Big, huge tossed salad Q & A

September 19th, 2011

Question:  Miss Katie is in a crib at the orphanage? I know NOTHING about attachment issues in neglected growth-delayed orphans… Would sleeping with you or kangarooing be too much stimulation?

Answer:  Right now, Katie barely tolerates being touched at all, and prefers to be left alone in a crib.  We are expecting it to be a long road to help her get to the place where she will desire and seek out affectionate touch.  We are already receiving good advice about how to help her with her severe sensory issues, and are open to more.  When I was with her, I did see many hopeful signs that she will get there eventually!


Question:  Do you suspect that she’ll go directly from the airport to the hospital for refeeding, or since you’ll have her at the hotel for a bit anyway, will you be able to try caring for her at home?

Answer:  There is no maybe about this one!  The doctor at the international adoption clinic has said that Katie’s condition has gone beyond malnutrition into starvation.  She will be at high risk of re-feeding syndrome, which causes death if it is untreated.  The arrangements have already been made for her to be admitted to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as soon as we can get her there after arriving at the Philadelphia airport.

By the time we fly to her country to get her, we need to have a plan in place with an airline that is willing to work with our situation, so that there is a team of prepared people all along our way back to the United States.  There is no room for slip-ups.

The current plan is to obtain a bottle from the orphanage and instructions on where to buy and how to prepare her current food.   We need to keep her as close to her usual diet and routine as possible until she is safely under medical supervision, to lessen her risk of re-feeding syndrome.  We will  be doing all we can to minimize her trauma during the week in her country and during the travel home, so that she doesn’t simply shut down and refuse to eat.

Nobody has any idea how long she will need to be in the hospital.  She will need to be medically assessed and nutritionally rehabilitated under close supervision until she is stable and her most urgent needs have been addressed.  We fully expect her to receive a feeding tube so that she can get the nutrition she needs while she is learning how to eat.  At this point, we are planning for me to be the one to stay in Philadelphia with her.


Question:  This must be overwhelming.  All those logistics, all the risks, and all those extra expenses.  Are you getting nervous yet?

Answer:  Our Provider has already begun to provide.  For one example, we received this Most Astonishing Email the day I wrote about the huge, impossible obstacle we recently faced.  It was written by a Christian sister who has asked not to be identified…

“I am sending a check to you tomorrow for $200.00. Please open an account for Katerina with it, and I will, Lord willing, send a monthly amount, most likely around $50.00 that will be for anything you need for her care, or just to save for her future care. This has been in my heart for awhile, I was going to wait until she was home; am feeling the need to do this now.”

The check did arrive, and another email, this time with an explanation…

“When I read your post about something HUGE and IMPOSSIBLE, I knew I had to ‘cast my vote’ for our All-Loving, All-Knowing, Compassionate, All-Powerful Father God by starting this (account) now and not later. I haven’t even looked at your blog since, so I don’t know what is going on, but I am choosing to keep a steady faith that HE IS ABLE, no matter what, to bring your precious Katie home.

If I can cut corners here and there and come up with this for her care, it is truly the least I can do. You, with your love, have committed to her in a way I never can, but I do believe in doing the little I can, and leaving the rest in His hands. And, I believe He will provide, and what I have is really His, anyway. Also, since you don’t know me, I feel I should add this is completely a love offering for Katerina, and in no way are there any strings attached, or are you indebted to us in any way, whatsoever.  Ever. This is simply put, LOVE.”

Is this explainable in human terms?  How could we doubt a God like this?  How could we fear or worry after He has proven Himself over and over and over again?  What more proof could we possibly be waiting for?  No, we have no fear.

Lord Jesus, our eyes are fixed on You.  We praise You.


Question:  Will you have to appear in court in Katie’s country?

Answer:  No, we have given Power of Attorney to our attorney and several back-up attorneys.  One of them will appear in court in our place.  If God so moves the heart of the judge, Katie’s adoption would be finalized at that time.  We are praying for a “good” judge, but Joe reminded me that God may give us a “bad” judge just to demonstrate again that nothing is too hard for Him!


Question:  When will you be able to go get her?

