure. Isn't every relationship we enter into. It might not be perfect but it won't be boring -will it.
    Honestly, the honor is ours - you guys are so amazing!