About Me

My photo

I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother.  Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing.  Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.

Surviving the Valley Series

Surviving the Valley Series
Click on the card to order or read the reviews

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Living for the moment

We've been home for almost two weeks now, and life has definitely been filled with a variety of interesting moments.  I'm learning to just take each moment as it comes.  We've had fun moments, funny moments, frustrating moments, serious moments--all memorable moments that I don't want to forget.

Fun moments have included watching the boys play Wii together for hours on end, getting to teach Juan David new things and watching him soak in absolutely everything about his new environment.  I've had a blast listening to my biological child suddenly speak a ton of Spanish in his own home, a language that he's always been so resistant to.  We had a lot of fun taking Juan David to his first "garage sale" two doors down.  We scrounged up about $3-4 in change before we went and came home with water shoes that he'd been wanting, school supplies from David's list, an organizational caddy that I needed for paperwork in the kitchen, a full-sized working George Foreman grill that we've actually been looking to replace our old one for several months, and even some supplies for my new PreK classroom!  Later we went back with $2 more and came home with a bunch of little balls, a game, and a few other little odds and ends that David wanted.  Even later yet, Mike went back with David and came home with a free ping-pong table!  We truly have no room for the ping-pong table, but we figured the boys can play it out on the back porch until they get bored with it, and then we can sell it or pass it on.  I'd say we did pretty good for the $5 in change that we had in the house. :)  He's quickly learning how we live--not on much, but God always multiplies the little that we have.

Besides having fun, we've had quite a few laughs.  The main ones have been over his reaction to food.  I never knew baked potatoes should be eaten like a hot dog.  Anything in a tortilla is now a taco.  I handed him a bag of microwave popcorn for a snack, and he had no idea what it was.  Never seen anything like it.  A friend told me to start writing it all down, so I'll try to make a point to write down our daily "funnies".

Then there are times of frustration that abound, like watching David struggle through having to share things that have always been his, watching Juan David arrogantly assume that David and I must cater to his Spanish rather than him even trying to learn much English at this point, knowing that my boys have been raised so completely different yet now trying to parent them in a similar way, or just hearing details about the "damage" of the last five years that we need to attempt to undo (things/ways of life that the "last family" taught him).  It's also been frustrating trying to keep his tummy full while we're still trying to catch up financially from all of the expenses in Colombia. 

Yet in the midst of all the fun and games and daily frustrations, those serious moments seem to creep up when you least expect them, those moments when you stand back in awe and remember just what a miracle you're living through.  Yesterday Mike and David spent a day together at Six Flags with our two free tickets, while Juan David and I had the day to ourselves.  He went to the dentist with me, later helped me move out of my old classroom into my new one, we went out to eat together, and finally we went out on the porch to play some ping-pong. Yet a simple game turned into a massive spilling of his heart about what's gone on in his life over the last five years.  (The psychologists in Colombia warned us that he's had a very hard time talking about it, so we needed to be prepared for him to not open up willingly.) He just started talking and didn't stop...... I learned so much as God kept filling in more missing pieces for me, and I got to fill in missing pieces for him.  Once again I learned just how much he loves his brother and sister, and just how much they have sacrificed for one another because of that love.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Diet changes

This week has been interesting in the diet area.  I've learned that anything eaten in a hamburger bun is called a hamburger--whether it's chicken, turkey burgers, sloppy joes, or just ham and cheese.  So, we've been having a lot of "hamburgers" all week.

We introduced him to sweet corn, and he wasn't quite sure about the change in taste.  All he could say was that the corn in his country has a much saltier flavor.  We also introduced him to a loaded baked potato last night.  That one completely threw him for a loop.  First, because I cooked the potatoes in the microwave (hey, I'm not about to heat up my house by using a hot oven in the middle of near hundred degree weather).  He thought I was the strangest person ever.  Then when we showed him how to load up his potato and eat it, he preferred to just pick it up and eat it like a hot dog.  We told him people might think he's a bit strange, and he said, "Hey.  I'm with family.  When I'm around other people, I'll eat it the correct way."

Yesterday we also introduced him to muffins.  I made my "famous" banana bread recipe, but in muffins instead of bread.  Since muffins look like cupcakes, he didn't like it at first because he thought he was eating a dry, plain cupcake without the necessary frosting on top.  That led into a whole other discussion on the difference between muffins and cupcakes.  After that, he liked the muffins.  

