God does not lead us places...

God does not lead us places that he doesn't intend to carry us thru.

Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you

2 Chronicles 20:17

Today's church service was a blessing in many ways. Today Sam was healthy and ready to go to church. Last week, he was SO sick. We are thankful that his flu has passed. He is napping right now and has had a good day. Friends of ours from church dedicated their son to the Lord today. His name is Elisha Drew, he was a rare muscular disease and the outlook if fairly grim. Their testimony was strong, and they played a song that was very good. It spoke of the children being in God's hands - we must have faith in Him.

We also celebrated Andre today. He is the son of Val and Greg - Dan's cousins. He has SCIDS which affects his immune system. We are close to Val and Greg and Andre is special to us. He is always so glad to see Sam. They have been called to go to Maryland to do and experimental treatment known as Gene Therapy for Andre. This is the best shot for Andre to have a normal immune system. It will be about a 6 month stay. We will miss them a lot. I encouraged Val to set up a site like this for us all the keep in contact.

Both of these families have a lot of important medical decisions to make for their children. It is amazing though, their testimonies reminded us to embrace God. He will carry us through these decisions. Hence, we know that God did not bring us so far in this adoption process to abandon our 2nd chosen child - we will carry on with God's strength.

Prayer and Blessings go out to Elisha and Andre.


Today we are climbing a short hills

Posted on Yahoo Sept 29

You know the short hills on a roller coaster - we talked last night and decided to proceed with our adoption. That is our decision today - beware, things can change. I hate for everyone to have to ride the coaster together, but who knows, maybe these kids that come home from Guatemala will love amusment parks! Dan and I spent some time in prayer together about this on Thurs. PM and we both had a peace about proceeding yesterday.
There are many more families that face the same decision (some more difficult) than we do. Please also keep them in your consideration also. Our chat group has been nothing short of tremendous at this time of turmoil. Everyone is extrememly positive and supportive. It is nice because they are going thru the exact same emotions/fears/joys.
We have our dossier in hand! Prior to the news on thurs, i would have already made our copies and sending it to FITA today! I know am hoping that the weekend will allow us some time to make the best decision for ourselves~

Good Thing I Like Roller Coasters?

Posted to Yahoo Sept 28

I don't like them that much, but it is the only way I know how to start this entry. I have been through an international adoption and know they are a roller coaster, but this is the biggest hill we have faced to date. It is difficult for me to post, but think it will help sort thru the options.
We have received information from the US Government issuing a warning about proceeding with Guatemalan Adoptions. Until now, we understood that as long as our power of attorney was in Guatemala prior to 12/31/07 that our lawyer would be able to proceed on our behalf. News yesterday suggests that all adoptions not complete by 1/1/08 will be stopped. This could mean that if we accept a referral then we could wait indefinitely to bring our child home.
I called Dan at work yesterday in a panic and we discussed it a bit. I am so thankful for him because he brings such rational viewpoints to an irrational situation. His point: At this very moment, we do not have to make a decision. We have a couple of weeks to decide. What we do from here is this: we get our dossier back from the consulate (today), submit it and our I171 to FTIA (our agency), and be placed on the list for a referral. Then it is decision time. We must choose whether to take a referral at that moment or wait until adoptions are more stable in Guatemala.
This brings up a whole new set of issues. If we accept a referral, we will have the joy in our heart that we have been waiting to fill. We will have a brother for Sam from his birth country. We however we will be fully committed to this child. Shortly after receiving Sam's referral, we felt an undeniable bond, even before seeing him at 10 weeks old. There is a slim chance that adoptions will be halted permanently and we will not be able to bring our child home. Our child may also be older that we would hope and bonding would begin later than we had planned for. While waiting, I know that a large piece of my heart and mind will be in Guatemala.
On the flip side, if we decide not to take a referral at this time: our application would remain on the waiting list and at any time that adoptions to Guatemala are open and we feel we are ready, we can request a referral. This could be weeks, months, or heaven forbid years. We do run the chance that we may never realize our dream of a brother for Sam from Guatemala. I am dealing with God's plan right now. It could mean that this is not God's plan. He may have another plan for Sam's family. Also, we are emotionally invested in this adoption already. We have dreamed of our family set with 2 handsome little boys - it is difficult to give up that dream, even to put in on hold.
I ask that you think of us as we weigh the options that we have. We read all updates that we can surrounding Guatemalan adoptions. We rely heavily on our adoption agency and their expert opinions and on our FTIA chat group. We pray that God's plan will be revealed to us very soon.
My mind says wait, but my heart says move forward

