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!


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

US Embassy Day...She's Ours!





What a day! Bella is feeling much better now, but I am not sure she slept a wink last night nor Dave or I. Her eye's were really swollen and congested, but this morning, she looked so much better and now we have a prescription from her Dr. It's not Pink Eye, just a cold.

Our Embassy Apt was at 7:15 am. Now that alone is a story, but for what go through in an adoption process, I really expected a "presidential" swearing in and a Mariatchy band playing afterwards. We had two apts that lasted all together 5 minutes and you literally walked up to what felt like a bank teller window with glass. All this and it took 3 hours! Bella was a champ and she is now a legal US Citizen!

We also spent 2 hours with Birth Mom, what an emotional yet special 2 hours. I want to share more on this, but I am exhausted. I will try and post more on that later.

Tomorrow we are heading to Antigua with 2 other couples.

Bella is a charmer, you just cant help but fall in love with her.

Love to all, Susie

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

video

Sweet little lady bug is all smiles....

Even with a cold! When we picked Bella up yesterday, we noticed her eye's were crusty. The on staff pediatrician Dr Castro told us they had a break out at the orphanage of upper respiratory infections....by this afternoon, her right eye was full of goop and swollen, and tonight, its in the other. Even with the cold in her eye's, she is smiley and happy and loves to be with Dave and I. Tomorrow she will see Dr Castro again after our Embassy apt, but we prayed over her and have received God's perfect healing for her and we expect a full recovery immediately!

We spent 1/2 the day today with our friends Donnie, Cheri and sweet Malaena. What a joy it is to be on this trip together with them. Both of our Embassy apts are tomorrow at 7:15 am! For those of you that know me, your laughing...that is way before my rising time. Bella was up every 3 hours last night unsure of her surroundings and most likely not feeling great either. She ate GREAT today, but as you can see from the pictures, she wants nothing to do with solid foods. I think will wait on this till we get home.

Tomorrow is our US Embassy Apt and we will also meet with birth Mom again. I will do my best to post more again tomorrow.

God is so present, we so clearly His purpose and plan. I just cant seem to get past the stage of praising and thanking Him. Blessed just does not seem to cover it.

Love to all,

susie

p.s. I am struggling trying to type of my laptop keyboard, I do not use it at home. So my blogging is not up to par.





Monday, April 28, 2008

Standing in His Glory!!!!





This is why we wait on God! She's amazing!!! It's as if we have always had her. We arrived in Guatemala yesterday around 11:30 am. We over slept and got to the airport 1 hour before our flight left but got right on. We spent the afternoon relaxing at the pool and visiting our friends Cheri and Donnie and sweet Malaena! This morning, we were taken to our daughter at 8:30 am. She was sound asleep in her crib, I scooped her right up, she looked at me and settled right in to my shoulder. Bella is smaller than I anticipated...her pictures made her look so big. Her 12 month old cloths are too big on her, she is very snuggly and sweet, loves to look at everything, very attached to Mama and responds great to Dave. She only cries when she's hungry or tired. She loves kids and tonight was smiling at everyone that looked at her. Were totally in love and awed. We miss the boys, but are so grateful for the gift of having this one on one time with her after the 8 month wait. Thank you Lord, your timing was perfect, your plan unimaginable. "The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eye's" Here are some photos of today. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

9 Hours....And Were Off!

In 9 hours, our flight takes off for Guatemala! It's been an emotional day for me...an hour ago, my parents came and took the boys. Ugh...hard to ever have any leave the flock if even just for a night. It's been a 2 year journey for our entire family, and now, its only 9 hours away. Dave and I will spend the day together in Guatemala before being reunited with our daughter Monday morning at 8:30 am.

Too stand in His glory, that has truly been my hearts desire. I am truly excited to experience all God has planned for us on this trip.

On a side note, my Dad is also leaving tomorrow for Haiti on a Mission Trip. Please keep Him in your prayers.

Signing off...my next post will be from Guatemala.

Love to all, Susie

Thursday, April 24, 2008

3 more days and on my KNEES!!!

How do I thank thee Lord? I stand in awe of Him, His plan, His timing, His glory. It's never been about us, but always Him.