Transitioning him into American mealtimes and quantities has not been easy.  He finds himself hungry--all the time.  I'm finding that increasing his food intake during the day doesn't help at all, though, because by nine or ten at night, he's still starving.  Hopefully his body begins to adjust by the time school starts! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Upside down

I'm feeling a bit mixed up and upside down these days.  So glad to be back in the land of familiar, back in my house, driving my car, taking baths, and sleeping in my own bed.  Yet there's no real sense of normal around here, so I can't say all is familiar.  Our home is divided into two languages with me being the official translator.  David is learning what it's like to have a sibling, while Juan David is learning what it's like to live in a quiet, tranquil environment.  Big change for both of them.  My biggest surprise this week was finding out that I'm going to be teaching PreK this coming year instead of second grade.  Not sure how I am feeling about the change yet.  I suppose there will be many pros and cons no matter how I look at it.  I'm quite saddened to be leaving my awesome new Venezuelan teammate that I just gained last year, my amazing second grade team that I worked so well with, and the room I've made my home for the last six years.  I know God had His hand on the decision, though, so it must be time for a change.  I think I will be in shock for the whole first month of school!  Going from 7 year olds to 4 years olds is quite a drop!

We've been home for a solid week now, and I'd say we've done a lot, though we've played it pretty low key.  Juan David is registered for school in a Newcomer program for high school kids.  He's also begun getting caught up on all the shots that were so conveniently "lost" with his shot record in Colombia.  We've introduced him to our church, our discount grocery store--and our budget, our local library, our close friends who live around the corner, to Chick FilA, McDonald's and Cici's Pizza, to his new aunt, uncle, and cousins, and to a rather quiet, family life.  While at home, the Wii has been running almost non-stop between both boys.  Next week we have a full schedule of appointments with dentists and doctors--all those appointments that we try to squeeze into every summer. 

I'd like to say that I've made some progress on my second book, but I think God is telling me I need to wind down and process it all first because I'm struggling through some serious writer's block.  When He puts the rest of the story in my head, I know it will come flowing out.  Who knows when that might be.....

Monday, July 22, 2013

Missing my lil' traveling buddy

Looks like he's having a great time, but I sure do miss the lil' guy.  Coming home tomorrow.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Forever a part of us

Our second night home, we sat down together at the table to eat dinner.  My computer sat on the desk beside the table with various random pictures flashing across the screen.  Pictures from the last four years since I bought the little computer. 

For some reason, Juan David and I both happened to glance over at the computer at the same moment, only to see a picture of his beautiful little sister flash across the screen.  It was a picture that Julian had sent to me over two years after we'd met her, one with her hair all grown out.  One of the most beautiful pictures I'd ever seen of her.

We hadn't even been home with Juan David for 48 hours, and there she was.  Still here.  A reminder that she'll always be in our hearts and that it's okay for her to always be in his.  

Starting a new life

Juan David had his first true English immersion experience last night, and much to his surprise, he enjoyed himself!  We took him to church and gave him a sneak peak of the youth room before the service.  He originally said he was too uncomfortable to go to the class by himself since he doesn't understand any English yet.  So we planned to take him to class with us until David graduates into the youth group in a few weeks. 

However, as the service was getting over, he leaned over to me and said that he wanted to go to his class.  Alone. 

First I had to make sure that there was even going to be a class because barely anyone comes on Saturdays, especially in the summer.  Fortunately, the teacher was on her way, and there was one other girl there.  They played some ping-pong and had a short Bible study that he understood because he had his Spanish Bible with him (a gift from a Baptist church in Bogota).  He remembered all of the books that they read from.  Then they went outside and played a little soccer.  He said he had a really good time, liked the teacher and the small atmosphere, and he's good to go for next week.

He had me quite concerned while still in Colombia because he had absolutely no desire to learn any English.  Thankfully, he's quite interested in learning it now. 