Feelings about Baby G

Posted to Yahoo Sept 26

All day yesterday, I had this giddiness. Now, it could be that I was excited to be out of the house after being home with poor Sam for the 4th day in a row. But, I have more of a mother's intuition that it was something very positive that was happening in Baby G's life. I don't generally make thoughts like this known. But this one is strong. Thoughts like: birthday? day he was placed with foster family? I'm not sure...probably won't ever know. But, Sam woke up a 1/2 ago (4am) or so and these feelings were strong enough that I couldn't go back to sleep. All day yesterday as I took prescriptions from doctors and dated them, I kept feeling like 9/25 should be significant...[For Nakia, who reads this blog everyday 9/25 is Sam's 21 mo birthday, but for Christine, I am not supposed to count month birthday's anymore.] These girls I work with - they keep me on my toes!
I had lunch with Jessica yesterday. Her son Jason is 6 mo. She asked about my feelings for this baby. They are of pure excitement. I am not apprehensive, worried or anxious - I am calm and ready to see his face. In contrast to Sam, I was worried about his health, his looks (more so than I should have been, it seemed totally out of my control - now he is gorgeous!), his safety, our response, the foster family, the birthmother.... the list goes on. I am sure some of those concerns are yet to surface. But my feelings center around the milestones that an adoptive mother celebrates until I can bring him home. We will focus on referral, POA for our Guatemalan attorney, DNA match, visit trip, family court, PGN, and finally having our son in our arms forever. I will let my mind wander to the time that have 2 sons, brothers for life. I can see them running in our yard, digging in the dirt, using the unfinished basement as a race track (like we did at my cousin Stacy's house), and having little spats. But, most importantly knowing that they have a common beginning in Guatemala and common endpoint in our arms. I feel OK letting my mind wander there... I did not feel as comfortable with these feelings for Sam. It didn't seem totally real until he was in my arms. I think this adoption my be harder emotionally during the wait. I now know what it is like to love a child for your own, so it will be much harder not to have this one ASAP. But, I trust God's timing, it was perfect for Sam.
I have prayed earnestly for the birth mother, that she may find a peace and calmness and that she will find the strength to go on.
As, for our chosen child, my prayers go out for his safety and development until we can bring him home!
Posted to Yahoo - Sept 26

4am - not sleeping. Had a lot of that lately, but tonight for a good reason! Sam is feeling a little better. I got a smile from him tonight. I had a short time in between work and my local service sorority meeting, Tri Kappa. I sat on the floor beside his favorite chair and read to him. He loves the "That's not my...Lion, Truck, Tractor, etc." series of books from Usborne. Anyway we got the the scratch paws part and he smirked. Breakthrough, I am used to getting those smiles (usually laughs out loud) anytime and anywhere.
To regress, we ended up going down the pediatrician's office on Sunday evening to get some IV fluids. Our pediatrician is awesome, to save us all the hassle (time and $) of the ER visit, he started an IV in his office with mom and dad as nurses! We were in and out with 1hr 15min. Needless to say, I thought Monday AM we would wake up with our new little man. Not so much, he was still very lethargic and ate very little on Monday. He screamed when he tried to walk and his diarrhea was not any better! Good news though, when dad came home to tag team with mom, he was feeling a little better. I went to work from 4p-9p (usually my Mondays are 8a-9p). Tues am, he was good enough to try the babysitter again. We took him and he did well all day. Kendra said he didn't get into much trouble, he laid on the couch and watched videos all day. At one point, he went into the toy room to play and she hadn't heard much, so she went to check on him and he was laying on the floor, eyes open, just resting. That is not my child. He goes until we force him to take a nap! I almost cried when she told me that, but she said he was doing well. This has been a pretty bad stomach virus. I kept tell those little virus boogers to leave my son alone.
Big prayers that Sam is on the mend....
Posted to Yahoo Sept 23