We leave in 3 days. As Bella laid her sweet head down tonight, she had no idea how her life is about to change. She and I have 4 nights left, she has 4 nights left in her crib at the orphanage, I have 4 nights left to be re-united with the daughter I have longed for, hoped for, dreamed for. 2 years in the making, and tonight, 4 nights left. Awed....just awed.

How much I want to share with all of you the transformation that has taken place in me and my family over the last 2 years, spiritually. This journey required a faith walk like we have never experienced before. Yes, Bella is an amazing gift, but what we learned we have in Christ is ETERNAL....and she will share in all that.

We didn't realize before adoption how powerful God's Word was. We didn't understand that in order to receive His promises, we were required to SPEAK it! As I look back, our journey to bring Bella home was FLAWLESS....and I realized this all along. The journey was long, but there were no hiccups. No previews, no harm, just waiting. We spoke life into our process and covered her file in His blood and believed even when the flesh didnt want to that He was more powerful. And tonight, we are 4 days away.

Thank you my friends....for being here for us every step of the way. How you have carried us through at times when we just couldn't do it ourselves...God used you.

Our hearts are over joyed, yet hurt for EVERY family still in the process waiting to be reunited with their child. How I long to share with them the love of Christ and the power that lies with in them. "Greater is He in Me than he who is in the world".

We are taking our lap top with us and plan to post pictures while on our trip. please check back in. We leave Sunday morning and return next Saturday with Bella in our arms. Amen Lord, Amen!

Love to all, Susie

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

PINK!!!!!!!!

AMAZING GRACE!!! Thank you Lord, thank you!

We received our PINK at 6:25 this evening. Our embassy appointment is next Wednesday April 30th at 7:15 am. We are leaving this Sunday the 27th and will be taken to our daughter at 8:00 am Monday morning. I am rush of emotions, overwhelmed, exhausted, excited, estatic. Again, all I can say is
THANK YOU Lord. We praise you...all of you, none of me.



Monday, April 21, 2008

Officially at the USE!!!!

At 3:30 pm today, Bella's DNA match arrived at the US Embassy in Guatemala. It's real, we are truly waiting for PINK. In church on Sunday, a song was song....one of the lines of the song read "when my faith becomes sight"....I broke in to tears. For 2 years, we have walked by faith in this journey of adoption. We were required to not go by what we hear, but only by what God's Word revealed. We had no idea how we would come up with the astronomical costs of international adoption, when we would receive our referral, how the process would play it, every step was an unknown, but God knew. And we knew that He knew, and therefore, we pressed on. There have been great days of victory, and days that required Jesus to literally carry us (especially me), but we chose Him. That song made me realize, that our faith was soon to become sight, we are about to experience the "sight", the physical aspect of faith, having Bella in our arms forever. We still do not know the day or the hour, but we know it is near. So as we wait in this last stretch before the countdown, we say "How great is our GOD"! For he will do "super abundantly, far over and above all that we dare ask, think, hope or dream according to His plan and purpose". Eph 3:20 So excited to see what that is!

Friday, April 18, 2008

DNA is on its way!

Yup, that's right...DNA is officially on its way to the US Embassy in Guatemala! We are waiting for PINK! Oh my goodness, Praise you dear Lord, we are on our last and final information "wait". This is, the last email, the last time we wait of news to be re-united with our daughter. Over joyed to have this tracking number....and again, excited to experience God's plan unfold. The wait is worth it to stand in His glory!!

We just received Bella's update today. She lost a 1lb, thinning out a bit and only grew .2" She is now a wopping 27.8" long and 17 lbs. She still has no teeth to which I am thankful, she is not sitting up on her own yet (not uncommon for these babies) but she does say Mama and Dada according to her medical report. Oh to hold her, to see that sweet face for the first time in 7.5 months! Were so close.

It's 74 degrees and blue skies here! Totally praising God for this weather and loving every second of it. It will be a weekend of cleaning out and cleaning in, getting ready to bring the ladybug home!

Love to all, Susie

Thursday, April 17, 2008

AHHHH.......DNA PLEASE!

