Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?

April 3rd, 2011

It’s probably no secret by now that updates are my least favorite sort of writing.  Reminds me of writing to-do lists.  Or no–even better–reminds me of the chore of writing in my diary when I was ten years old:

“I woke up at 6:48 AM.  We had oatmeal for breakfast.  After I did the dishes, I did school until 12:18.  We had potato soup for lunch…”

I never made it past the first few pages of any diary at that age.

Well, I still find myself fidgeting when the duty of updating lies before me.  I confess it–I spent my computer time last week procrastinating.  And in between, I enjoyed thinking about other work instead.

And just plain…enjoyed.

Aaaahh, ZOOM up in the AIR, Verity!


“Children, children, we don’t have to eat our favorite foods at every meal,” clucked the mama hen.  “Sometimes we just have to eat what is served and be thankful.”

Now then, Mama Hen!  Take your own advice and do your duty!


Q:  Where are you in the adoption process now?

A: We are moving inexorably up to the third major checkpoint.

On Monday, Lifeline FedExed our paperwork to the USCIS lock box in Texas.

At 1:26 am on Friday, we received a text message and email, both saying,

“Your USCIS application/petition has been received and routed to the National Benefit Center for processing. Within 7 – 10 days by standard mail you will receive your official Receipt Notice (Form I-797) with your Receipt Number…”

Right now, our documents are on their way from Texas to Missouri.

This means that very soon, possibly as early as Monday, our family’s application and home study may be placed on the desk of a USCIS officer.  An authority whose heart is absolutely in the hands of God, and He will turn it whithersoever He wishes.  The news when it comes is truly coming from God and not from man.

We are praying fervently that in the mercy of God, He will work a miracle, and that our family’s application will be approved without challenge. Can He do this?  Yes, He CAN.  He moved the Red Sea aside so the Israelites could walk through on dry ground.  He can make a way for us to walk right through the USCIS process.

If God grants our request for a miracle, we will then submit a dossier [pronounced DAHSS-YAY for some French reason], or packet of original, notarized, apostilled documents, to Katie’s country.  The dossier includes our USCIS approval, but we can get the rest of the documents ready while we’re waiting for that.  My adoption midwife, Stephanie Carpenter, is in the Philippines right now to bring her own little adopted girl home, so we want to give her family some space before asking her for dossier help.  Not long after our dossier is submitted to Katie’s country, it would be time for the first trip, to see her.

Yes, you read that correctly.  In spite of the fact that we don’t know what God will decide at this checkpoint, we are planning to go ahead and prepare for the next step.

We are prepared for a “no” answer, but preparing for a “yes” answer.

It is a little like the future uncertainties involved in pregnancy.  It looks to us like God is sending us a child, and we will take the next logical step toward receiving this life.  We love this tiny girl.  We pray for her.  We are making a place for her.  I am gathering clothing for her.  I am sleeping with her blanket every night just in case we will be allowed to leave it with her after our first visit, to accustom her to the smell of her new mama.  And we are planning to gather and apostille our documents for our dossier.  All before we hear whether we have been approved by the USCIS.


Q:  How are you preparing your children for the adoption?

A:  That is an excellent question!

We are an open and talkative family who spends nearly all our time together.  We went through a significant portion of the adoption training together as a family, and that brought out good conversations.  We explain things to the little ones on their level.  Their chatter shows us where they are in their understanding, and where they need more explanation.

Among other things, they know that Katerina is nine years old like Jane, but she is tiny like Verity because she has never had a daddy and mommy or family to love her and take care of her.

They know that she can sit, but she cannot walk or talk.

They know that they are all invited to stay with our good friends when Daddy and Mama take trips to her country to see her and then to get her.  (And they say things like, “Oh goody!  That will be fun!” about this plan, because the house of these friends has already become a safe and familiar place for them.)

They know that we have a crib in the attic that is waiting to be set up for Katerina in the girls’ room.

They know that Mama hopes to carry Katerina in the sling and give her mama’s milk.

They know that if God gives Katerina to our family, that we will love her and take good care of her, so she can grow and learn to do things and be a happy girl.

When they recite the names of everyone in our family, they put Katerina’s name at the end of the list.

We pray together for Katerina and for many adoption-related needs.  Every time that Joe asks the children what they want to thank God for, at least one child is thankful that we are adopting Katerina.

Our oldest children?  They are part of the team, and not just because they pitch in with the necessary chores.  They are “in the loop” with Joe and me at every point, and have had insightful perspectives and ideas to offer.