Today, all we have on our agenda is meeting his new cousins--which also means swimming!  Both things completely made his day.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Recap of our final days

What a week!  I'm feeling a bit scattered right now, but I cannot emphasize enough how incredibly happy I am to be home.  I will not hesitate to tell you that I was pretty miserable our last two to three weeks in Colombia.  Don't get me wrong, we had some very memorable experiences in those last three weeks, but I missed home more than I've ever missed home before.  Just the whole fact that you have no control over your schedule, have no ability to plan ahead or even plan your day, and you have no idea when you can go home is psychologically hard and extremely challenging.  Living in Colombia is expensive enough, but when you can't plan ahead, that makes it even more complicated to manage your money well.  Even Colombians went crazy trying to understand that I had no control over my day or my schedule.  Add to that the whole issue of parenting one child way out of his comfort zone and the other who I relied on a little too much to help me out, keeping me from being the parent he needed me to be.  The closer I got to being home, the more agitated I became in trying to wait it out.

We moved out of our apartment on Sunday, even though we'd paid through Monday, so we wouldn't have to worry about the details of getting everything moved on Monday.  We had way too much to do on Monday.  Our friend bought air mattresses and let us "invade" her small apartment for us to finish up the process.  I slept in her daughter's bedroom with her daughter, and the boys slept in the TV room, though they weren't allowed to watch TV.  We ate breakfasts and dinners with them, and we planned to eat our lunches out.  We hoped to only have to stay until Tuesday night.

Monday morning my lawyer called around 9:00 and said that the "conformidad" was ready to be signed anytime that morning.  We got there around ten to review it carefully before signing.  I found one mistake, they corrected it, printed out a new one, and then I found another error on a certain date.  They couldn't find the right date, so while we waited on them to find the right date and correct it, we left with our lawyer and went straight to the passport office.  Juan David's passport was ready and waiting for us, so we picked it up and then found a secure place to go pay our lawyer.  We also found an internet cafe where I could try to get in touch with Mike or our agency to get the document we needed with the correct date.  Within an hour or two, the agency e-mailed me the document, we hopped in a taxi to take us right back to where we were, and walked the document back up to the office.  They changed the date to the correct date, printed out a new "conformidad", and I signed it.  They put all the official stickers on it, then sent me on my way.

After that, we called the Embassy doctor to say that we were coming to pick up the results now that we had his passport.  They had said the week before that we could pick up the results between 3-5, but when we called, they said we had to arrive before 5, but they couldn't give us the report until 6:30.  So, we hopped back into a taxi, stopped for some ice cream, and made it to the Embassy doctor before five.  We waited until about six until they gave us the report.  After that we went to drop off two documents with the translator and finally made it back home between 7-8 that night.  I went to bed with a splitting headache about two to three hours later.

Our lawyer requested an appointment with the Embassy for what we hoped would be Tuesday.  Everything was done, except for picking up/paying for the translations, and we wanted to go home.  Mike got us seats on the midnight flight for Tuesday, just in case.  By nine a.m. on Tuesday, the lawyer called to tell me he was still waiting on our appointment time.  He suggested I call since I am a citizen, but when I did, they told me I couldn't call until 2:00 in the afternoon. I asked about coming without an appointment, and they told me it would be very unlikely that they would talk to me.  Our friend drove us to pick up the translations around noon, so we tried to go to the Embassy, anyway, while we were out.  By that time, the lawyer called to say our appointment was not until Wednesday at 2:00, but we tried to get them to change it to Tuesday.  Just as the lady told me on the phone, though, they wouldn't let us in without an appointment.  We went back home, sorely disappointed.  I soooooooooo wanted to be home already.

Thanks to Delta, we didn't have to worry about any change fees, so Mike changed our flights to Wednesday at midnight, and we just hoped to be on that flight.  If we didn't get Juan David's visa at our 2:00 appointment, David would not make it back in time for camp on Friday morning.  Just a little added stress, that's all.

We woke up on Wednesday morning, packed our bags, and left mid-morning for our appointment with the Embassy.  We ate lunch out at our favorite restaurant and then headed to our appointment.  They let us right in this time, called Juan David right away, and took his fingerprints.  The guy said he couldn't print the visa without getting the results from his fingerprints, but he said since it was still early in the day, we'd likely have the results within a little over an hour.  Two and a half hours later, they called him again, gave him his passport with his Immigrant Visa in it, and said we could go.  Finally, we were cleared to go home!!!!