Waiting on God's timing can sometimes play a toll on the flesh. This has been an especially hard two days....not of fear, worry or dread, just anxiousness. Anxiousness of knowing when we will be united with our daughter. We continue to estimate when we "think" we will go...and as the days go by for DNA to get the USE, we find our selves moving the date back, and that hurts my heart. But "sings my soul, my Savior God to thee, How great though art". "For He who is in Me is greater than He who is in the world". So I submit my will and plans to God, and I wait for His perfect day, even though it doesn't "feel" good, I know that I know that His day and hour is right. He Has it all mapped out, and He knows the smile He will bring to my face, and the utter awesomeness of it all.

I have been reading Matthew the last few weeks and came upon the scripture regarding Peter and Jesus when the Lord appeared to them out on the stormy waters. "But when Peter perceived and felt the strong wind, he was frightened and as he began to sink, he cried out, Lord, save me!" Matt 14:30 And Jesus did just that "Instantly, Jesus reached out His hand and caught and held him saying, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?". Matt 14:31 (Notice the bold and italic words)

This is faith...believing with out seeing, living in the spirit, in only what the truth reveals not by what we can see or feel. Tough lesson for the flesh, but eternally saving! I'm reaching my hand Lord and I receive your strength and perseverance to trust in something greater than myself.

Tomorrow brings a new hope for DNA on its way to the USE. "Hope is the irreplaceable BELIEF in the impossible"! I love it!

As a side note, my friend Cheri received news today that their DNA is on the way to the USE and my blogging buddy Lindsey received their Pre Approval from the US Embassy thus allowing them to move forward in to PGN. AMEN LORD, AMEN!

Keep checking in, good news is hours away, I am so sure of it! God is good all the time.

Susie

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

BURNIN NIPPLES!!!!!

Per request of a forum friend, I am posting a scenerio that played out last night at my home.

I decided to boil Bella's new bottle nipples last night. From the other room, my husband (Dave) yells "What are you doing?" and I promptly responded with out thinking
" burning my nipples". Now as soon as it came out of my mouth I knew it didn't sound right. There was complete silence and then I hear my 13 year old say to himself quietly but with expression....."What?" That was it, I was gone in laughter. A half hour goes by and as I walk past the living room my husband says with a smile on his face, "so how are your nipples?". I said, "their HOT!" Too funny. It all transpired by accident...thought I would bring a smile to some of your faces.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I received this devotional today from our Case Manager at our agency. I wanted to share it. May it bless you...and may all of you enjoy the "journey" God has you on.
Blessings, Susie

The phrase “timing is everything” is never more true than in your walk with God. However, it is most accurately stated, “His timing is everything.”

When we come to a place where we trust that God’s timing is perfect, we can be content no matter where we are because we know that God will not leave us there forever.

Maintaining a passion for the present means embracing where we are at this time and trusting that it is enough.

Being grateful for what we have doesn’t mean we will never have more. God doesn’t say, “If you’re so happy where you are, I’ll just leave you there.” He continually keeps us growing and moving along the path.

If you are not in a place you want to be right now, refuse to let that frustrate or intimidate you.

The good news is that if you are in an uncomfortable place, God guarantees you won’t stay there. It’s just a matter of time before things change. The bad news is that if you are in a good place right now, it won’t last forever.

You’ll soon be moved into stretching beyond your comfort zone.

Get ready for the ride!

When we don’t have a clear leading from the God, we can never be certain we are in His will.

It’s so much easier to be content with the step we’re on if we know God has a purpose for us being there.

People who are not certain about God’s will for them, will give up and leave at the earliest indication of problems.

They will never know the joy of going through the fire and getting to the glory.

Walking with God means living moment by moment with Him in the present.

Some people live in the past.

Some people live for the future.

Other give no thought to future or past, living only for the moment.

We need to find a balance.

We must live in the present as if we don’t have a past, certain that the steps we take today will determine our future.

God says you are not to be anxious about tomorrow, for there will be plenty of things to concern you when you get there.

You are to trust that He will give you the light you need, where you are right now, to take the right step.

2nd DNA is at the LAB!!!!

Just received a phone call from our lab....our DNA arrived this morning. They will be analyzing it the next few days and will then get it off to the US Embassy by Friday! We will be awaiting our apt date next week. Still hoping to leave by the 25th of April for our pick up trip, but waiting for God's timing before booking tickets. Thank you dear Lord for your faithfulness!

Susie

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Lift them up....

