What difference does it make?

October 2nd, 2011

“I am wondering if you have pictures to share and the before and after story of a child who was adopted from an orphanage similar to Katerina’s. A child who, after receiving love, nurturing and a healthy diet, has blossomed and grown and is doing well now.”


What difference does it make?  

See for yourselves.


Hailee before, 5 years old~


Hailee after 1 year home, now 11 pounds bigger~


Toby before, 4 years old~


Toby after 1 year home, now 13 pounds and 4 inches bigger, walking, running, and using over 50 signs~


Anya before, 3 years old~


Anya after 3 months home, now can swallow, drink, chew, feed herself, play, walk, and communicate~


Liza before, 4 years and 8 months old~


Liza after 11 months home, now 10+ pounds bigger~


Lena before, 2 years old~


Lena after 6 months home~


Xander before, 4 years old~


Xander after 3 years home, now doubled in weight, walking, feeding himself solid foods, drinking out of a cup, using sign language to communicate, and saying a few basic words~


Irina before, 4 years old~


Irina after 14 months home~


Gabe before, 6 years old~


Gabe after 3 months home, now crawling and pulling to stand~


Johannah before, 3 years old, and Ellee before, 5 years old, then

Johannah and Ellee after 6 months home~


Joel before, 7 years old~


Joel after 4 months home, now 15 pounds and 6+ inches bigger~


Victoria (left) 23 months, and Francesca (right) before~

Victoria after 3 months home, now 5 pounds bigger and eating on her own~


Francesca after 3 months home, now 9 pounds bigger~


Theo before, 4 years old~


Theo after 1 year home, now 5 inches and 15 pounds bigger~


[Note:  Thank you to all the parents who shared these photos of your beautiful children!  I’m planning to make this an ongoing post with its own link on the sidebar, so if anyone else has photos you’d like me to consider adding, please email me.]


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31 Responses to “What difference does it make?”

  1. Jules says:

    I believe Xander functions at the level of a 10-12 mos old baby and his parents are on the brink of disrupting. Perhaps not the best example.

  2. Amanda says:

    These kids are absolute angels! Look at those faces! Thank God for people like you Susanna who have opened their hearts and homes to a needy child. One day I hope to be able to do the same.

  3. Anne Ross says:

    Wow!!!!I hope the orphanages will see these amazing pictures! more proof that ALL children and I mean ALL children are of worth!!! So amazing!!!! I can NOT wait to see the after pictures of Katie!!!!!!

  4. April (justonemorebaby) says:

    Wow. A picture truly is worth a thousand words. Thank you for sharing them!

  5. christy says:

    Heart breaking and amazing, all at the same time.  It’s beautiful to see the children thrive under the loving care of their adoptive families.

  6. Susanna says:

    Dear Jules,

    I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but Robert and Shelley Bedford, of Reece’s Rainbow, are not on the brink of disrupting the adoption of their son Xander.

    Furthermore, from your comment, I can see that you misunderstand my purpose in posting before-and-after pictures of children who had been unloved and neglected and are now adopted into loving families.

    I believe I have made it clear, and intend to go on making it clear, that the love that compels families like ours to desire to adopt is not a self-centered nor a naïve love. God has put His love into our hearts for the children the world says are so flawed that they abort them in high numbers, or stuff them in dark corners and try to forget about them. We purposefully adopt them with our eyes wide open. We fully understand that our children may never be completely healed from the damage that has been done to them.

    Our little Katie may never walk or talk or learn to eat properly. Right now, she is functioning on the level of a 3 month old. We have no guarantees that she will ever progress from that point. If she never does, we would not scorn her for it, or be disappointed in her, or consider it to be proof that no miracle has taken place, or that the adoption was a mistake. It will not make her less valuable as a human being. We are not adopting Katie in hopes that she will fulfill some need of our own. We consider it to be the privilege of a lifetime to be chosen and allowed to minister to Jesus Himself by ministering to this weak child. We fully understand that this perspective is the polar opposite of the utilitarian view that judges human beings by what they can do for us in monetary or otherwise measurable terms. We do not measure our children’s value by how smart or skilled or strong they are, and we never will. This ugly thinking is based on a lie, and we reject it.

