In August 2009 we hosted two exchange students for a year. One from China and the other from Japan.  Both of those boys stole our hearts.  Different as night and day,  they lived with us and in the dorms at a local university.  They worked their way into our family, and in the nine-months that they were in the USA a bond formed between all of us.   When they went home at the end of the school year, we said goodbye and knew that life without their wacky, charming and wonderful personalities would never be the same!

Two weeks ago, I got a message from our Japanese son, it looked like this:

Mom!!! Surprise message!!!
I might be able to come to Billings at the biggining of April. It’s up to my job hunting schedule though!! If I can come, can I stay your house??? One night, two nights three nights, whatever ok!!!hehehe Going to Billings is the gift for myself, I did do my best during job hunting!!lol Eventhough the result is not sure yet.
Whatmore, June 3rd is Emily’s wedding!!!! That’s good timing considering the flight ticket price, job hunting and classes schedule:)!!!!
I wait for your reply:)!! I am so exciting to meet you and your splendid family!!!

Naoya Miyamoto:Oh! Not April, in June!! lol

Jessica McGuire-Hanson  yesssssss! You can stay forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Naoya Miyamoto:  Mom, please be my real mom. I leave from my Japanese mom. Still she has a son who is my brother . So she is ok.

If I can come, I will arrive on 1st and leave on 5th. I inform you more and more concrete schedule right after get a contact from company. It would be within 10 days. I apologize about current my uncertain condition.

Jessica McGuire-Hanson:  Don’t worry about it, I will plan on having you stay for those days! 🙂 I am soooooo glad that you’re coming home! 😀

His plans changed about a thousand times, but in the end he flew into Billings on June 1st. and is napping on the couch as I type this.  Words can’t express how much I missed this guy, my heart is full.  Last night, he, Mac and Cooper snuggled up in his bed and were watching a movie. The next thing I knew, all three of them were snoozing away.  I snapped a picture, cried a little and took a deep breath.  5-days is just not enough time.

My heart was overflowing with gratitude at how blessed I am to have family that extends far beyond DNA.  I choked up, and realized that in just a moment, Naoya will go back to Japan, and that we’ll be watching him walk towards his airline with heavy hearts, wishing that there was more time.

The more life I live, the more I know that my heart lives in so many places…Japan, China, Saudi Arabia.  Each time we decide to let students into our lives, a little part of us stays with them.

Little pieces of my heart scattered all over the globe, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.



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  1. Loved watching Naoya (and Potter) eat last night! Three hotdogs on one bun! That was fun to watch!!!
    Too bad the time is so short — but great to have him these past few days!

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