Answer:  The earliest possible time would be the middle of October, and yes, that would take yet another miracle!  We are praying that God will allow us to bring her home before the end of October.


Question:  How in the world are you finding time to blog?

Answer:  Do you know, it recently dawned on me–

If I’d had my way, Verity would have exclusively breastfed with no need for breastfeeding helps.  If Verity had exclusively breastfed, I would not have had to pump.

If I had not needed to pump for Verity, I would not have continued blogging, since my quiet, private hours of pumping time are my quiet, private hours of writing time.  If I’d stopped blogging, we most likely would not be adopting, since the two have been inextricably linked from the very beginning.  God used Verity’s blog to open several hearts to adopting a child with Down syndrome.  The life-altering night I came across the Serbia video, and learned the truth about what happens to children born with special needs in Eastern Europe, I was gathering information for one of these friends.

If I had not pumped for Verity, I would not have completely supplied a friend’s baby with milk for over a year, motivating me to keep up my supply.  If I had not kept up my milk supply, I would not now have the joy of putting milk in the freezer for Katie-bird.

So…if I’d gotten my way, and Verity had exclusively breastfed, there would probably be no Katie-bird story at all.


[Rhetorical] Question:  I emailed you a while ago, and you have not answered.  Why not?

[Very apologetic] Answer:  For some reason, right now emails are coming in faster than I can answer them as they deserve to be answered.  I am experiencing underlying, low-level anxiety at this point, hoping that nobody’s email has suffered the rude fate of falling unanswered through the cracks, never to be seen again.  I get the same uneasy feeling when I owe many thank you notes, and worry that I will inadvertently miss someone.

If you have asked me a question that I never answered, and it has been longer than a week, please forgive me?  I would be so, so thankful if you would give me another chance and help me out by re-sending it!


Question:  How did you know Verity needed glasses?  How did the doctor know what Verity’s prescription should be, since she cannot read an eye chart?

Answer:  Because of Verity’s Down syndrome, we will keep regular tabs on her vision, hearing, and thyroid.  Dr. Strauss, Verity’s doctor at the Clinic for Special Children, noticed some slight anomalies with her vision at her one-year well-child check-up, and suggested we take her to a specialist in pediatric ophthalmology.  I was impressed with the specialist who examined her eyes; he really knew his business.  I didn’t ask him to explain it to me, therefore I am sorry to say that I cannot explain it to you.  I’ll try to do better next time.  <grin>  He issued a very strong prescription for her very far-sighted eyes.  She is keeping her glasses on like a big girl, and noticing details she never saw before.


Question:  What would you say to someone who decided not to adopt a child with special needs for the following reasons:

“What would happen to a special-needs adult after the parents are no more?  Would I burden my children all their lives with a sibling who is dependent on them?  What about their future families?  These are valid concerns to me.”

Answer:  This is an excellent question!  It has some excellent answers that are coming up in the next post!


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20 Responses to “Big, huge tossed salad Q & A”

  1. Merideth says:

    Love and hugs to you Susanna. My question to you now is this. How can we help now, and then again when Katie is home? I know that you cannot anticipate ALL of the needs you will have, but are there things that we your readers can do now that you can think of that will help for later?

  2. Lorena says:

    Oh, Susanna, you make my heart tighten to see the faith that He has built, block by block – His provision, your trust, His provision, your trust.  What on earth (or heaven) started it all?  Sorry, that’s another question for you to answer….. :D  Your lifewalk is both challenge and inspiration to me.  Thanks so much for sharing the journey with us all!

  3. Susanna says:

    Lorena, I just cheated! 8-) I went back and edited the section about how I find time to blog.

    We too, are in awe to see what God is doing in every intricate detail of this story!

    A pumping mom

  4. Susanna says:

    Merideth, you already bless us with your love and prayers! I will answer your question by email…


  5. Deanna says:

    Great Q&A!
    Will you be open and up to visitors when you are in CHOP with Katie?  I would love to come and spend a day with you to help in any way I can.

  6. Kristina and Family of 4! says:

    Just wanted to let you know that we are praying for Katie and your family everyday!!! God bless!

