The greatest experience, the one which shakes a soul with hopes and fears, the results of which are never ending, and incidentally, the one which pays the biggest dividends, is to be found in the adoption of children.
--Anonymous

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

UP AND DOWN AND ROUND 'N' ROUND

As a child, I loved a carousel; the calliope music, the beautifully painted horses and the way I could get lost in an imaginary world as I was carried round and round in a never ending circle. Today, the thought of spinning around in circles is enough to make my head hurt but adding the up and down motion to the mix would surely cause an upper GI cleansing, if you know what I mean.
Our adoption is a bit like a carousel ride lately. We seem to be going in circles. I'm up one minute, down the next and it is beginning to make me sick! My meeting with the new lawyer in Guatemala was unusual. He offered to get Nola out of the orphanage (for a price of course) and he also offered to let her live with him and his family. That offer made me go hmmmmm. It sounded odd to me and a little uncomfortable. I think he sensed my uncertainty in that proposal and told me he and his family had fostered many children in the past and he and his wife were adoptive parents so that made me feel a little better. When I asked him what we would need to give him for foster care expenses, he said whatever we wanted to send would be fine. He also told me what he thought it would take (the amount of money) to get Nola's hearing moved up. We talked for about 45 minutes and then I was left to consider everything he had to say. He was very kind but there was something about him that just didn't feel right. I did my own investigation and didn't find any negative information about the man. The thought of getting Nola out of the hogar was so tempting and he said he could get that job done quickly (within a couple of weeks). Even though my gut instinct was saying "don't do it", my heart was already dreaming of the time I would be able spend with Nola during visits if she were with a foster family. I had talked myself in to it, and Mark agreed we could pay his fee.

After deciding we should have some sort of contract drawn up, I contacted the lawyer one more time to get all of the numbers straight. Well, that's when things began to change. Foster care went from "what ever we want to send" to $500 per month and the amount to get the hearing moved up doubled. I've read too many stories of families who got mixed up with lawyers who charged fees on top of fees and we can't afford to be one of those families.

So for now, we're stuck waiting again. I'm praying our original lawyer will miraculously grow a conscience and get himself motivated to push PGN to get their investigation finished. Even if the judge won't move the hearing up, at least we could know the outcome of the investigation and know if any birth family has been located who may want to raise Nola. If no family is found, there is no reason why the judge shouldn't allow the process to proceed (not that she seems to need a reason to hold things up).

Family News
I have been terrible at updating lately. So many family moments have passed without proper blog attention. I almost don't know where to start.
Our sweet Riley celebrated his first birthday! That seems unbelievable to me. Of course I had to make him a barn cake. He was born into a farm family so it was only fitting.
Mark and I decided (at the end of November) to put down hardwood flooring in our living room, dining room, hallway and master bedroom. The process was much more tedious than I had planned and took longer than I had planned. Tim and Jay chipped in and helped to speed the process along. The end result is absolutely beautiful!!! I couldn't be happier. I wanted a rustic looking wood with knots and lots of color variance. We put down a natural finished Walnut and it's perfect! We were going to get braided rugs to put down in some areas but I don't want to cover up the wood!
Since the house was torn up with the hardwood installation extravaganza, we had to put decorating for Christmas on hold until just this past week end. That's certainly not the norm at our house. Usually the Christmas decorations come out the day after Thanksgiving (and if I had my way they, would stay up until Valentines Day ;)
Our annual candy making day was yesterday. Wow, there is a table full of stuff and there are still some things we didn't get made. Maria and Dawson kind of slowed things down a bit this year. I felt like I just got things going and would have to stop to take the dog out or rescue him from Maria's clutches. He actually could eat her up if he wanted to. It's a good thing he's such a good sport.
I'll have to post some pictures later. I still have Christmas shopping to do, although I'm so far ahead of normal, it's almost comforting.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Pictures Say It All!!