We got back to our friends' apartment by about 5:30, gathered our bags, and headed out the door to the airport by 7:30.  We spent up the rest of our money at the airport before boarding our plane at 11:30 that night.  By midnight, we were in the air, finally on our way HOME!  It felt grand.  We could hardly wait!  With having to get our bags, go through customs, and then turn in more of Juan David's paperwork with immigration, we barely made our connecting flight in Atlanta.  However, by 8:30 in the morning, we made it to DFW and finally got to be a complete family again.

We stopped for Chick Fil-A, headed home, and then unpacked, did laundry, and repacked David's suitcase for camp the following day.  Less than 24 hours after getting home, he left for camp, for an EPIC adventure.  I'm so glad he got to go!  After watching him sacrifice so much of his summer in Colombia, I knew he deserved to go.  I miss him, but I know he's having a blast and making some awesome, English-speaking memories!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Every detail

Here is a picture of our amazing lawyer and his assistant.  I wrote him a card at the very end and told him 
how much I appreciated his humility when he admitted that God was the one in control, not him.  He agreed with me that God only used him as an instrument to accomplish His purpose for Juan David and our family.  Under the picture, I posted the e-mail I got from him after I told him we arrived home.  One of his last sentences states that the presence of God is very evident in our hearts and in our life.  I love how God in His greatness orchestrated every little detail to connect us to this man, one who was not afraid to try something that had never been done before in Colombia.

Hola Familia Alspaugh

Me alegra mucho el feliz regreso a casa, ....
Dios bendiga su hogar y familia en todo....... Son ustedes una familia muy bonita, y se refleja en sus rostros, palabras, trato, tranquilidad, se nota la presencia de Dios en sus corazones y vida....

Muchas Bendiciones

gracias por su confianza muchas gracias....

Seguimos en contacto

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Home sweet home

Nearly five years to the day of meeting him (July 20, 2008), we brought our son, Juan David Alspaugh, home today.  We moved out of our apartment on Sunday and stayed with a friend for our last few days, so I didn't have access to my blog.  I will write more about those final days in Colombia after I've had a bit more time to rest and recover from the trip.  However, I wanted to at least write a short post to share that he is finally here, after all these years.  Words cannot express how happy I am to be home.  My bubble bath felt more luxurious than ever before, and it felt good to be back in my own kitchen, my own laundry room, my own bedroom, and with all of furry children-and of course, with my husband.  I sure did miss him!!!!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

A successful day

Today turned out to be quite a successful day.  Thank you for all of your prayers.  My stomach issues have miraculously passed--I can eat again!!!  We got Juan David's new birth certificate, applied for his new ID card, and got his new passport made.  We ran into quite an unexpected hurdle in the passport office over an issue with his old passport that he used to come to the States five years ago.  Our lawyer had his assistant stay with us while we waited for two hours for Juan David's new name to appear in the system, while he went off to get other things done for us.  He spent the entire morning trying to resolve the passport issue, and by the time he met back up with us, you could tell he was both aggravated and concerned.  He pulled me aside and told me that God was in charge and was with us--that resolving this issue had nothing to do with him or anyone, only God.  In the end, they went ahead and made up his new passport with no delays or lengthy procedures to resolve the first issue. Once again, my lawyer pulled me aside and gave thanks only to God, saying he truly believed that.  To me, that makes him an even better lawyer.

Now all that's left is picking up the passport on Monday morning, passing by the doctor's office to pick up the results from the Embassy exam, and sign one more paper.  Then we meet with the lawyer again for him to organize all of our paperwork to take to the Embassy on Tuesday to get Juan David's visa.  After that, we should be cleared to come home. :)

David and I are so sad to be missing Chick Fil-A's Cow Appreciation Day today (yes, this is a yearly activity for our family--we're glad Mike at least joined my brother's family in the festivities this year), but we are so, so, so excited to be home soon.  Juan David, too.  He can't stop talking about meeting his new cousins and hopefully going swimming in their neighborhood.  He's also excited to meet his dogs and to go shopping for some clothes that fit him (what I bought him was too big, so he's only worn a few outfits over and over and over).  He wears all smalls or even youth large, a size 16 pants, and a size 8 1/2 shoe.  I bought him all adult smalls and mediums, and even the smalls have been too big. 

