I made the phone call to my family in mid-September… “I know what I would really like for Christmas.  Well, you see, I would really like to have one of these orphans stay with our family for Christmas.  You won’t have to buy me anything, no gifts, just let one of them come stay with us.”  I must say, that was my shortest and strangest Christmas Wish List ever, but it was exactly what I wanted.  God had already provided the funds, and as we all know, my parents agreed to host a child.

My whole desire in hosting was to show the love of Christ to one of these orphans by welcoming them into our family.  And, honestly, it’s much easier said than done.  Naturally, to be a family, means we had to be at home.  My parents could not take 5 weeks off of work to be home with our host kid, so those were the shoes for me to fill, and I was extremely excited to do so. 

Once we knew that we would be hosting Sasha, I felt like an expectant mother.  Ok, that’s an over-exaggeration, I kinda emotionally felt like an expectant mother.  …plus the wait time was only about 45 days.  I would think about him all the time, wonder what he would be like, and pray for him.  I felt as if I would soon be the woman of Psalm 113:9, even if it is only temporarily –

He settles the childless woman in her home
   as a happy mother of children.

Words can’t describe what it was like to finally have Sasha with us, to see him, hear his voice, and hug him.  Everything I had wondered about came true right before my eyes.  It was such an adventure to hang out with him for 5 weeks straight.  I filled a special role in the family since I was the one to stay with him everyday while my parents worked and my brother was at school for 2 weeks… and on top of that I was the main person to communicate with him, in every situation. 

I was the one to tell him what we would be doing, where we were going, and why.  I was the one to make sure he had eaten, showered, washed his clothes, and made sure he wrote Thank You notes for all his Christmas gifts.  I was the one to fill out OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         his paperwork & explain his (unknown) medical history when he went to the optometrist and dentist.  When Brad would be annoyed with Sasha, he would say to me, “Jenelle, you’re his mother!”  because I was the one expected to keep the peace.  Sometimes, I just wanted to be his sister… to just feed him junk food and not nag him about wearing his seatbelt, to just have fun with him and not worry about breaking the rules.

In the grand scheme of things, I would not trade my sister-mother role for anything.  It was a wonderful experience, sacrifices and all.  I would not have changed a thing about our time together and am fully ready to do it again in a heartbeat. 

Although he is now on the other side of the globe, back in his orphanage home, my sister-mother instincts persist.  I think of him and pray for him constantly, wonder how he is doing, and hope that he remains strong in times when he is alone and bullied.  Most of all, I pray for a forever-mother to find him.   He is a precious boy, loved by Christ, and deserves the unconditional love of a forever family.