Shortly after I published the last post, Maria and I were eating breakfast when Gloria came in and said "we are going to the hogar in 30 minutes and we can stay for two hours". Oh my gosh!!! I wasn't ready! I still had on my nasty clothes from yesterday, hadn't brushed my hair (or my teeth) and had no way of doing that since I didn't have my luggage.....no deodorant (and it's hot here) but oh well.........we were going! Gloria got us permission to come and visit and then to return first thing Monday morning just to deliver the stockings.
The visit was wonderful! The kids are beautiful (including one very special snotty nosed little girl) and they are just starving for attention! I would guess there were between 40 and 50 kids from age 4 and down outside playing when we arrived and just 4 women trying to be care giver, referee, booboo soother and play partner. An impossible task! They do their best but the odds are a little overwhelming. It took Maria a few minutes to adjust to being mobbed by so many little ones but soon she was right in there playing and having a good time. She didn't recognize Nola so I had to point her out. We had had several talks about not being able to spend all of our time with Nola so as not to call attention to our relationship with her. Maria was great! She talked with Nola for a few minutes, I got a few quick snapshots, then she came over to me and said softly "we have to bring baby Nola home soon momma". I had to hold back the tears (not an easy task for me). The time went by much too fast and we had to leave. As we walked out, Nola was eating a bowl of pasta of some sort and when we walked past, she offered me a handful. I wish I had had my camera out at that point, but I didn't.
She had on mismatched shoes. She wasn't very clean but she is talking quite a bit and played very well with the other kids. As hard as it was to see her like that, I wouldn't trade those two hours for anything.
Now for news on our case. Thursday, I went straight from the airport to PGN. What an experience! Mayra took me in, talked to all the right people and after several hours, they finally found our file. It was in a stack of files that "no one is checking on" said the PGN official who finally found it. He said if the lawyer doesn't come to check on the case, the file sits with nothing done. They work on cases that people push them to work on first. He told me the judge had ordered them to try to locate family who may want Nola. He said if the investigation is finished and they find no family, our lawyer could ask to get the court date moved up. The investigation has to be finished and it hasn't been started yet, thanks to my lawyer who isn't doing anything with our case. To say I was unhappy was a severe understatement! Today at 3:00 I'm supposed to meet with a different lawyer and see what he can do to help us. We'll see how that goes.
Please keep praying! This process is so hard on these poor children! Little Kinsey is having a very hard time this trip. She wasn't feeling well, which didn't help the situation, but the longer this process drags on, the harder it is on her and all of the children. We have to pray them home!!!
I'll try to post after speaking with the lawyer.



Friday, November 20, 2009

Ah, You Know What They Say About The Best Laid Plans...

...and it is oh so true. I haven't posted because our Internet has been down, but I'm in beautiful Guatemala right now. The weather is lovely, I'm all settled in at the hotel. The problem is, my traveling buddy and her son (who flew on a different airline) are stuck in Atlanta!!!!! Brittney and I were supposed to arrive yesterday and hit the ground running buuuutttt, things don't always work out like we expect. Hopefully she will be arriving today at 2:45 after spending the night in a crappy hotel with no luggage and no way to get anything she needed. There were major problems at the Atlanta Airport yesterday. But today is a new day.

Maria and I are here with Christmas stockings to deliver to the children at Nola's orphanage. We were supposed to go this morning and take them but I had so much luggage, I gave two of my suitcases to Brittney to bring. One of the suitcases has 75 stockings and the other has things to put in stockings and my and Maria's clothes and our bathroom bag...........in Atlanta. I don't even have a comb to put through our hair. Good thing we're staying at our home away from home (La Casa Grande). Fredy and Gloria don't care if we look a little shabby. Gloria is going to call the orphanage this morning and see what would be another time we can come. The kids at church have been collecting items to fill stockings with and last Sunday night, they stuffed them all. It was so fun to watch them. They truly had a good time knowing they were giving to children who didn't have anything.

We made and wrote names on 135 stockings (Thanks Alice and Kelsey). That was a job but I know the kids will be so appreciative. I wish I could be here to see them on Christmas day. The director is going to hold the stockings until then. Each stocking had a Beanie Baby (Thanks Jay) a coloring book, crayons, some candy, assorted small toys and some had socks. We also had some special gifts for the babies. They will get cute little blankets, a onesie, a pacifier and a rattle or teether.

One nice cheesy shot before the chaos begins and then.................


.........it's grab and stuff time.



A job well done!!

I'll post later about what I found out on my trip to PGN. Maria needs momma to take a computer break.







Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Where Has This Month Gone?

I've been trying to hold out and wait for some adoption news before posting but this month's going to be over..........and there is no adoption news to be found.


Soooooooooo, I'll catch you up on family stuff.


Our little puppy Dawson is not so little any more. At his vet visit last week, he weighed in at 22 pounds, on his way to 45. The vet told me we could get a good estimate of his full grown weight by taking his twelve week weight and tripling it. He weighed 15 pounds at twelve weeks, so it looks like we're going to have a small horse living in our house. That's OK, I love big dogs! Maria just loves him to pieces and the two of them waller the daylights out of each other.



This picture is probably a month old. He's grown a lot since then!


Kelsey's high school volley ball team had a fantastic day this past Saturday winning their sectional. GO LADY ARROW'S!!! The Regional is this Saturday. It's hard to believe Kelsey's volley ball days are almost over. We've all enjoyed cheering on the team. She had her Senior pictures taken last week. We got a sneak peek at just a few of the shots and they're fantastic! As soon as we see them all and make our purchase, I'll post some. I guarantee you'll agree with me, she's just beautiful!


