Our life is nothing short of an adventure...

Wind in our hair and screams of delight but also unpredictable turns and unknown outcomes. We are a family of six; Dave, Susie, Nate, Jake, Sam, and Bella.

God has been faithful in our marriage and through the birth and blessings of our boys.

God has been faithful during our adoption journey and united Bella with us in May of 2008. We were privileged to visit with Bella's birth mother; therefore, Bella's family in Guatemala will always be dear to our hearts.

On October 16, 2008, Bella was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia. We are now battling the disease with 2 years and 3 months of treatment. We believe God will continue to be faithful!

Our family is committed to living life to the fullest...even on the hard days. Thank you for checking in and journeying with us!

Monday, June 23, 2008

8 weeks ago today

This is the moment 8 weeks ago when we picked up Bella for the first time in 8 months!

Embassy Day! Legally ours!

Jenifer, myself, Bella and Ana. At the airport waiting for Stacy and Anaya. Let me just say I am so happy to have this picture. Jenifer was an absolute blessing to me during the adoption process. We were on the wait list together with AGCI, and received our referrals 2.5 months apart. However, our girls came home 3 weeks apart.

Fianlly, were all home!

Ana and Bella, waiting for Anaya.

Bella loves to ride in the buggy coop behind my bike, but she does not like her Princess Helmet!

This is what happens when your 11 year old gets a hold of your camera. I uploaded my photos and found about 20 of these pictures of Jake. No, he does not have wirey orange hair, he has on a clown wig.

8 weeks ago today, we picked Bella up from the Orphanage, Hannah's Hope. How can it be that 8 weeks have passed? While waiting to bring Bella home, days seemed eternal, and now, life goes by at lightening speed. Bella continues to thrive, I call her by "chunkalicious". She is really appearing to be adjusted and we are seeing more and more of her sweet personality with a little "attitude". She is still not crawling and literally had what I would call a "baby tantrum" tonight when we laid her on the floor for "tummy time". She prefers to be held or siting up on the floor. Not my work out girl right now. She can swivel and back up really good, but moving forward and on all 4's is not something she has any interest in. Not anxious for her to grow up too quickly, so I am ok with it.

It was an exciting week as we welcomed home the Vanderzwagg's who also had a child at Hannah's Hope. Stacy, Jenifer and I were all in process together. IT was fun to have the girls together again. So curious what was racing through their little minds...did they recognize each other and think "hey, what are you doing here"? Welcome home Vanderzwagg's, we are praising God with you for your return.

Other than that, our week was relatively quiet. My body seems to think it just physically had a baby...ah NO! But I sure feel like it. Working on those things and thanking God that "my youth is renewed everyday". He said it, so I'm believing it! Also, after seeing pics of my self recently, I have decided I am DONE with growing the hair out. New baby, new look. Hoping to get that done this week.

As for sweet Eliana, she is doing GREAT! She has been reunited with her parents in Guatemala. Thank you for your prayers for this sweet girl. Nothing about adoption is easy, and having your child be sick and miles away is heart wrenching. All is well, God is good.

Thanks for checking in, God Bless, Susie

Friday, June 20, 2008

Prayer NEEDED for Eliana!

Please join in prayer for one of my dear and sweet blogging buddies Lindsay and Chris and their daughter Eliana who is still in Guatemala! She was hospitalized last night for a bad chocking incident and is currently still in the hospital. Lindsey and Chris are still waiting for more information regarding her current condition. You can visit their blog at http://thewheelerjourney.blogspot.com/

We stand with Lindsey and Chris in the belief of perfect healing of Christ for Eliana!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Busy Week!


I love this picture of the Mama! How many of you Mom's feel this way at times? Oh my goodness, I laughed so hard when she walked by me. I love you Mart!

Roughing It! Life at the cottage, could it get any better?

Bella and her cousin Joey. Their first experience with bubbles. Bella reacted the same way she does when water splashes in her face.

The Cool Cousin, my son Nate. He was playing his electric guitar and quickly drew a crowd.

