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!
2 years and 1 month ago our sweet girl was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia, today, we have 73 days left of her treatment! 73 days, I remember when they told us that this treatment was 2 years and 3 months, at the time, it seemed like eternity. I recall being overwhelmed by her medical calender, so many daily meds, so many apts, now, I don't even think about it. Many parents in the treatment room fear the day their child's treatment is complete, I live in the daily faith that she was healed the day we claimed it in Jesus name and I look forward to Dec. 23rd. She continues and always will be a walking healthy testimony to the absolute truth of God's Living Word!
Yesterday, Bella was granted her Make A Wish trip to Walt Disney World for next May, 2011. She is very excited to meet the Princesses and have lunch with them in Cinderella's castle, and so is Mommy. Even her Dad and brothers are looking forward to this day. From what they have told us, they leave no stone unturned for Bella and her family to have a "royal" experience.
Bella continues to thrive, her hair is absolutely stunning...thick, long, shiny and silky. She is strong, has an amazing vocabulary and loves to laugh. She weighs 38 lbs, so curious what she will be when she is done with steroids next year. She loves everything girlie, Princesses and Fancy Nancy are among her favorites, however, she can wrestle her brothers to the ground (well, she thinks she is any way) and loves to play soccer and football with "her boys". When of my favorite things she is doing right now is that when we walk through stores or any public place she will wrap her arms around one of us and say "this is my Mommy" or this is "my Sammy" or "these are my boys". She nestles her chubby little cheek right in to ours...its the best.
I know I have not updated since April and I apologize. I so appreciate you checking in and still keeping tabs on us and Bella.
It was time for our annual visit to spend time with Cheri and Malaena and family. It was wonderful and always so hard to leave. We had a blessed time and Cheri took wonderful photos of the girls.
Bella had a spinal tap today and chemo and started her monthly dose of steroids again. She is doing GREAT and has the most gorgeous head of hair. It's just glows and announces "God's Glory" to all who see her.
Spring arrived 2 weeks early this year, we have even had several days of summer! It's been such a blessing.
This is Bella today! Full thick head of soft curly hair.
This was Bella a year ago, she had just lost her head of hair.
Through it all, a 2 year adoption process, missing the first 8 months of her life here at home, Leukemia diagnosis 5 months after getting her home and today, a thriving 2 1/2 year old walking in the Glory of God, its all been good! Someone said to me today that life is how you look at it, for us, it's how much trust do you put in God. This whole experience start to finish, has been more good than bad. Yes, we would rather have had her home at birth, and yes, we would rather have completely skipped the Leukemia diagnosis, however, God has turned all that to good over and over again. We know we live in a fallen world, sickness, disease, lack are not of God, but His Word prevails, His promises are true and we are a walking testimony of it. When I think of this entire experience since 2006 when we first started the process of adoption, I am brought to me knees in complete awe of what God has done. Not just in the physical, more importantly, our Spirits. We could start our own "Never the same Camp" with all we have experienced. It's all good, it's truly all good.
Bella wrapped up steroids this week, she and I are re-cooperating. Let's just say I hold very strong to God's promise of "He who is in you is greater than He who is in the world". Steroids are not only physically tough on Bella, but Mama too. Chemo in April includes spinal tap chemo and intervenous, but Bella is such a pro and it truly is no big deal now. It's a a half day spent at the hospital, but it feels so normal to us now...how crazy is that. Next year at this time, it will be OVER! We have 9 months left and are waiting for her "Make-A-Wish" paperwork to arrive so that we can apply for her wish. According to Bella, she want's to eat at "Cinderella's Castle", so looks like we will be heading back to Orlando after Christmas rather than a cruise. It's Bella's wish and none of us are complaining.
Have a blessed weekend, so much excitement as we prepare to celebrate and remember that "He has Risen", and therefore, so are we!
(UPDATE on Make A Wish Trip....fyi, Bella is absolutely healed and we know and believe with every part of our being and spirit that Leukemia is gone forever and will NOT ever return! However, the medical industry considers Leukemia a"terminal" cancer, so therefore, she will be granted a Make A Wish trip.)
We just returned from a trip to Orlando, FL to spend a week with Grandma and Grandpa. While visiting them, we spend two days at Walt Disney World touring Magic Kingdom, Disney Studios and Epcot. Phew.....3 Disney Parks in two days was a whirl wind, but wonderful. Bella was so sweet and her absolute high lights were meeting Mickey and Minnie and riding the Goofy Barnstormer Roller Coaster.