Of course, no Sectional victory is complete without a cruise around the square on a fire truck!
I also had my big day last Saturday and it didn't hurt a bit! Yep, you guessed it, I turned the big "50". For those of you who are dreading that milestone, I'm here to tell you, it doesn't feel any different than 40 or 30 for that matter. The only difference is I'm carrying around a whole lot more weight than I did at 30 and I can't seem to get motivated to do anything about it.


I had some "big dreams" of being fabulously fit by the time I hit 50 but dreams don't accomplish anything on their own. I have yet to put any muscle behind those dreams so right now I'm a frumpy, flabby fifty, but I'm not giving up on myself. One of these days, I'll get myself in gear and then............Look Out!


Well, I wrote this on October 28th but didn't get around to posting it so here are the updates. Kelsey's team won their first game of the Regional but lost in the championship game. She was very disappointed but they lost to a very good team in a close match. Now she's on to training for track and preparing half time dance routines for the up coming basket ball season.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Two Years Today!

It's hard for me to believe that it's been two years since we received our referral of Nola. As difficult as this time has been, there are some families who have been waiting much longer, years longer in fact. Those of us who are left in this mess live from one anticipated date to the next. Unfortunately, for many of us, those dates come and go with no resolution in our case. I've been exceptionally angry lately. I know I look at this process logically and not so much through the eyes of the law. It's hard to see anything but logic when the law seems to be ever changing. Orphanages are over crowded and the children left "in process" are all around the age of two years or older. That means if a birth mother had changed her mind and wants to parent or if she wants to announce that her child was taken from her illegally, she has had at least two years to come forward and state that fact. It angers me that no one seems to be speaking for the children. How many times do officials have to check and double check and triple check paperwork? How many studies have to be done showing the ill effects of institutionalizing children for extended lengths of time before someone says "enough is enough"! Obviously, nothing is making an impression on the judges in Guatemala.

Last year, at holiday time, I was feeling blue that Nola wasn't going to be a part of all the family fun. But I just knew, it would be our last holiday season without her................................
This year, I'm not sure how many more Thanksgivings or Christmases are going to pass before she comes home. Honestly the reality is too difficult to consider. We're waiting. Not patiently waiting, not quietly waiting, just waiting. Waiting and praying for God to clear the way for our little girl to come home.



Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Joshua!

Today is the birthday of my first born! I can't really say that it "seems like yesterday" but I do have some very vivid memories of that day........Phone calls to our parents in the middle of the night announcing "it's time"..........The fear that Mark was going to miss the whole thing!!!!! (upon arriving at the hospital, the nurse announced that since it was my first "it's going to be a while")...............WRONG!!! After she examined me, she quickly called the Dr and they wheeled me to the delivery room (yea, back in the olden days, you had to go to the stainless steel delivery room to give birth..............not real comfy and cozy!). Mark had gone out to find my mom and dad to tell them to go and get some breakfast because the nurse said it was going to be a while. He just barely made it back in time!

Joshua wasn't only our first child, but the first grandchild on both sides of the family! Yes, he was showered with lots of love and attention.

His early childhood did have a considerable bump when he was diagnosed with Leukemia at age 7. He endured three years of chemotherapy along with radiation and dialysis. That was a very rough go, but he came through triumphantly!

He and his wife are now waiting on the referral of their first born. What an exciting time! I can't wait to be a granny again!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOSHUA!!




Josh, with a couple of buddies he made on our last trip to Guatemala

Monday, September 21, 2009

Unbelievable...............

...............it's started......................ALREADY!!!!!

You know that time of year, preceding Christmas, when it seems like every TV commercial is advertising the newest and best gotta have it toy. Maria is buying right in to it! This morning already I've been called in for a Pillow Pets commercial, a Dora DVD commercial but the last one was the best one. Maria called, "come 'ere Momma, hurry". I came in to see a Huggies commercial playing. Of course, I was wondering what was coming next when she said "just wait...........watch...............watch". The commercial showed how Huggies diapers are cut so they are better fitted to an active toddler, all the while a little one is running and the daddy is running after him. At the end of the commercial there is a close up of the Huggies package and the Daddy's running foot steps right beside the package. At that point Maria speaks up "right there! I want those running shoes". I had to laugh..............................and then turn off the TV.


I also wanted to share how our family is growing..............

We have fourteen baby water turtles that have hatched over the last week. I dug up the nest when I thought they would have hatched only to find out they hadn't hatched yet. We (I should say I) brought them in the kitchen and kept an eye on them. I absolutely loved watching them!

Below is our first hatchling in Kelsey's hand. She named him Dimitri. Not sure why the name, I guess she thought it was a fitting name for a tiny turtle.

This little guy just couldn't decide if he wanted to come out into the world or not. It took him a few days to finally make up his mind.