We're moving out of our apartment on Sunday afternoon to spend a couple days at a friend's house before going home.  So it looks like tomorrow we'll be packing and cleaning.

Thank you again for your prayers especially for my stomach.  I feel better today than I have all week long.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Just a few more days

I woke up today feeling pretty "crappy" (I've had major stomach issues the last few days), so after the boys got up and ate breakfast, I laid down and took another two hour nap.  I was quite discouraged by 10 a.m. that I hadn't heard from my lawyer, so add that to my nerves......David woke me up at 12:30 to make lunch, and I told him to wait until 1:00.  Fifteen minutes later the lawyer called and said, "Come now."  I jumped out of bed, brushed my hair, grabbed the boys, and we headed out.  We met the lawyer a little before 2:00, signed the adoption decree (it's final!!!!), and made a bunch of plans for tomorrow to start getting Juan David's name changed on all of his main documents (birth certificate, ID card, etc.)  If we can get the things accomplished that he hopes to tomorrow and Monday, we may be able to go to the U.S. Embassy by Tuesday, getting us home by Wednesday at the earliest.  The next few days are going to be tricky--hope these stomach issues will go away so I can function at 100%.

I'm just thankful that David will most likely be making it back for church camp by next Friday.  God has been looking out for him, keeping him from missing out on several big events of his life throughout all of this.

Ok, it's been fun, but......

Our friend took us to a "fitness club" here in Bogota so the boys could go swimming.  David finally had enough of his strength back to thoroughly enjoy himself.  
Photo: David feeding the parrots. 
This was David on his last morning before coming back to Bogota.  He sure does love those animals.  Here he was feeding them pomegranites that he picked from the tree right beside the parrot cage.
David chose the human hamster ball while everyone else in the group chose the boats.  Julian is in the first boat, and Juan David is in the green boat.

Photo: David found a friend. 
David with another furry friend he made.
A better, close-up pic of the historical monument in Boyaca
Photo: Changua....quite an interestingly tasty  Colimbian breakfast. 
Changua--a very interesting typical breakfast that Juan David absolutely loves.
Photo: All that food for about $8! 
One of our typical morning breakfasts at the bakery.  We all leave full for less than $8 total.
Photo: My new favorite bakery  :-). 
The bakery has the same name as the church we've been going to!  We are more than happy to support a Christian owned business, especially one that advertises the name of Christ.
Photo: Arequipe sundaes at McD's 
Juan David's first trip to McDonalds.  We told him that with a McDonalds just down the street from our house in Texas, we tend to go there quite a bit for ice cream.
Photo: A little slip n slide action today  :-)
Slip n' Slide at the Christian school on their last day of summer school.  Neither one of them wanted to stop playing in the water that day.

This week has been another one of those waiting weeks.  Our friend took us swimming, had us over for lunch and then later we had Juan David's Embassy medical appointment on Tuesday.  We got there, and no one had any record of our appointment.  My friend who took us talked to all of the doctors and found out that the "appointment" we had wasn't even with the right doctor because that doctor only sees kids 13 and under.  So the right doctor agreed to see him, and we got everything taken care of.  Juan David passed for a healthy adolescent, and he had to get several shots.  The orphanage lost all of his shot records, so we had to start him all over, plus we've got to get the second shot of several of them once we get home before school starts.  

Wednesday morning I called my lawyer, and he said the sentencia (adoption decree) was ready, that he was just waiting on the seal from the judge.  He expected to be able to call me later to meet him to sign it, but alas, that didn't happen.  I called him last night, and he said he's still waiting on the judge.  He gave me the address to meet him and told me what to have with me at all times so that if he calls me at any moment of the day, we will be able to meet up with him to sign it.  Then he'll go with us to get the remaining items (new birth certificate, ID card, passport, and visa--all this can take a few days) so Juan David can successfully enter the United States.  Yesterday morning he seemed hopeful to finish things up this week.  Now it looks like we're into next week since the sentencia wasn't ready yesterday.  Our apartment is only available until Monday, so we are packing things up to at least leave this apartment on Monday.  Our friend has graciously offered to let us stay with her family for our remaining days until we leave so we don't have to stay in a hotel.  What a heart of gold.  God has his hand on us.