The journey....long yet perfect and totally "custom made" by God. Yet not easy, adoption requires strength you never knew you had, and some days, the strength seems to be gone, and you find your self on your knees in cries of desperation to the Almighty. Today, I have two very special blogging friends who I am asking for prayer ...Meghan and Pam, both of whom I am posting below. I ask you to please take a look at their blogs, take a moment of prayer to lift them up or post a word or scripture or encouragement for them on their blog, this can make all the difference. They have both been wonderful encourager's to me as well as spiritual guiders. "May the Lord bless you and keep you dear friends, the Lord shine His face upon you, and give you Peace forever".
Much love in Him, Susie
http://www.journeytonola.blogspot.com/
http://www.adoptingbabyz.blogspot.com/


Friday, April 11, 2008

How easy it is......

How very easy it is to get off track when things are good. Life gets busy, things are moving, and with out even noticing....you can forget to check in with God on a daily basis.

I have learned so very much on this journey of adoption over the last 2 years, and have grown so very close to my God. I have come to trust His promises, speak His Word, but most importantly, I have learned to trust Him and through that, know His peace. The journey has not been easy, the sacrifice great, but the dance with God has been amazing and worth it all. And I know that I know, that when we finally hold this sweet lady bug in our arms, that we will experience His perfection. We truly already have.

Yesterday and today, I gave in to my flesh and called the lab to check on the status of our DNA being processed. Both days I was told that it was not there yet, and today, I was told by the lab that the DNA was not drawn until the 10th, yesterday. It was to be done on the 8th. Now in the big picture, we are only talking about a couple days....but I "allowed" it to get the best of me and it immediately effected my mood. An hour later, I realized that I was out of His peace because I put my trust in my self (my info, my ways, my time) and not in Him. BIG MISTAKE! So not worth it. I never called PGN once to find out where we stood, I just trusted Him. I never called our agency while waiting for our BC, I trusted Him. And today, I had a moment of weakness and trusted myself...and got NOTHING! Note to self, "trust the Lord...for He has plans to prosper me and not harm me", but the enemy, "he roams like a lion looking to kill, steal and destroy" and if you allow him in, he will run wild with you. Despite my busy life, I need to remember that I must always keep myself in His Word, for the consequence is to great in my life and He wants more for me.

So tonight, I regroup, and remember that this journey is custom made by God...and He will absolutely NOT be late! I stand in His promise and still believe that "today is the day for our Embassy Appointment", in Him "all things are possible"! Cant wait to see the great news God delivers next week, but it will not be from me "checking up on Him".

Blessings to all, Susie


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Oh My Bonita Bella!

Oh how we love this little girl! This photo was taken today by my friend Jenifer who is on her pick up trip. The bear Bella is holding is the bear we made at build a bear with the recorded chip of our voices in it. In 2 weeks, it will be our voices she hears in person. We expect to travel by the 25th of April (still waiting for PINK, but speaking life)! Her suitcase is packed....and fully stuffed! My goodness, I forget how much a baby needs let alone a girl. My boys are so low maintenance and easy. And I wouldn't trade one moment of this high maintenance, I plan to enjoy every minute of it. Thank you dear Lord for the blessing of this miracle, we love you with all our heart, soul and mind and we Praise you for the dance!

Spring Break Photos!












So we spent 5 days in St Louis with my sister and brother-in-law! It was so great to get away with the boys and just enjoy them and my sister. The first set of photos were taken at the St Louis City Museum...this place was amazing! The museum is actually a play ground for childrens imaginations. It was loaded with caves, tunnels, climbing structures, tiny holes and crevasses, Dave and I went through every one of them and I do believe we were the only adults participating. 40 means nothing to us, we are always children at heart! However, my knees are not what I remember them being when I was a kid. It never hurt to crawl around on the floor. The beautiful girl in the photos with glasses is my sister, my only biological sister, I have 2 very special sister-in-laws....I love this girl, we are 9 years apart and have yet to have any fights. I am incredibly proud of her. She is a Professor of Psychology at Webster University and married to best brother-in-law I could have ever asked for. The boys also went to a Hockey Game and Baseball game while enjoyed power walks in the park with Mary and shopping.