Turtles, turtles everywhere! We're down to eleven now. Three little guys have found new homes with most of the rest of them spoken for. What fun! I've thoroughly enjoyed them! They're just adorable....................in my opinion;)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Feliz Cumpleanos Nolita!



It's hard to believe our little Nola is two years old today! It makes me sad to think no one is celebrating her special day with her. Last year at this time, we were in Guatemala with presents and cake, of course. When we left, I certainly never imagined she would still be there today.







We had a conference call with our agency, the other four families still in process and our lawyers. The only positive information we were given is that mid October is election time in Guatemala and it's possible our judge will be replaced. That would certainly be to our advantage, since our current judge seems to have no regard for the children. I guess it would only be to our advantage if her replacement has a place in his or her heart for the children and families waiting to be united.


Our lawyer did petition for permission to check on Nola on a regular basis. He cited a Guatemalan law in his petition that gives him the right to have contact with her. We'll see what happens.


My prayers are going to be directed at our judge. I'm asking God to soften her heart. Her actions are currently keeping families from being united. Her lack of compassion is sentencing children to countless days in orphanages. Our lawyer said it best today when he said "she doesn't seem to care that there is a child connected to all of that paper work". If it's God's will for her to be replaced in the coming elections, I'm sure she will be. Until then, we have to pray that she has compassion on the children and families who have upcoming hearings.


We're going to have a lot of catching up to do when you finally get home little one. What a party that will be!!! But until then we'll just have to send you love and kisses from afar.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY NOLA!!!!! We love you!!







Thursday, September 10, 2009

INTO EACH LIFE A LITTLE RAIN MUST FALL

"And I wonder,

Still I wonder,

Who'll stop the rain."


The blog title is a Longfellow quote. The opening is part of the chorus from a CCR classic.
Why the reference to rain? Cause I think we're in the middle of a stinkin' MONSOON!!!!
Not literally , of course, but in the case of our adoption the rain just seems to keep on falling.
We heard from our agency yesterday. The judge with our case has set a new hearing date.
The new date is June 24, 2010! No, you did not misread that. It's June 24, 2010!!!!!!!!!
I was disappointed after the hearing in August, but disappointment doesn't even come close to describing how I feel now. I think numb is more like it. Angry, frustrated and
dumbfounded also come to mind. There is nothing anyone can say to make me believe
our judge has the best interest of children in mind when making her decisions. This is purely political! What a shame that helpless children are the victims in this mess.


I could rant and rave on and on but my anger wont accomplish anything. I just had to vent and now I have to find a way to channel my anger and frustration into something positive.
Nothing is going to make me stop fighting until we bring our little Nola home...................No
matter how long it takes!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No matter what they throw at us baby, we're not giving up!

Another Longfellow quote:

“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody."

I'm ready to do some knockin'!!!!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

30 YEARS..........WOW!!!!!!!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO US!!!!!


30 years ago today, Mark and I were married outside by the pond at Taylor Chapel in Farmersburg, Indiana. We were very young, very "thin", very naive, and ready to take on the world (or so we thought). Today, we aren't so young, although we still feel like we are. We certainly aren't thin (or I guess I should say "I'm" not thin) but we're better equipped, emotionally and mentally, to take on the world. We have grown and changed and through our life together we have learned we are so much better together than we could ever be on our own. We have five kids (waiting on number six) and one grand child (waiting for more). (Do I sound like someone who's always wanting?)


To celebrate our milestone anniversary, Mark and I took off Friday morning on the bike for Cumberland Falls Kentucky. We probably took every winding, uphill, downhill, paved road between here and there (Mark's favorite way to go). The weather was beautiful (on the way down) and we had a great time riding. Saturday morning we headed for the falls. WOW! Absolutely Beautiful!





Cumberland Falls is the only falls in the Western Hemisphere where, during a full moon on a clear night, the moon light creates a moonbow through the mist of the falls. Unfortunately, the skies were cloudy Saturday night so viewing the "Moonbow" was not an option. Even without the moonbow, the park and the surrounding area are a must see. We stayed in Corbin Kentucky, birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken, and yes we did have some KFC while we were there.












The tobacco fields and the black tobacco barns were more of my favorite scenic views. The patchwork quilt block paintings in the gables of the barns were a call back to a simpler time when life was slower and maybe less complicated.



Our ride home left a little to be desired. We rode through pouring rain in 62 degree temps without rain suits.....................not so fun! It rained long enough to get us thoroughly soaked and chilled to the bone. The good thing about riding is you dry out pretty quick when the rain stops.



Last Saturday, the kids took us out to celebrate. We went to Stables, a fantastic steak house and had a great time and absolutely delicious food! They had a cake made for us with our engagement picture on it. Talk about taking us back!










It's hard to believe 30 years have gone by.