We've experienced a lot, we've had a lot of fun (some days), but......

I'm so ready to go home. 

 We all are. Managing expenses with Mike there and us here has gotten quite complicated (especially when he's had to fix my car twice now--first the brakes, now the starter).  Managing as a single mom with a little boy who misses his Daddy incredibly has been difficult. There have been many tearful phone calls. Laying down the law and parenting a teenager without my husband beside me (the father that this child has always needed) has been trying.  I'm spread thin.  Traveling without Mike is one thing.  I love to travel.  Adopting an adolescent child while traveling without Mike is another.  It's not something that I was ever meant to do without him.  We signed up for this together.  I miss him, and I need him by my side.  We need to be home....together.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Our not so fun adventure in the land of Paipa

 The first series of tests, trying to figure out what was going on with David
 Sleeping comfortably in another room while being pumped with pain meds and electrolytes, under observation for possible apendicitis

Friday morning, David woke up feeling fine.  Suddenly he came to me in the kitchen and said, "Mommy, I don't feel so good."  I encouraged him to go lay down until we were ready to leave on our full day of adventures.  We had already paid quite a bit of money to rent a van for the day so all nine of us could travel through several towns in Boyaca together.  He'd had some stomach pains before that passed within an hour, so we figured he'd be okay if he slept in the van.  We wrapped him in a blanket, brought him a pillow, and brought along a very reluctant child.  Thirty minutes into the trip, he was crying into his pillow, thirty minutes or so later, he threw up in a bag and all over his new hat and on the floor.  We stopped to clean up (not so easy in a country where bathrooms, toilet paper, soap, and paper towels are not provided in very many places), and then he felt better.  About thirty minutes to an hour later, the pain came back and he was miserable.  We stopped in a little town called Paipa to get some broth for him to eat (and for everyone else to eat breakfast), but he finally broke down and couldn't go on.  I stood outside the restaurant and hugged him as we both cried together.  He had the option of being strong to continue on our journey or go to an emergency clinic down the street and spend the rest of the day there until our friends could come back and pick us up.  When he chose the clinic option, I knew it was bad.  That's when I broke down and started falling apart myself.

We checked in to the clinic, and I sent our friends on their way.  Juan David had to stay with me, so Julian stayed, too.  They stayed in the waiting room while the doctors checked David and began running tests.  Imagine how scared David was being poked with needles by people speaking to him in Spanish in a not so very sanitary place (bathrooms with no toilet paper offered nor soap to wash your hands).  He screamed and cried when they took the first blood sample.  Then when they started the IV to start pumping him with pain meds and electrolytes (he was severely dehydrated), he watched the color drain from his hands and cried, "I don't want to die today!"  I about fell apart. 

The blood sample and stool sample showed that he had a bacterial infection in his intestines, and they were concerned about him being so dehydrated.  The location of his pain mimicked symptoms of apendicitis, so the doctor decided to pump him with pain meds, nausea meds, and electrolytes while she kept him under observation.  If his pain did not go away, they would need to take another blood sample six hours after the first one to see if he improved at all.  If not, they would need to transfer him to a hospital to see a surgeon.  Mike kept calling about every hour to check on him (I had no way to contact him myself), while I just cried through every phone call.  I don't know that I've ever felt so alone, and I was scared to death.  No internet access.  My cell phone battery was going dead.  Our friends were several hours away from coming back. Julian and Juan David were not allowed to be back with me and David.  They snuck back several times, but the guard kept coming back and kicking them out, saying that only one person was allowed to be with the patient.  We were in the middle of nowhere, a good two hours away from our hotel, three hours away from our "home" in Bogota, over two thousand miles away from home and more sanitary hospital conditions.  We had nothing to eat or drink the entire day (putting myself in danger of dehydration with a body not accustomed to this altitude), and I felt terrible that Julian and Juan David were stuck in a tiny little waiting room all day long. The IV kept stopping and was not giving him medicine regulary or consistently, and it was a battle getting whatever nurse or doctor I could find to help me get it to function correctly.  I only had a few baby wipes left in my purse and a tiny bit of hand sanitizer left, so I had to use it all sparingly, not knowing how long we'd be there.  I just felt so icky and disgusted.  Julian snuck back in at the end of the day, and I just cried on his shoulder, telling him how badly I just wanted to go home. Once he realized how scared I was, he really stepped up and took care of me after that.  I knew Mike had contacted a ton of people to pray for David, but I found myself so incredibly angry with God for not only letting my little boy suffer so much, but also for putting us into such a hopeless situation so far away from anywhere that we might call home. 

