I've mentioned, here and there, that my oldest daughter, Amber and her husband, Todd had decided to host a foreign exchange student this year. Well, not just one, but two. A girl from Italy and a boy from Germany. 

I really wondered how this would work out for everyone. Amber and Todd have nine kids between them. Some of those kids have spouses, some of those kids have kids. It's a large and rowdy group when they all try to get together in one spot. A stranger could get lost in that house.

I also know my daughter's heart. When it comes to her children she is like a toddler with a toy. If she touched it, held it, hugged it, It's her's...forever!

This is a picture from back in July when the kids first arrived. Left to right they are: Martina, Amber, Todd, and Kevin. (They grow them big in Germany!!)

This was taken this week in all of their graduation finery. Side note, did you know that the year they spent here doesn't count toward their diploma in their home country. Kevin will return to Germany with two years of school left, Martina will complete one more year in Italy.

I didn't get to know them as well as I would have liked. I had visits at Thanksgiving and Christmas, maybe 7-8 days all total, but the heart always finds a way to expand and wrap around someone new. When they go home, I hope they will take a bit of me with them. They graduate tonight and Kevin will leave Sunday morning to return to the custody of his parents. Martina will follow in about two weeks.

My daughter is a basket case even as she has planned graduation parties and made room for guests, knowing that time is short, that the loan of these two wonderful kids is almost up, knowing that goodbyes are coming. I wonder how their parents felt, putting them on a plane last year, sending them to live so far away with strangers, knowing that they wouldn't see their babies for almost a year. As much as Amber is dreading their departure, there are parents across the world anticipating their arrival home with just as much emotion.

Martina and Kevin, we love you, we're going to miss you. You have been a blessing to our family this year. You'll return home with an extra set of loving parents, twelve brothers and sisters, ( I added in the spouses) and a half dozen grandparents. We'll hold you in our hearts, pray for you, and love you from a distance. 
Auf Wiedersehen and Arriverderci

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