Here's to the next 30! Love you honey!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Catchin' Up On Summer Stuff

(As hard as I've tried, I still can't get a slide show "in" a blog post. I keep getting an error message. So the above slide show was meant to be in this post but obviously, things don't always turn out the way they're supposed to be.)

It seems a lot has gone on this summer that hasn't made it into blogdom, not because it wasn't blog worthy news. I guess I have just been negligent. The first big "new addition" has come to our back yard. Early in the summer when Dad opened his pool, he found the liner was shot. Knowing he didn't want to mess with a pool anymore, Dad decided to fill his pool in but offered to put in an above ground pool for us. So we started pool shopping. Shortly after we returned home from Guatemala, our pool was installed (Thanks Daddy!!!). Then came the job of building the deck. My brother Jay had agreed to help me but just a few days into building, I got sick. Mark and Dad stepped in to help Jay and even though it's not quite a finished product, it looks just beautiful! I could not be more pleased!










Now for our next "new addition".......................................................Meet Dawson!







Isn't he just adorable? Such a little lovey guy. He's a Labradoodle. He's having a rough time adjusting to being away from his litter mates but that will get better with time. As I'm typing, he's in the kitchen by himself and he's not crying. Yay! that's a giant step forward! He's going to be a great addition to our family.



Now for Nola news. There's not much to share. Our lawyer was not able to convince our judge not to do another investigation. So even though the judge has not sent the notice to PGN yet, we're going to have to wait for another investigation. Nothing we can do but sit and wait again. This is all so frustrating! Nola will turn two in seventeen days. She should be home with her forever family to celebrate!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

AHHHHHHHH!!!!

I finally feel normal again. I've had more energy each day of this past week and I can't tell you how good that feels! The diagnosis???............................I contracted Hepatitis A on my last trip to Guatemala. So, a word to the wise (from someone who learned the hard way) if you plan on visiting Guatemala and you haven't had your Hep A vaccine..............GET IT!!! My Dr said we didn't need any shots and I just went with that, instead of doing my own investigation. I've read the older you are, the more severe the symptoms. Since I'm nearing "antique" status, it was pretty rough. But that's all behind me now. Praise the Lord, I feel good again!

There's nothing to report on Nola. We're still waiting to hear if our lawyer has been able to get a meeting with the judge.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

WE WAITED ALL THIS TIME FOR............

NOTHING!!!!!
Basically, that's what was decided at our hearing yesterday. The judge has a "feeling", not proof, that our birth mother is a minor. She wants PGN to do another investigation. PGN has already done a complete investigation and found no abnormalities in the paperwork and no information on where the birth mother may be. They don't want to do another investigation. Our lawyer argued there was nothing to be gained by doing another investigation. Several attempts to locate the birth mother have been made with no positive results. Our lawyer is going to try to have a meeting with the judge and see if he can persuade her to see his side. The last PGN investigation took almost seven months and then another four months to wait for a hearing.

Nola was sent back to the hogar. I had hoped I would get to reschedule my trip so I could spend her 2nd birthday with her but that won't be possible with her in the hogar.

Such a Disappointment!


Friday, August 7, 2009

Change of Plans

This week has certainly not gone as planned. I've been sick and am still sick. Had lots of blood work done and haven't found out anything definitive yet. Today I had to cancel the reservations for our trip.
Probably won't learn about the judge's ruling until Tuesday. I'll let you all know.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Reservations Are Made...

Maria and I finally have our airline tickets purchased for our August trip to Guatemala. We'll be in Guatemala at 11:00 on the 10th. The hearing is supposed to start at noon, but from everything I've heard up to now, punctuality is not a priority in these court proceedings and they can go on for hours and hours. We probably won't hear any update until the following day. Maria is not looking forward to traveling without Daddy, (me either really) but I told her we'll have a good time and we won't be gone for long. We're flying out on Monday and returning on Thursday. She's already planning what she and Daddy will do when we get back. The first thing on her list is going to "Donald's". That's McDonald's for you and me but for Maria, it's just "Donald's". You have to spend some time with Maria to get comfy with her speech. She's come a long way in the last couple of years but still has a long way to go.

I feel like a bundle of nerves when I think about the hearing. I'm sure the closer we get to August 10th the worse I'll be. I have a good feeling about the outcome, but still, I'm very, very nervous.
Here's Maria stylin' in her huipil we brought home for her from our last trip. She's not real crazy about the skirt since it doesn't twirl when she spins around but she did wear it to church last Sunday when we did our orphanage presentation. She actually lost her skirt during children's church but it didn't bother her much. She's used to running around half naked anyway. There has to be some kind of trick the mothers in Guatemala use to keep traditional clothing on active little girls.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Aw, I'm sure missin' this sweet little face.......