Sam is still feeling crummy. I called the pediatrician last night and he called in some nausea medication. I went down to WB to pick up the medicine and gave it to Sam. He has not vomitied since 2pm yesterday, but he is soooooooo lethargic. He has slept probably 23 of the last 24 hours - no exagaration. I am worried about him. He continues to be indifferent except when we move him, he moans.
I called the pediatrician this morning and this afternoon, they said he was in a conference. I feel like if we go the the ER, we are going around him. But, I am worried about Sam. Hopefully his Dr. will call back in the next hour - if not I think we will go. Then I feel guilty that we didn't take him earlier today. I don't want to be overreactive -or the opposite. This parenting thing includes a lot of guilt and big decisions.
I keep talking to Sam and saying prayers on his behalf. I would much rather be feeling bad and have Sam healthly!
Posted to Yahoo Sept 22

Sam the little man has the flu bug. He has been sleeping all day. Yesterday, Sam's sitter, Kendra, called me to leave work early because he was not doing well. I came home and comforted him until 5p when Grandma Jean got off work. She stayed with Sam until 9p. I returned to work, everyone else had other Friday night plans. Thanks Grandma Jean - and Happy Birthday - we will have to share cake another day....
He remains sick today and has slept almost all day. Dan the man was on a golf trip with his buddies in Indy and just got home. Daddy is holding Sam now. He does continue to drink fluids, but it has been awhile since a wet diaper. He won't even look at food. Say a prayer for little man, I told him I would rather be sick for him.
I did mail off the dossier yesterday to Denise Hope - she will take it to the consulate for authentication and send it back to us. I sent the documents UPS, I got to the counter and there were 2 men behind me. It took awhile to get all the options straight for our shipment and the gentlemen were soooo patient. I thanked them and the clerk when I left. I love it when an encounter with strangers is so positive - it is encouraging.
I got some laundry and more adoption papers done today while Sam was resting. Hope he feels better tomorrow.
Posted to Yahoo - Sept 20

We have our documents back. I am sure over the next few weeks God's ultimate plan will be revealed! We waited during this delay for a very good reason I am certain! I have also found a great service in Chicago that I will use to get our certification for the consulate. Can you hear me breathe a sigh of relief outloud - ppffeww....
Dan is in Indy these next few days for a golf outing with friends. He goes up every year with about 12 guys from Loogootee. He has a great time. This year our friend Chris Eash is going to join them for a couple of rounds! I talked ot Toni Eash yesterday, she was excited about the paperwork being returned. They just bought a new rental home. The housing market is really soft in Indy right now. They are buying renting through the soft market and may sell them later! I love to talk to Chris and Toni and Sam loves them too!
Sam and I made 2 vegetable pizza for a spiritual walk that occurs this time of year at Camp Illiana. Christine is working the Walk this year -so we also made her some cards of support.
Sam and I are going to drive to Evansville today. If all goes well, we will stop at FTIA, our adoption agency. They love to see the kids... off for now.
Posted to Yahoo Sept 14

I don't really like to work weekends! I am not sure why, when I was picking my career as a pharmacist, that I thought it would be great to work weekends. Now, it does afford me the luxury to have a day off with Sam through the week. I love that time off, but when my weekend to work comes around, I still don't like it! Anyway, I will put in my time today.
Sam is going to split time today between grandma and aunt Christine. Dan is going to Branchville prison with the praise and worship band from church. He plays the drums.
I am obviously obsessed with adoption papers right now (rightfully so). I checked the tracker, still no change. I did find a woman who lives in Chicago that will take the papers and return them next day -so, when we get these stinking papers back (because we will...) I will have her take them. Thank goodness for the adoption chat group - it is very helpful in times like this!
Off to work
Posted to Yahoo Sept 13