We fully expect to face some challenging times after we bring her home.  Post-adoption transitions rarely occur smoothly.  Children who have been damaged for years inevitably carry wounds and scars, sometimes for life.  We could view these through the lens of unbelief, and allow our hearts to quail at the possible difficulties.  Or we could choose to place our confidence in God, where it belongs, and know…

…if He gives us this assignment, He will help us carry it out.  As He has promised to do, and as He always has done.  There is no place for fear.


Q:  Do you have any further plans to help Katerina’s orphanage?

A:  Yes!  At this point, we have a few big ideas.  These ideas were sparked by the reports our missionary friend gave us after her visit.

Succinctly stated…

…to find a way to provide more “grannies” for the orphanage, so that every child has his or her own “granny.”

…to find a way for these grannies to be instructed in how to provide desperately-needed basic therapy and other interaction, perhaps through an existing organization.

…to find a way to get appropriate toys and simple picture books (as well as other basic supplies) to the children.

…to find a way to make all the children available for adoption, so that they can be brought into loving families.

We know that God can meet all these needs!  I am just beginning to research and inquire into the possibilities.  We are open to any and all helpful input!


Q:  It looks like you are getting closer to your fundraising goal!  Praise God for His provision!  How does fundraising work as you approach the end of the process?

A:  First, we are learning that estimated totals are, in fact, estimates.  We knew, of course, that the $24,000 estimate we first heard is not a guaranteed figure.  It is not like buying an item at the department store, for instance.  There are so many variables involved.

This past week, we found out that the $24,000 figure is somewhat on the low side, given current costs (including that of airfare) and currency exchange rates.  As close as we can figure it right now, that amount may equal our total costs minus the cost of the airfare for one trip, which has been promised to us by an extended family member.  Stated another way, our total may end up being $24,000 plus the cost of airfare for one trip.  We have decided to use that family member’s offer for the first trip if the needed amount is not in the adoption account at the time, otherwise we will apply it to the second trip.  And right now, it is impossible to say for sure what the rates will be.

There are some other costs which we just will not know until we get more information.

Kim Zimmerman has told me that a group of young people at her church is planning two unique fundraisers to benefit four adoptions, and she wants our adoption to be one of those four.  You can read more about these fundraisers, which help widows and orphans at the same time, on this page of Lifesong’s website.

We are working hard on preparing for our YARD SALE, scheduled for Mother’s Day weekend, Friday and Saturday, May 6th and 7th.  We have set aside the following weekend, May 13th and 14th, as rain dates, since this will truly be a yard sale!  We would be very surprised indeed if this sale brings in more than $500.

We will continue to look to God to provide for the remaining amount needed, and work hard at whatever He gives our hands to do.  If these fundraisers bring in more than is needed for Katie-bird’s adoption, we will pass the excess on to another adoption of a child with special needs.  And we continue to be humbled and amazed by the outpouring of loving gifts and offers of help, from dear friends to anonymous strangers!  We are inexpressibly grateful for you, our brothers and sisters in Christ, who are surrounding and supporting and praying for Katerina and for us during this time!

So no, we can’t yet tell what the total cost of her ransom will be, but the Judge of all the earth is showing Himself strong on her behalf, and we praise Him!

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4 Responses to “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

  1. Kendra says:

    Amen! Love your updates Susanna. I’m glad you push through with God’s strength…they are always such an encouragement to me and grow my faith! Love, Kendra

  2. Joy says:

    Beautiful post, Susanna. Reading that you’re sleeping with Katerina’s blanket made me tear up. You have such a sensitive and THOUGHTFUL mama’s heart. It’s such a beautiful thing to behold!

    And I am so excited to see how these events will unfold and how God will glorify Himself through it all!

  3. Candy says:

    Susanna, you are amazing. We are very thankful for the updates even if you hate it! But, all of your posts are such a blessing each time I read. I tlod a new mommy of a little girl with Down syndrome that whenever she needs up lifting, she can go to your blog and will always be encouraged in the Lord. You put things into words in ways that are so helpful! Thank you thank you thank you. We are praying always for you all and the process of bringing Katerina home.

  4. Marilyn Osborn says:

    Just caught up on the blog.  Love the new pictures.  The news is all good!  Thank you for sharing this journey.  The view from here is beautiful!  (((hug)))
    Believing that the Lord IS going to open every door for sweet Katerina to come home to you!

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