We received an email from Sandija's roommate at her orphanage. It was short and very sweet, telling us that Sandija has decided not to be adopted because she does not want to leave her family and friends in Latvia. She ended the email by telling us that she is so very sorry for Sandija's decision. You see...her roommate is older and will soon find herself released onto the streets. She sees the road a bit more clearly than Sandija sees it.
There is a whole range of emotions that flood in with this news... There is relief that we finally have an answer after 2 months of waiting and praying. There is anticipation at seeing God's closed door and moving forward to His open window. There is great sadness, knowing the statistics for girls in Latvia and knowing that Sandija is just 2 years away from aging out of the orphanage. There is complete reliance on God to step in and care for Sandija like only a Father can. We open our hands and release her into His care.
It was such a big decision for a 14-year-old. One of my sweet close friends worded it perfectly: "Bless her heart---we're all so human. She was given the option of an 8 course meal or Skittles and she chose the Skittles."
We tuck into our souls the memories we have of Sandija...the hard times overshadowed by her amazing ability to love...the way she would find me in the kitchen every day, come up behind me, hug me and say, "Mama, what you doing?"...the way she gave up her money every time to buy a gift for someone in our family...the 5 long hard weeks of sacrifice and tears to pour into her something she had never had before.
And a precious memory that will never leave me... We were driving in the van one day, and we were listening to music. Steven Curtis Chapman's song Remembering You came on, and every time the chorus played, we would all point to each other: I'll be remembering YOU! And we will always, always be remembering her...our host daughter from the other side of the globe.
Here is the song Sandija said was her song to us, and in turn, we said it was our song to her too...