After returning home from Guatemala, I decided to make some changes to my blog. I've removed any mention of the name of the orphanage where Nola is staying. In an effort to protect her and the progress of the case, I've also removed the link to the fund raising site. I hated to have to do that but I don't want to take any chances. I know the orphanage director would not have let us in, if she knew our connection with Nola. I couldn't take a chance of someone with authority googling "the name of the orphanage" and pulling up our blog. For now I will walk on the safe side.

We were all so blessed on our trip. It was truly a life changing event. God's hands were most definitely surrounding every aspect of the trip. It could not have been more perfect! We all left with a sincere desire to do everything we can to help all of the children housed in the Orphanage. We have already started making plans for next year. We spoke with the director about taking the children to the zoo and she loved the idea! We're talking about tie-dying little shirts so the kids are easily recognizable, taking a deep breath.................and going for it! I think we'll have a blast. We even got a quote for renting our own "chicken bus". We're thinking about going the end of July or the first of August next summer.

Between now and then, we're going to work on getting bumper pads made for the baby beds. The director said they could really use them. The beds are small, similar to portacribs. I would imagine toddlers who move around a lot when they sleep would probably bonk their heads easily since there is little wiggle room. We also hope to provide some twin size sheets for the special needs children area. They're also in need of some pack-n-plays. They currently only have one and would like to have more for the children who have seizures.

I will be returning to Guatemala for Nola's court hearing. It's scheduled for August 10th at noon. I'm praying the judge will release Nola to her foster mother and if so, I'll be able to have her with me while I'm visiting. It will be a quick trip with just Maria and me traveling.

I'm praying for good things to happen!!


One last picture. This is Mark consoling Nola after she was put in the time out chair.......................for biting! We're going to have our hands full when she comes home............but I can't wait!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

One Happy Momma!!!

First of all, I'm sorry for not posting sooner. We have had a wonderful time! And yes, the picture below is me with our sweet Nola! The orphanage director let us take all the pictures we wanted, so we took a bunch. Between Alison and me we probably have close to 300 pictures inside the hogar with children. Nola wasn't too happy to have momma holding her at first but very soon...........................................she was holding on and not letting go. What a wonderful feeling! She seems to be doing very well. The staff is doing the best they can for the children and it is evident the children are loved.
Our little one is quite the eater. All the kids are! They all sat at their little table and fed themselves spaghetti.............what a mess! While Nola was eating, the little girl beside her put her hand in Nola's bowl but not for long. Nola started shaking her head no and bonked the little girl on the head. She has obviously learned how to stand up for herself. When I saw that I was actually happy. Not happy that she hit the other little girl, but seeing she has a strong will and is able to stand up for herself already helped me to know she will be alright in the situation she's in.

I have so many pictures to post and so much to say about our trip so far. I'll post on the orphanage site tomorrow.
Please know that all of our prayers for this trip have been answered. It has been the most rewarding experience I think I've ever had. God is watching over us.
Gotta go for now but will post more soon.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Bags Are Packed........

.......and the van is crammed full! We leave tonight at midnight for Guatemala. We're driving to Chicago to fly out of O'Hare. We'll be in Guatemala tomorrow at 11:41 Guat time. We're going to hit the ground running. Tomorrow will be shopping day and Saturday and Sunday will be hogar days. We're all so excited about taking the donations to the hogar. I'm even more excited about the possibility of seeing Nola.
We'll keep you posted.
Pray for safe travel and a successful mission trip!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Lot Has Happened Over the Last Few Weeks...


....Some happy and some sad. I have been very busy with everyday life. Several weeks ago, Mark's mom fell and basically crushed one of the bones in her arm near her wrist. At 86 years old, the question was whether or not to do surgery to repair the damage. Without surgery, the Dr said she would probably have constant pain and not be able to use her hand well. She opted to do the surgery. It was done using a nerve block so she didn't have to be completely put out since that would be a real strain on her heart and her kidneys. The surgery was done in mid April and she just couldn't seem to bounce back. It was all just too much of a strain on her already too frail body. She passed away June 5th after spending time in the nursing home and then the hospital. It was a sad time around here. She had moved out of our house and into an assisted living apartment in January and seemed to have a new lease on life. She made new friends and was enjoying the activities there. Her new and old friends are going to miss her. The Young and the Restless has lost it's most faithful viewer. The game of euchre has lost a fierce competitor. The sports world has lost a huge fan and my kids have lost their last grandma. We're going to miss you Ruth!

If you haven't checked out the **** ****** site, our fund raising efforts are going through the roof! We have raised over $3,000!!!
We have planned our first trip to deliver donations. We're arriving in Guatemala on July 3rd and will be taking donations to the children on the 4th. Then, (this is the fun part) we get to go back on Sunday the 5th to take ice cream and toppings to let the kids make sundaes. It's gonna be such a good time! Mark and I are going as well as our son Joshua and his wife Alison and our friend Cheryl from church. Please pray that everything will fall into place. We need a truck to haul the playground items we will be buying. We will only have Friday afternoon to find and purchase everything we want to take to the hogar so it will be a whirlwind first couple of days, but oh so worth it. The children will be so happy! We have actually received so many clothes and misc items, I don't know if we will be able to take everything down with us this trip, but there will be more trips. Everything will eventually get there.