This was NOT Bella's "Make a Wish" trip, we are waiting to apply for that trip in December as Bella will be done with Chemo January 2011!!! Bella is completely healed by the Power and Victory of Jesus, this trip will by celebratory of our finished accomplishment of Medical Treatment. We are hoping to take the Disney Cruise, our other thought is the Nickolodean Cruise (Bella's first character love is still Dora and then Disney)...it will be totally up to Bella and at 3 1/2, she will be more apt to make her desire known.
Inter-venous chemo this week and steroids, all will be well.
Were doing great! Bella had chemo yesterday and the two of us are healing from a nasty cold virus, but all is well. I struggle to update the blog, but please catch me on facebook, I am on that usually at least once a day and I post pics of Bella often.
Bella loves the SNOW! Thank goodness, because we get plenty of it. She loves to play in it, lay in it and especially loves to eat it. Her "boys" as she calls them, took her out at night to play in the snow and sled down the driveway snow mounds. When it was time to come in 45 minutes later, she cried and cried. She is definitely a product of her environment being that she was born in a country called "eternal Spring".
Chemo and Spinal Tap on Monday, along with her monthly start to steroids and the newly added med of the month "PROZAC"! Ahhhh..........the happy pill.
We have been so blessed with emails and calls of people who want to help us through this time of treatment for our daughter. Per suggestion of our social worker and friend, we are posting here what we feel will be most beneficial to our family at this time. Although the help is easy to give, its hard to receive, but we have been told by medical professionals an social workers that we will need it. Your love and support mean so very much to us, thank you.
1. Prayer, please see "Pray with Us" 2. Meals 3. Car Pooling from school 4. Continued emails and blog posts with encouraging words. (This means more to us than you can possibly know.) 5. Loving on our boys, this will be a time of sacrifice for them. 6. Child Care 7. GIVE BLOOD! Where ever you live, please give blood in honor of Bella. Save a life!
We want to personally recognize and thank all of you who have graciously helped us in one way or another. Whether its through meals, house cleaning, driving, errands, donations, gifts, etc. We so appreciate you and recognize the blessing from God in all of you. Every moment of every day we are privileged to see the face of Jesus in all of you. From our home to yours, thank you and "May God bless you and hold you in the palm of His hand." Please note, your emails and posts are greatly appreciated and needed just as much as any monetary blessing, please continue to do so as they lift us up daily.
The Stanley Family (Gretchen and Gillibean) Candy and Kya Blue Michelle and Abby Riggs Deb Vangorder All God's Children International http://www.allgodschildren.org/ Kentwood Community Church Kitty and Larry Jerard The VanderZwaag Family The Angerbauer Family The Infante Family Annie Bulthuis The Edwards Family The Ambrose Family The Claeys Family The Fabro Family The DeMarchis Family Peter Harmon Joe and Erin Harmon Mary and Dejan Vukic Keith and Daphne Edwards Susie Harmon Betty Harmon Courtney and Stella Sue Marvin Beth Hartlien Pam Sult Keller Williams Realty Grand Rapids KW Cares Grand Rapids Sue and Rob Harkema and Family Jenifer and Brian VanZanten and Family Action Chemical of Grand Rapids Celebration Entertainment-Brad Eley Trish Borgdorf-http://www.vangels.com/ John and Michelle Lawrence Larry and Kitty Girard Stacy and Bella Gail and Johanna Pam and Rick Foster Amy, Fred and Grace Nagel John and Tiffny Harmon Tom and Sandra Harmon Nancy and Don Harmon Ray and Linda Ferrick Helen Devos Childrens Hospital Dr. Deanna Mitchell Dr. Ron Hoffman Jenifer Gerwig and Family Jane and David Lautenbach Greg and Shannon Ferrick Karen and Chad Janney Cheri, Donnie and Malaena Harris
Our Home Address
Many of you have asked for our home address, please email me at email@example.com if you would like this information. Again, we appreciate all the support and prayers. It has meant more to us than we are even able to put in to words.
Our Praise from Psalm 103
With all my heart, we Praise the Lord, And with all that we are, we Praise His Holy Name. With all our heart, we Praise the Lord, and we will never forget how kind he has been. His kindness and love are a crown on our heads. Each day that we live, He provides for our needs and gives us the strength of a young eagle. For all who are mistreated, the Lord brings justice. You oh Lord are merciful, kind and patient, your love never fails. How Great is our God! You are kind to all who worship you, You keep your promises to those who faithfully obey you All of you who serve and obey God, come and Praise your Lord! With all our hearts, We PRAISE the Lord!