This post is so dear to our hearts!  This sweet girl is from an orphanage in the Ukraine, and God brought her into our lives this past Summer through the organization, Love First Ministries.  We had the amazing opportunity to host her in our home for 12 weeks during the Summer.  When we first jumped on board, we weren't sure really what it all meant. We were so nervous to meet her, to have her in our home, to take on the language barrier (she speaks only a bit of Russian and mostly Ukranian).  We were also crazy excited to meet her for the first time at the airport in Atlanta, to show her around our big yard, to show her the special place we had prepared for her for 12 weeks, and to show her around Florida! 

"L" on her first day with us, exploring our yard. Our hearts were soaring!

"L" on her first day with us, exploring our yard. Our hearts were soaring!

Little did we know all that God had in store for us.  We feel she taught us so much more than we could have ever taught her.  Some of the things we tried to teach her were the following: How to read a bit of English; how to speak a bit of English; how to read and understand God's word in her own language as well; how to sing worship songs in English and Ukranian; how to answer politely (a cultural difference); how to jump on the trampoline; how to surf; and how to use a "fancy" American oven/stove, and cooking utensils, etc.  There's much more but these were just a few of the highlights. is what this precious girl taught us: how to love without expectations; how to be patient when introducing new concepts; how to find joy in the simplest of things (everything was so new & exciting to her); that love sometimes takes more time than you anticipate; how to say goodnight in her beautiful language; that our mouths were not made to scrunch up and speak Ukranian fluently-LOL; that we don't spend near enough time praying for orphans and the struggles they face; and that our hearts can be in two countries at one time.  Without a doubt, our sweet "L" taught us more than we could have imagined. 

Saying Goodbye to hear at the Airport was literally one of the hardest things we have ever done as a family.  We fall fast and love hard, so we don't do goodbyes very well.  We all stood balling as she walked through security to get on the plane.  We weren't sure in that moment if we'd ever get to see her again, but good news...we will be hosting her again this Christmas!!!! Yippee!!! Makes me smile just typing it!  We are all a bit giddy and so looking forward to having her again.  Even through all the difficult adjustments during the summer, our hearts are so bonded with her and feel she is a part of us, and we absolutely cannot wait to see her again and shower her with hugs and kisses!

There cannot be any better Christmas gift than having the blessing of welcoming "L" back into our homes in December!  For she is indeed more precious than jewels!