My Sam....any sport, any time, any place.

Bella and her Grandpa (My Dad)

The grandparents at Dedication

Family Photo after Bella's Dedication. For us, this was only a formality. Truly, Bella was dedicated to the Lord before she was even conceived.

Phew! What a week. Seems like we were racing around all week long. Many new firsts for Bella, ears pierced, meeting my friend Martha's Puppies, first time on the trampoline, Sammy's last baseball game, weekend at the cottage and Dedication on Fathers Day. Bella is either feeling the effects of teething or the several different hands that have held her and I am not sure which it is. She has been very fussy the last 3 days, only wanting me to hold her and letting others know by verbally fussing. So we plan to lay low the next few days and see what happens. She has only been home 6 weeks, and she came home to several people who love her so dearly. The last family from our area and agency is bringing their daughter home tomorrow. They picked up their daughter Anaya the same day we picked up Bella, only they did not have their Birth Certificate yet and fostered in Antigua. Tomorrow is a big day for this family and we are so excited to meet them at the airport and welcome them home as well as celebrate the end of this journey and the beginning of the next.

Thanks for checking in, looking forward to a little quieter week this week.

God Bless.

Friday, June 13, 2008

It's all about the BLING!

Its all fun and games until someday gets "pierced".

Marking the piercing

Ah....what are you doing?

Before the pinch

Hugs from Mommy....Oh the sadness, it was VERY short lived.

Happy as a clam and glamoring it up!

Big Day for the little Princessa! Piercing a baby's ears is can be controversy, but for this Mama of 3 boys, it was a must. She really did great, only cried for maybe 2 minutes and then was smiling at everyone...especially her brothers who went with us. She has completely forgotten all this took place today, does not even fiddle with her ears. I just looked in at her "blingy" little self sound asleep in her lady bug bed. Enjoying every breathing moment with this little girl. She is so much fun and as you can see from her faces, makes me laugh all day long.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

6 Weeks!

Mom...I am not so sure about this crawling thing!

Oh ya, I so got this Rocking Thing and I love it!

Pretty girl, thanks Amy for such a sweet dress.

Where are my Cheerios? I know I dropped one in here.

Ooh...I see it!

Sam, Jake, Bella and I at the indoor pool

Jake and Bella at the outdoor pool

Loving the bikini! She is so fun to DRESS!

Guess who wanted nothing to do with going to Festival?

Sam and Bella

Sam, Nate and Bella...can you tell the bands just started?

Today marks 6 weeks since we picked Bella up at the Orphanage. Again, I am utterly shocked at how quickly time is going by....LIGHTENING SPEED.....yet I remember the days of the 8 months we waited to be reunited with her....eternally slow. But I know the growth in me that would not be there had it not been for the wait.

Bella is doing great. We had a very eventful week. I have been working with Bella on her crawling, she is finally able to pull herself up to the crawling position and rock, so cute. She is getting so chubby due to her great eating skills. Cheerios is one of her favorites and she loves to dig into her bib to get the fallen ones. She swam in the pool for the first time this week and loved it! We also headed down to our Festival of the Arts down town...oh how big her eye's got when the bands started up, so funny. We even went on a couple field trips for the last week of schoold with the boys. Sleeping seems to be finally under control after "nap boot camp". Goodness, the girl just wanted to cat nap all day. That was so not going to work with 3 busy boys and a Mama in Real Estate. Not too mention her little body needs the much needed rest. She is taking 2 naps a day, morning and afternoon and in bed for the night by 9 pm or earlier. VICTORY....but it did come with out a little pain for both of us. Listening to a baby cry is never fun.

Schools out for the summer and I am really looking forward to the time with the boys. They are also a tremendous help, in fact, they always beet me to her crib side in the morning. Today, my 8 1/2 year old got her out of bed and then came up a 1/2 hour later and stood over my bed, "Mom, Bella's up". They entertained her for a 1/2 hour and we didn't even know it as we were still sleeping. Oh the joy of watching these boys dote on her. Poor Bella, she may never be able to date.