  7. Susan says:

    I don’t seem to have a mailing address or email for you, but would like to contribute to Katie’s fund, and expect others also may want to contribute. What is the best way to help, for those of us who are far away? Katie, you, and your family are already in my prayers, of course!

    Susan in Ky
    Cousin to 2 from U.    

  8. Joni says:

    That is so neat to read about the blessing of you pumping, and how God used it!!!I so needed to hear that, how God uses things that we might not think are good things for great things!!! Praying for all of you!

  9. Andrea Mann says:

    Just to help you out a little, a prescription can be determined for eyes of a small child by measuring the eyes.  If you are near sighted your eyes are a different shape than far sighted and so on.

    Mama of a little girl who got glasses at 17 months. :)

  10. Susan says:

    Oops! Just saw all I needed to know on the side of your blog. Mea culpa – I need to be more observant, clearly!

    Susan in Ky
    Cousin to 2 from U.  

  11. Susanna says:

    Deanna, wholeheartedly and unequivocally yes. YES! Would LOVE that! Thank you!!

  12. Carol says:

    The part you shared about pumping and the role it has in bringing Katie home really touched me. I like to reflect on what it might be like in heaven to hear God telling us the story of our lives. I’m sure there will be many “Oh, that’s why!” moments. I also like to think of having tea with other believers in heaven and swapping stories. It will be so amazing to chat with those from our generation and make connections between the dots and to visit with those from different times in history. If we don’t ever meet in person on this earth, we’ll definitely have to catch up later. :)

  13. Amy says:

    We are moving to New Jersey next week and will be a hour from the children’s hospital. I would love to come up and help in anyway possible as well :)
    Mimi from MOMYS

  14. Amy says:

    I am adoptive mom of 3+1 and I am a nurse at CHOP. I would love, love, love to come and pray with you at your bedside for Katie bird when you arrive. I don’t know if you can see my email address with this post, but please call on me. I will look for you and do everything I can to help you, and especially pray with you. My heart is for these little ones the world has forgotten but for whom God has voice. No matter what, no matter how, no matter where…he reaches us and when we hear Him, we are blessed by the call and the life that we live in obedience to Him. Can’t wait to meet Katie.

  15. Susanna says:

    Amy P, thank you, that would be fabulous. Emailing you…

  16. Susanna says:

    Amy W (Mimi), I would love to meet you! How wonderful to see God setting up supports for the hospital stay ahead of time; I am blown away. Wow!

  17. Sarah L says:

    Thank you for sharing! I have learned a lot from your blog. Our family is praying about adopting a special needs child and I am curious to hear your thoughts regarding the last question listed in the post!

  18. Laura F. says:


    I have bookmarked this post as I have tried to come up with the right words to share with you.  My family, too, has been touched by that magical extra chromosome.  We did not know until Ian was born, although I knew in my heart he had Down syndrome.  In fact, I asked my OB at a checkup, “If there is something wrong with the baby, for example, if the baby has Down syndrome, how will you tell me?”  And 6 days later, I gave birth to a baby with Down syndrome.  Ian has rocked our world in the most amazing way.  I feel like he has given me the gift of sight… all of these things I see now that I have him, all these things I missed before, everything that makes life precious that I just did not see before.  I know God gave this precious soul to me.  My son was born early on Easter Sunday and I do not think it was a coincidence… it was a day of rebirth for me as well as his birth day.  It took me thirty-three years to “get it” and I am so thankful for the gift of him.  I like to say that Ian saved me and I did not even know I needed to be saved.  

    Thank you for sharing both of your precious girls with us!  And I did want to let you know that I live near Baltimore and would be honored to spend the day with you at CHOP when Katie is home.  I would be honored to meet you and her and pray with you.  And please let me know of any other way that I could support this beautiful new journey your family is on.

    God bless,

  19. Susanna says:

    Laura, yes, yes, yes!! Thank you for this comment!!

    I would love to see you while in CHOP, if that can be managed. Could you write again after we are settled there, if that still suits you? Thank you so much for offering!!

  20. Laura F. says:

    That sounds like a perfect plan! I am beyond thrilled that she will be in your arms in no time and she is coming HOME!  I can’t wait to follow your journey in bringing her home and will surely send you a note when you are all settled.  Thank you!!

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