Sam's Uncle Scott had a birthday yesterday. We went to his house to celebrate with him. Blake, Morgan and Cole made him a cheesecake. Polly called and we put her on speaker phone and we all sang happy birthday! Then we all ate cake together. I mentioned that Sam was saying Scott now, he said it last night, and he was a hit!
Prayers go out to my cousin Natalie who is facing a difficult time right now and to my Aunt Polly who is facing a surgery soon.
Dan had a class in Eville for work today so Sam and I rode along. We were strolling thru the mall and passed a small kids ride and Sam said "I ride". Wow! It was very clear - so we rode. I don't resist well! Does anyone else fall the Gymboree gymbuck thing? I got all caught up in it today and spent 10 more dollars once I got to the register -defeats the purpose of saving money,eh? LOL... We went and picked up Dan from his class and ate lunch together at a great Italian place and sat outside - it is a beautiful fall day today!
Still no news on the adoption papers......
Posted to Yahoo Sept 12

Well, it is indeed 3am, can't sleep. Sam woke up due to a very loud train that just went thru town about 30 minutes ago! Anyway, when I tried to lay back down, thoughts of the new adoption ran thru my head. I feel such an urgency to retreive these doucuments. I have scanned the internet for some help with the USPS, but to no avail. There are lots of complaints logged, but don't seem to be any answers to help on problems. I will call again tomorrow or Thurs. I check the USPS document tracker so often that I have the number 20 digit tracking number memorized!
Sam is repeating a lot of words right now. My favorite is Scott (my brother) it comes out "Cot", but he will repeat it over and over. Even when I say another word he says "Cot". Too cute!
We are meeting with the contractor tomorrow(well later today, he,he) to go over the renovations on the new home. Hope that goes well! Better try to go get some zzzz's.
Posted on Yahoo Sept 8

How could a room that is so little cause us so much grief? And why did they make it that small to begin with? This is the hall/kids bath in our new home. You literally have to back in and drive back out - no room to turn around! And the master bath is no bigger...
We thought we would renovate this portion of the house to fix the problem, but along with the kitchen renovation - we may be in over our heads! We will talk to the contractor, but think we may need to rethink our plans.
On a good note, we are celebrating our 7th anniversary tonight. Sam is going to Grandma's and Dan and I are going to spend the evening together. I am looking forward to it. One year ago this weekend was the 1st time we left Sam after bringing him home. We went to Bloomington for dinner that night.
Sam said yucky and Elmo today. He loves yucky - he kept saying it!
Posted to Yahoo on Sept 6

So today I am not overly fond our our postal system. I called today to find out as much as I could on our adoption documents. I called the USPS help desk and spoke to a representative that told me that there wasn't much I could do, until I asked to speak to a manager, etc. At first she refused, but come on - the first person that answers the phone can't be the top dog, right?
She said that the documents were marked undeliverable on Aug 23 and it could be a month for them to return - I told her that was unacceptable! Well, it is? Where does it go - on someone's desk? I mean just send it back - it is not valuable to anyone but me at this point. However it is disconcering because it has a lot of private info, etc. Anyway by the end of the conversation she had filed a complaint with consumer affairs - should get a call from them today or tomorrow. I also tried to call Chicago Post Office where it is supposedly located and no one answered - I call 4 different numbers. Oh by the way - she verfied the address that I put on the package- it was correct! No headway here...
On the homefront, I met with the custom cabinet guy today- he is working up a quote for us. The quote from the contractor should be here tomorrow as well. I priced appliances from a local dealer, too. I brought home some boxes from work , but they are still empty! LOL.
Posted to Yahoo Sept 5

We received an email from our adoption agency that they are no longer accepting applications for adoption thru the Guatemala progam at this time. Our appliation has been in for a while, so this does not affect us. It however does put a fear in me. I want to have a baby in mind so that i can begin to specifically praying for our new little man. More phone calls to the post office tomorrow, I am still waiting to hear on our documents....
Posted to Yahoo Sept 3