I am sure this week will bring many other firsts. I forgot how much fun it is to live life through an infant. Every day is a new adventure.

Blessings, Susie

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Video of our Adoption Journey

Photo and video editing at www.OneTrueMedia.com

I put this still photo video clip together for Bella's Welcome Home Party so that others could experience our journey. Warning, it's 9 1/2 min. long. Please don't feel you have to watch the whole thing, but I wanted to share it with all my blogging buddies. The two songs carried me through the process and absolutely are an expression of my heart for God.

I continue to stand in amazement of God. I truly understand and know what it means to be an "adopted child of God". I hold my daughter and am utterly dropped to my knees by the overwhelming gift of her. One of the biggest questions I am asked is "Is the love the same?" Meaning, do you love her the same way you love your biological boys. I take no offense to this question and the answer is always a resounding YES! And that's what amazes me, our heavenly Father loves us the same way we love Bella. He looks at us and sees Christ, I look at her and see my daughter.

The journey is hard, its a pain I never experienced when pregnant. My pregnancies were all very normal, any discomfort I had with my pregnancy had nothing to do with worry...I was just pregnant and big. But with adoption, my heart hurt often, my emotions if I allowed them were on a roller coaster ride, and yet through it all, my God's steadfast love and Word was always near, with in reach, a reality. Had we not gone through the wait, the experience, the journey, I would not know Him the way I do today. I would not have ever experienced the true love of our God. It's worth everything! Every tear, frustration, disappointment, and time lost...its worth it. And God has more than made up for that time lost exactly as He promised He would "for I will replace the years the locust have took".

For those still in process, God has perfectly designed your journey just for you, and He will not be late! My prayer is not just that your child is home, but that you receive all He has in store for you through this journey. I have stood in His glory, and when you do, its like a really good dream that you don't want to wake up from. You know the kind, the ones where you try to fall back asleep and hope it continues. That's what its like to stand in His glory, and once you do, you never want to leave.

God Bless, Susie

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Homecoming Party!

My brother Tom's effort of claiming "favorite Uncle" status! He had these posted all over the house, every wall, cupboard, picture. Oh how he makes me laugh. They were subtle, it took me a while to notice them, and then once I did, I realized they were every where!

Here We are, family of 6! Sam (8), Dave, Susie, Bella (9 m), Jake (11) and Nate (13)

Table of deserts

Tri Fold Display of our Journey to Bella, her Certificate of Citizenship came just this week!

Bella with very cool "Great Uncle Steve"

Bella and Erin

Grandma and Grandpa Ferrick with cousins Max and Collin and Daddy.

Friends Rob and Amy

Aunt Shannon!

This was absolutely the hit gift of the evening! Our friends the Eley's brought this
Princess Car for Bella, she loves it!

Bella and her favorite cousin Joey, they are 9 weeks apart.

After a big day, I am lovin my Princess Car

"Riding in my PINK Cadillac, burnin down the street" with my new shades!

What a wonderful day! My two sister-in-laws and brothers planned a Welcome Home Open House for Bella. There are no words to describe the overwhelming gratitude we have for the outpouring of love and support we have received in welcoming Bella home to our family. We had over 100 people present at this open house, I wish I had pictures of everyone, but as people started arriving, I was on "sensory overload" and could never remember where my camera was. The open house was to be from 3-5 pm, it was 9:15 pm before we left. My wonderful brother Tom went out and purchased hamburg meet around 6 pm and cooked burgers for all the remaining family members.

Bella has now been home for 4 weeks now....I still stand over her bed in tears praising God that she is in it! For the most part, all our friends and family have now seen our sweet addition and we are ready to move on to the next fase of life with Bella. The final paper work will be done some time this summer as we must apply for her social security number and legally change her name. I will also begin to work on a new blog devoted to our family.

Please keep in your prayers all the families still waiting to bring their children home. There have been several delays in Guatemala, many families are hurting. I know that every one of those children will come home, but its the wait for the families that is so difficult. And for some children, detrimental.

Blessings, Susie