Can We Ever Get Even?

During the fall of 2008, we went through some pretty major changes in our family. The biggest change was a move from Idaho to Utah that involved a lot of stress, but a lot of blessings for our family and new schools for our children.

During this time, we met Mehmet, a foreign exchange student from Turkey. He went to the same high school as my two oldest kids and became their friend. He was living with a couple who wondered if they wanted to have children and decided that hosting a teenager from another country would be a good way to test the waters. (Do I even need to point out the flaws in that plan?)

It didn't go well. Mehmet was lonely, he didn't fit well with their two-job schedule and was left rideless and alone most of the time. His American experience was wretched. It wasn't good.

During Christmas break, Bruce got a text from Mehmet. "I've been removed from my foster home. I don't know if I'll be able to come back to school there."

We called a family meeting and within minutes a plan was in place and I was on the phone with the director of the program. We wanted Mehmet. As a mother I couldn't imagine how horrifying it would be to have your child in unpleasant circumstances in a foreign country and we were determined to make things better as quickly as we could. We offered to jump through all the hoops required (a home visit from a woman who talked and talked and talked and talked until we wanted to take back the offer, background checks, a ton of paperwork) to have Mehmet spend the rest of his time in America with us.

We wanted to do something nice for him. We wanted to be of service.

Two weeks later, Mehmet moved in. From the moment he was here, he was part of the family. He pitched in, he cooperated, he communicated, he complimented the food, he played with the kids, he laughed at my husbands jokes (even the really bad ones) and participated in family home evening, family prayer, family scripture study and church. He attended extended family visits and events and over fifty extended family members adopted him into the family.

We had 6 1/2 of the best months of our lives. We didn't want to send him home. We all cried at the airport and most of the way home. E-mails and Facebook eased the blow a bit and it was a happy day when we got to talk to him on Skype and he sang the Family Home Evening song for us.

We decided to take Mehmet into our home because we wanted to do something to show Heavenly Father how grateful we are for our blessings, to pay Him back by doing something good for someone else.

What happened was that Mehmet turned out to be a blessing that I don't think we can ever repay. We love him. He loves us. He still calls us Mom and Dad. We'll be part of each other's lives forever, of that I'm sure.

DANG IT! How are we ever supposed to get even when the very things we're doing to be of service end up being so incredibly wonderful for us.


Kari said...

That's a wonderful story! How awesome that someone who lives across the world and you may not have ever met is now such an important part of your lives.

mudderandfodder said...

We love and miss Mehmet and pray he is doing well in that far away land. We think of him often. So much turmoil in the world, hopefully he is safe and happy. LMH

Christie said...

What an awesome story. And what a great experience for your whole family. Wow.

Luis Merino said...

What an awesome experience!! Thanks for sharing.

Jenibelle said...

What a great story. I was a foster child taken in at 14, 38 years later they are still "Mom & Dad" (though now deceased) and my 'brothers and sisters" are still my family and there hasn't been a family picture since 1973 that didn't have me and my children in them. When my mother was in the hospital dying, the nurse said to my Dad, 'boy, these 4 kids all look alike and that daughter doesn't look a thing like everyone else," Without missing a beat, my Dad said, "Oh, she takes after my family, all the rest look their mother!" It has now become the family norm. I "look like" Dad! Your love for Mehmet will be eternal, I'm convinced of it. And it sounds like he was one lucky young man.