It's been a busy summer already and summer isn't even here yet! Our youngest son Kyle celebrated a birthday as well as our daughter-in-law Alison.


Happy Birthday Guys!!



Kelsey has already attended Dance camp


That's her in the middle bent over backwards. She's now in Florida with the school Beta Club attending their National Convention. When she gets back, it's going to be time for Volley Ball camp. I was really hoping she could get a job this summer to at least help pay for gas in her car that she seems to go through like it's water! Not lookin' like that's going to happen.

Tim and Anna, as a farming family, have been stressing a bit over the insane amount of rain we've been getting. Our little breaks in the precip haven't been quite enough to let them get in the fields and stay there. But at least there have been the little breaks. Riley isn't stressing over anything. He is growing so fast it's unbelievable and such a good baby!

Joshua and Alison have decided on an adoption agency and are sending all their paperwork in soon. Hopefully we'll have another grand baby to spoil soon!

And then there's Maria. Maria is ready for fall so preschool and dance class will start. She's been working on her letters and her tumbling so she'll be ready when fall comes around again. She even wrote a letter to baby Nola today. It kind of looks like ocean waves, but it actually says "Mommy and Daddy love you and I miss you" (I only know that because Maria told me that's what it said). Then she went on to show Nola all of the letters she could make...........very sweet!

There's no Nola news. The lawyer we contacted has had no luck yet getting our court date moved up. It's looking like we're going to wait until August. I guess the way this summer's flying by, August will be here before we know it.

I think you're pretty well caught up now. Life's been crazy, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Keep the prayers comming!

WAIT!!!!!...........STOP THE PRESSES!!!!
WE HAVE MORE NEWS!!!
Mark got a call this morning..........HE HAS A NEW JOB!!!!!
He starts July 13th at a small biotechnology company in Terre Haute!
Praise the Lord.......A true answer to prayer!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Our Saturday Get Away

(Orphanage link deleted to protect Nola)

I've surprised myself in getting a Paypal Donate button up and running on the **** ******* site. If you have planned to donate, it's now easier with Paypal.

On Saturday morning, Mark and I took off on the bike for a day long trip. We headed down to Madison. It's located in Southeastern Indiana on the Ohio river. If you haven't been there, it is such a beautiful town. Now, for some reason, I have no pictures to prove that so you'll have to take my word for it. Beautiful homes built in the 1800's line the main street. Downtown there are quaint antique shops and specialty shops. We're going back sometime when we have more time to explore.

Clifty Falls State Park is just outside Madison. Riding through the park in the shade of the towering trees was a welcome change from the midday sun. There are several trails in the park leading to waterfalls. We only had time to take one. Hiking in our motorcycle boots wasn't the most comfortable but seeing the falls made it worth it.


Ah, chivalry is not dead!

How sweet of my hubby to hold that giant boulder up out of the way so I could continue down the path.


This picture of the falls does not do justice to the actual beauty of the scene. I couldn't get far enough away to get a nice picture of the falls without it being covered by trees. The sound of the water was so relaxing. It truly is a special place. The park would be a great place to camp if you're a camper (I am, but my family's not). If you ever get the chance, head down to Madison.
http://www.oldmadison.com/

Adoption news: There's none to share. The lawyer who is going to try and get our court date moved up gets back from his vacation tomorrow. You can bet I'll be sending him a message reminding him............................we're still waiting.

I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Back To Everyday Life

I've had a hard time talking myself into posting something new on this blog. I don't want to take away from the needs of the children of **** *******. Sooooooooo, I've started another blog, (web address deleted to protect Nola) and hopefully you will visit there and follow our fundraising efforts. I added a link over on the right to make that easier I just wish it was more noticeable. The donations are starting to come in and I will update that site weekly. If you would like to donate, we hope to have our first shipment leaving the end of June.

There is good news on the adoption front (not our adoption front). Our good friends Danny and Brittney have gotten a favorable ruling from the judge and their case is going back to PGN. They had a court date Friday and the Judge made her ruling yesterday. That is certainly something to WOOOOHOOOO about!

Lets pray that little Kinsey is home with her Mami and Papi very soon!
Don't you just love that hair!!!

http://babygirlreyher.blogspot.com/



Now, on to the family stuff I've been neglecting. So much goes on in a family our size.

On April 19th, my number four child turned 17! Unbelievable! Happy Birthday Kelsey!

Then it was prom time. Doesn't she look beautiful!!! And her date was quite handsome! Our pink dogwood tree made the perfect backdrop for pictures on the porch.