David, on the other hand, was such a brave little trooper.  After the IV issues, he kept waking up and comforting me, telling me that God had a purpose for letting this happen and putting us in this situation.  He said, "The Lord has a purpose for everything that happens. There must be something good that's going to come out of this".  Wow.  I couldn't have been more proud of him.

By six o'clock, they finally got the results of the second blood test and urine sample.  His levels had improved greatly, mostly from the electrolytes they'd been pumping into him.  They were able to rule out apendicitis and release him with a treatment plan for a bacterial infection and dehydration.  Our friends had just gotten back (after a nine hour day), and I went to check out and pay.  Thankfully, the entire day and all the tests cost me less than $150 and the meds only cost about $6.  (He's taking four different medications a day now, plus he's on a very strict diet.)  We all piled in the van for our two hour ride back through the mountains.  The ladies who run the hotel (a Christian retreat center for church groups) made us some soup, rice, meat, and vegetables when we got back.  Everyone headed to bed because we were exhausted, though I had to tend to David for quite a while to get him to eat something so he could start his meds. 

Perhaps the purpose was to force us to go to a clinic because of his severe dehydration (despite the fact that we carry his water bottle with purified water everywhere we go) and because these bacterial infections are not easy to diagnose or treat in the United States.

The next morning, I got up early and walked down to the courtyard to have some quiet time with God.  I pray a prayer for my boys every day out of the book The Power of a Praying Parent, and I turned back to the prayer I had prayed for them the day before.  This was the end of the very prayer I prayed for David just a day earlier:

"I pray that he will have faith strong enough to lift him above his circumstances and limitations and instill in him the confidence of knowing that everything will work together for good."

I thought back to David's comforting words to me in that little hospital room, and I realized that God had answered my prayer.  I was the one falling apart, and David's faith stood the test, just as I had prayed for him. 

Anyone else have goosebumps?

Adventures in Boyaca (continued)

 Julian, hot and tired after a long morning looking at dinosaurs out in the heat
Shopping in Raquira

Villa de Leyva
 The "hotel" we stayed at in Sachica (a retreat center for churches run by the sweetest Christian ladies)
 An hour wait to go horseback riding

 David on his horse, Diablo, with Juan David close behind on his horse, Caracol.  I stayed in the lead with my horse, Amadeo, until the very end, when Caracol (Snail) took the lead.  Very ironic.
 Our view of Villa de Leyva from where the horses took us on our hour ride
 Julian and MariAntonia very pleased with their ride
 Pozos azules--beautiful blue water in a man-made pond in the middle of nowhere
 All three boys in age order

 All three boys in order of courage level
 Love those Colombian smiles (LOL--getting them to smile for a posed picture is like pulling teeth)

Adventures in Boyaca

I've heard many times that we needed to visit Boyaca while here, so we finally had that chance.  What an adventure we had over the last five days, though unfortunately, one of those days seemed to last an eternity.  Let's just say I'm so thankful to be back in Bogota, but truly, I am aching to be home.  Every day that Mike calls me, I find myself breaking into tears, telling him how much we just want to go home.  We thoroughly enjoyed exploring several little towns in Boyaca, the main one being Villa de Leyva, seeing what they say are the most beautiful landscapes to be found in Colombia, and visiting a few historical places, but Friday was our breaking point when David got so sick that we had to spend nine hours in a little urgent care clinic in a tiny little town to find out what was wrong with him.  Those nine hours were the scariest, loneliest nine hours I've ever had here, and now we want more than anything to be home so we can nurse him back to health and help him regain his strength where he is most comfortable and not missing his Daddy so much.  However, besides Friday, we did enjoy our trip, the bonding experience with our friends, and the opportunity to have both Juan David and Julian together for the whole time.  We took about a zillion pictures, so I'll sift through them over the next few days and write about some of our experiences.