I have been lucky enough to have 5 days off in a row with my little man. By the picture taken yesterday, he is not so little anymore! I have had so much fun. We have worked on potty training, animal sounds, more body parts, please and thank you, and saying prayers. He likes the animal sounds the best, although he doesn't always say the right sound for the right animal!
Sam's new favorite thing is the refrigerator. He opens it and stands there and looks and makes noises. Uughh and oohh over all the contents. He will bring me the mustard and then a slice of cheese (he doesn't like either one). I am going to have to find a child lock - the cooling bill will go up other wise!
I shed a few tears last night. Our relator came and we signed the papers to list our current home on the market. I was fine until he came back a few minutes later with a for sale sign! I cried until Dan and Sam and I went for a short walk. The cool summer air made me feel better! This is Sam's first home and he likes it. I asked him this morning if he would like his new home too and he grunted. He is really into saying No right now -so I will take the grunt as a good sign!
Jill and I finished up the rental home today. We painted the kitchen and bathroom. It goes on the market tomorrow. It is right next to our home now...which one will sell first????? We are listing them at the same price!
We went to see both Grandpa Great's today. They love to see Sam. Grandpa Stoll was really tired, but he gave Sam some candy. Grandpa Graber was outside getting the farm equipment ready for harvest. Sam's cousin Dryce's new house is coming along very nice. They have been working hard on it.
So here's a photo of our new home! We are excited about our new place. It is on 10 acres - so we have our own little piece of paradise! We bought a new refrigerator today. Thought we would share. We are enjoying our Labor Day holiday!
Posted on Yahoo Aug 31

I called the USPS again today, but to no avail....Our local postmaster does not know anything - this means they have conveniently lost my paperwork for 1 month. And, it is a holiday weekend, so now what??? I am remaining calm, just when I really think about it...my stomach starts to rumble a bit.
Sam and I are working on animal sounds. He does the cow and duck really good. He opens his mouth to growl for a lion, but nothing comes out. So cute.
We went to Sears and Home Depot today to shop for appliances. Our contractor said to pick these out and get measurements to our cabinet builder so that the plans can begin. Sam was so good. He even took a one hour nap while I was in home depot!
Tomorrow night, we are going to French Lick with Will and Jill, no kids. We will eat out and the go to the casino boat. I am looking forward to this. We will work on the rental house on Monday to get it back into shape.
Posted on Yahoo Aug 30

I trust that God has a plan for our family. I really do. I was not as good about fully trusting his plan while we waited for Sam. I knew in my heart that Sam would come home at the right time, I did question his timing a lot though. In the end, here were the dates that are forever etched in my mind and I know that it was all God's timing.
December 25, 2005 - Sam's birthday - I had a burning desire to know what we were doing when Sam was born - God chose this date for our baby to be born, pretty sure I can recall what was going on this day!
Aug 16, 2006 - Day we held Sam in our arms forever(pick up trip) - also our friend MonteLee's bday
Aug 18, 2006 - Sam's embassy day - The day my grandfather passed away
Aug 24, 2006 - Arrival to our home in the US - The day of my mom's passing 9 year earlier.
So, it goes to reason that I would be really good at trusting God's timing. Today I am wavering a little. We sent our final dossier off to the Guatemalan Consulate in Chicago on August6, 07. We had our fingerprint appt on Aug 16 - I began to wonder where I dossier was, but knew we had to wait on our fingerprint clearance. Low and behold, I fingerprint clearance came in record time -4 days! But no dossier, I began tracing our missing dossier last Wed. One week and a day later, I know that it is logged in the USPS system, but is undeliverable as addressed. Fine, return it to me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We cannot seem to get it back. Our local postmaster is on the case, but I really need this paperwork to be approved. By all rights, we should be on the waiting list for baby 2.
I had my heart set on a referral for Sept - doesn't look like that is going to happen. This is a disappointment, I do though trust and with the constant reminder of my husband that God is hand selecting our child.
This leads me to consider all that is occurring in Guatemala. I pray feverishly for our unborn or soon to be born child. For his health and protection. I pray for his birth mother, that she may find an inner peace and know that she is making the right decision. I hope she cares for herself well and seeks the support of her family. I pray that our little boy is placed in a wonderful loving foster home, just like Sam's.
I remember praying for these things for Sam, but I don't remember the urgency. I think because now that Sam is home, I know what it is to be a mom. To worry or celebrate every move he makes every new discovery and to know how important good beginnings really are for a child.
I pray that God is selecting the right little man to be our son and Sam's brother, and I trust fully that he is. I also trust that he will get that paper work mailed back to us, so we can move forward!
Posted on Yahoo Aug 30