The day I had been anticipating (and fearing) finally came, May 2nd, our mini marathon day! We drove up to Indy the evening before so we could miss that hour and a half drive the day of the race. We all ate dinner at Max and Erma's (yummy) then it was off to our hotel. Upon our arrival, we found out the hotel sold our rooms that we had reserved months before and confirmed the night before. Luckily, there was a hotel with some open rooms not too far away. That in itself was a miracle! Race day was just perfect, cool and partly cloudy. We couldn't have asked for better. We started the race in corral X. That means we were way, way back in the field of starters. It actually took us 26 minutes and 10 seconds to get to the starting line after the race had started. There were around 35,000 racers. It was an awesome experience! I finished in 3 hours and 13 minutes. I walked of course with my two walking buddies Alice and Michelle. We averaged 14 min, 45 sec miles. My goal was to complete the race in 15 minute miles or less and WE DID IT!!!!! I have a medal to prove it! All in all it was a great experience!


We just finished updating our homestudy for the second time during this adoption. Paperwork............what a joy! Hope you can sense the sarcasm. The lawyer we contacted to see if he can get our court date moved up will be back from his European vacation on the 29th. He promised to do his best to help us as soon as he gets back. I pray he can get the job done. Our little Nola needs something good to happen. I'm so worried about her mental and emotional state. No child should have to endure the life altering changes she has experienced in the short time she's been in this world. I'm praying God will heal her little broken heart quickly and completely when we get her home.

Please continue your prayers. All of the children caught up in this mess need to be remembered along with all of those who may not have an opportunity to have a happy forever home.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

HELP FOR ORPHANS OF GUATEMALA

Thanks to everyone who has offered to help make the lives of the children in "the hogar" a little brighter. I've been trying to figure out the best way to ship supplies and donations but I feel like I'm wasting time. Those details can be ironed out as we take in donations and see what kind of shipment we actually have to send.


Here are some facts about the orphanage. There are two houses. The first one is home to 97 children from birth to 6 years of age. The home is overcrowded and understaffed, although the staff seems to be doing their best to care for the children. The biggest need at this house is clothing, shoes and playground equipment. The second house houses 15 special needs children on the first floor and 17 babies from 1 month to 9 months of age on the second floor. The second house needs everything you can think of for babies:


*Bottles
*Nipples
*Pacifiers
*Formula
*Diapers
*Small toys with lights and music
*Exercsaucers (3 or 4)
*Punkin seats or bouncy seats (aprox. 6)
*Baby bed Mobiles (could use 15)
*Soft rubber interlocking floor squares
*(No stuffed animals or cloth toys that can't be wiped down with antibacterial wipes)


I was not allowed to take any pictures of the children but I do have a few pictures of empty rooms. The hogar is clean. The colors of the rooms are bright and cheerful but there are just too many children and not enough staff. Any kind of toys that offer stimulation for the younger children would be a great benefit. Unfortunately they spend way too much time in their beds and their little brains need to be working.


It's hard to tell by this picture, but this is the play area for the first house. It's a concrete slab. There are two rubber balls, three half tires sticking out of the ground, a small plastic slide and a baby swing. That's the extent of their playground equipment.


This is a typical bedroom. As you can see, it's full of beds. Each bedroom I saw was completely full of rows of beds with just enough room to walk around each row. Most rooms had a rocking chair where the room mother could sit. The day I was there, each room mother I saw was holding and rocking a sick child. With so many children in such a small space, they can't help but pass along their sickness to each other.


This is their little dining room. There were 18 little chairs around this table and it's the only one in the room. I can't imagine 18 toddlers sitting down and sitting still at a table like this but I guess if they want to eat, they learn to sit and sit still.

It no longer makes sense to ask why our little Nola has been placed here. I've seen for myself the need of these children and I have to do all I can to help them.

Small items can be sent relatively easy. Our friends Danny and Brittney are traveling down the end of June and have offered to take an extra suitcase full of donations with them. I'm sure I'll be traveling down again sometime soon and I will take all I can with me. It might make more sense to purchase large items while in Guatemala. We'll just wait and see how shipping fees turn out.

If you would like to donate items (new or gently used) send them to:


Shelburn First Baptist Church

520 West Mill Street

Shelburn, IN 47879


Monetary donations in the form of check or money order can also be sent to the church.

Please be sure you put Guatemala or Guatemala Orphanage on the memo line.

If you have a specific way you would like the money to be used, just enclose a note with your wishes.

I would love to outfit the playground with some Little Tikes play houses or something similar and some ride or pedal toys. The children will be so grateful for anything we send. They currently have nothing so anything we send will be wonderful.

I'll keep you all updated with lists of items donated.

Gordon Mote - Don't Miss the Glory