I called the Lab today, they still did not have our DNA on record yet, but they said it most likely arrived this morning in which case, it was not in the system yet. Although we are VERY anxious and excited to get to Guat to be our Bella, we know God has a perfect day planned and we continue to submit ourselves to his plan and time. Cant wait to see when that is! We do expect to travel sometime between April 23-25. Dave and I would like to leave about 3-5 days before our Embassy Apt to spend much needed one on one time with Bella and tour her beautiful country. While in Guat, we anticipate meeting many of my blogging buddies including Stacy, Cheri and Meghan as they will be there at the same time. Very excited about that as well. I know I say it all the time, but I am so grateful for all the wonderful people God has put in our life during this journey. Such a blessing.

My friend Jenifer visited our Orphanage again today and promised me more photos tonight of Bella. Although I am hopeful that we get those, I am truly happy for her that her adoption journey is over and their new life as a family of 5 begins. Jenifer is one of several families caught up in the Mixco CR mess....4 months of waiting! Their sweet Ana is adjusting beautifully and they are having a wonderful time in Guat. So tomorrow, I hope to post a new photo of Bella along with news of our DNA being at the lab.

Blessings friends

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I am ORANGE!!!

Yes, that's right....my cheek was swabbed today for my 2nd DNA test! I am so coming home! Dont you think my Mama should get my sweet ears pierced?

This picture of Bella was taken just yesterday. My long time friend Jenifer arrived in Guat Sunday for her Wednesday embassy apt to bring her daughter Ana home. I could not even sleep Sunday night as I was so excited for her to be re-united with her daughter Monday morning after a 9 1/2 month wait. Jenifer and I both live in the same town and went through the same agency. We were two numbers apart on the wait list, but she received her referral 2 1/2 months before me. We never would have guessed we would end up just a couple weeks apart for our pick up trips. I am sending her big hugs and joy tonight.

Our 2nd DNA should arrive back to the US Embassy in Guatemala any where between Friday this week and early next week. Then we will be stalking our email for what is called "PINK". This simply means an email from the US Embassy stating our VISA apt in Guatemala. This will allow us to book airline tickets and plan our trip to bring her home. We expect to travel some where around April 24th, but God's plan is perfect and we are enjoying watching His plan come together. It's so comforting to know that He already has this day planned and timed.

Thanks as always for checking in on us.

Meeting Cheri

We just returned from our 5 day weekend to St. Louis. I will post more pictures later as well as info on all the fun we had. I just had to share this photo....God has been so good to me with all the wonderful woman I have had the pleasure to get to know through blogging, one of which is Cheri. On Friday, my husband and I drove about an hour and half outside of St. Louis to spend time with Cheri and her husband...WHAT A GIFT! We so enjoyed our visit, not ready to leave at all. The best part was our husbands truly seeing how much we are alike. Honestly, I do believe Cheri and I were separated before conception, we were absolutely cut from the same cloth. Both Sanguine, left handed, 3 boys, sleep to a fan, big diet coke drinkers, everyone we meet is our "forever" friend...the list goes on and on. We could finish each others sentences and although we have talked several times on the phone and internet, you would have thought we had spent a life time as sisters. We spent time with their small group (amazing group of people), hung out at their cabin and ate at their restaurant "McCallisters". I think the high light for me is when Cheri's husband kept looking at me and saying "I just cant believe your short...I thought you were tall". No, I am definitely short, I just have a tall personality! :) We expect to be in Guatemala at the same time in a few weeks with our girls (Malaena and Bella). Thank you dear Lord for all the blessings during this journey of adoption, especially this sweet friend and her family. Love ya Cheri, see you in a couple of weeks!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

USE!!!!!

We were submitted to the US Embassy today, 2nd DNA (ORANGE) is next Tuesday, April 8th!!! On our way to PINK!

We are in St Louis this weekend spending time with my sister and her husband. Enjoying time with family and our last family get away before our little lady bug comes home. Tomorrow we will travel to meet my my friend Cheri and her husband....so excited to finally meet her.

Blessings to all, more next week.

Susie

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Passport Done!!!

We received official word today that our passport is complete. The princess had her first car ride today. Next step is the US Embassy for Orange...believing God for a speedy Orange!

Another quick note of praise, my blogging buddy Stacy received their PGN approval, thank you Lord. Isabella Grace is coming home! Next up is my blogging buddies Meghan and Pam.