We own a nice home - wonder why we couldn't just leave it a that?
House #1 - Since the time we moved into our current home 5 years ago, we knew we would need more space someday. But the more we lived in the space, the more it adapted to fit our needs. About 3-4 weeks ago a nice property came on the market (House #2), so we went and looked at it. It is on 10 beautiful acres, but the home seemed to need some renovation. It was not priced so that we could do the renovations. We put it out of our minds.
House #3 -In the mean time, a property that Dan and I and my brother Will and his wife Jill had bought together over a year ago, came back into our hands because the contract to sell it fell thru. We will do a little fix up on it this weekend and put it back on the market.
House #4 -We then decided that since we were thinking of options for our future home, we would take our ideas for building our dream home to a friend of ours to draw up some plans.
Fast forward one more week - the sellers on House #2 home dropped the asking price, so we decided to take Dan's parents to look at it and talk about the cost of renovations. They liked it, but we were reluctant to commit right away. We were told there was not a lot of other interest in the property. Several days later, we thought it could not hurt to put in a low offer to see if the seller was motivated.
Dan called a previous co-worker to see about a mortgage and he says - I'll sell you my house. This becomes House #5 (Which of course is a nice place- move in ready).........when Dan called me this this info - I about burst! We did go and look at House #5 the next night, but decided that if we could get House #2 for a reasonable deal then that was our home! The next day the seller accepted our offer - and today I am meeting with the contractor to see about renovations on our new home!!!!
Yesterday we bought what we hope to be our dream home!
My brother says there should never be that many homes in the mix!!
Posted on Yahoo Aug 25

We had a mexican fiesta tonight for Sam. Yesterday marked one year that he has been home with us! We invited our close family and friends to celebrate with us. We had a lot of fun - complete with a pinata! The kids loved to taco bar and the candy from the pinata. My nephew Cole did not waste anytime busting the donkey. I think to loud boom scared the younger kids at first, but they scrambled for the candy. Our friends Chris and Toni drove down just for the party (2hours!) They also went with us on our pick up trip for Guatemala last year. Daddy got Sam a big cookie to celebrate the occasion. I asked for it to say, Sam. He forgot what I asked for...and the cookie said, Thank you Sam for a year of sweet blessings! I almost cried when I read it! I could not have said it any better. Daddy scored big points for that one~! Sam got a new tricycle/chopper (it converts, really neat)! He rode it a lot and loved all the company. Thanks everyone for a great time!

Happy Birthday MonteLee!

Posted on Yahoo Aug 16

Four years ago today our friend MonteLee was born! She is having a birthday party tonight and we plan on stopping by to see her!
One year ago today we had Sam in our arms forever! We arrived in Guatemala on Aug 16, 2006 and met with our awesome foster family and they brought Sam to us. The foster family had a really hard time, but we were so excited to see Sam that it did not affect us as much. We stayed in Guatemala for almost a week, so we invited the foster family back to the hotel for an afternoon while we were there. Now it was our turn, I bawled and bawled when they left the hotel. I had my chance to rebond with Sam and now I knew they were leaving! Those emotions are so real, it is hard to believe it has been a year ago!
I am working on party details for Sam's one year home celebration! We are planning a get together at our house to celebrate Sam!
Tomorrow, Aug 17 , we go to Louisville at 7am for our fingerprint appointment for Johnson (our pet name for baby #2). Sam is having a sleepover at with cousin Dryce at Grandma's. He will love it!
Other than that, I am enjoying my day off!!!!
Posted in Yahoo Sunday Aug 12

Fun summer weekend
The Graber's had a fun filled weekend - and look forward to many more! We had our annual church campout and a golf outing for Ashley's company. Both were great fun. The highlight was our trip to Holiday World in Santa Claus, IN! Sam absolutely loved it. He especially loved the water park - good thing it was 96 today so we need to be in the water! For the amusment park, Sam needed a buddy. Good thing we are in the process for our second adoption from Guatemala!!!!! The adoption process has begun. Just like the rides at the park - hurry up and then wait. We will do that many times through this process - but hey, we are seasoned pros. Sam is excited to be a big brother!
So I decided to switch blog spots. I like the options this site offers more. Figured I really like this posting thing. It is the longest I have kept a diary yet...like a virtual scrapbook of our lives. But I have a lot of posts from my previous site. I think I will move them over so that I can have them in one spot. Bear with me as I add them today. More to come!