    Jules, if you were our child, and were injured in an accident that left you functioning on the level of a 10-12 month old, we would consider it our privilege to love you and care for you.

    God declared Katie’s and Xander’s and Anya’s and Gabe’s and Joel’s value when He said that they were made in His own image. We agree with God that this gives their lives inestimable worth. Period.


  7. Shelley says:

       I am Xander’s mother and I assure you that we are not “on the brink of disruption”. Xander has been my son for over FOUR YEARS and he will be my son for the rest of my life. 
     Since you clearly don’t know our family, I ask that you don’t comment on my child or his ability level. People who DO know him personally will tell you that Xander is the PERFECT example of what love and a family can do for a child. He’s made DRASTIC improvements in every area of his development. But, even if he did function at the level of a 10-12 month old, that would STILL be an improvement from his time at the orphanage since when he came home at the age of 4, his functioning level was estimated by doctors to be at a 3 month old level. 

  8. Kristi says:

    Can’t wait to see your “after” pictures with Katie! :)

  9. Susan says:

    Bravo, Susanna, on your respectful and clear response to Jules.

    These pictures graphically illustrate what love can do…thanks to all involved in sharing them. 

  10. Stephanie says:


    Thank you for sharing these amazing examples of healing and redemption. Theo has absolutely blossomed in our family and we are so blessed by him. We celebrate every little new skill right along with him. His level of functioning will never matter. What matters is that he now has the opportunity to learn, grow, and strive to reach his greatest potential. 

  11. Carolyn says:

    Amazing!! I think this is a very powerful post!! May I include your link on my blog?

  12. Susanna says:

    Carolyn, of course!

  13. Gail says:


  14. What love and tender loving care can do…  Amazing to see and also encouraging!

  15. Love, love, love seeing the before and afters! 

  16. Angie says:

    Thank you for shaing these amazing children and parents with us.  It is so great to see what a little love and time can do to strengthen these children.

  17. Esther Glick says:

    How I loved looking at these beautiful photos! My heart melts love for each precious child and I am so blessed to be loved by such a loving Father who loves us regardless of our performance and in turn gives us HIS love to pour into the lives of those who have never known or felt love!

  18. Marci says:


    My heart breaks and rejoices at the same time seeing these precious children. My ds9 says, “Why can’t they [the orphanage workers] just hug them for an hour a day and say ‘I love you’? What’s so hard about that?”  
    Three cheers for your clear and polite response to Jules. One wonders where logic has gone, not to mention compassion. 

  19. Keely Guthery says:

    Thank you for posting these beautiful photos! 
    What an honor that God would use us for his awesome works in the lives of these sweet children…

  20. Tami Ann Swaim says:

    What does “disrupting” mean?  I kinda get an idea from context?

  21. Deb W. says:

    Thank you for this Susanna! I wondered if these little guys and gals could overcome the physical damage done by neglect. I am thankful to see thriving children even just weeks and months after coming home to their forever families.
    As I’ve said in comments to your blog in past weeks, you have pricked our conscience. God has been speaking to us through you. And I want you to know that my family is listening! We are doing what we can to spread the word about Reece’s Rainbows orphans, and we have  committed to being prayer and Christmas Warrior fund raisers. It’s like dominoes…several of my friends are stepping up to do the same. I have 6 children who pray for these children during our meals. And my 3 year old often asks “Why don’t these babies have a Mama and Daddy like me? Why do some of them need surgery? ” (note: 3 year old=incessant “why” questions! :-) )
    Thank you to the parents who shared their children’s photos. What beautiful and shining faces and families represented here! And thank you, as always, Susanna, for sharing your passionate but gracious pleas for stepping up to do “something” for these children.

  22. Leah says:

    This is a nice post that kids can improve with love & care from a family. I will be sharing this with my friends.

  23. Shari~hotfudgecustard says:

    These are amazing miracles!!  Praise the Lord!!!

  24. Jamie says:

    Thank you for this post, God bless you guys!

  25. Melissa says:

    Thank you for including my sweet Liza in your post. It was beautiful and the message is VERY clear! I love seeing what a little love can do to change lives :)

  26. Meredith says:

    Thank you so much for posting this.  These pictures bring tears to my eyes.  My husband and I have started really talking about adoption.  Reading this post makes me know that adoption is right for my family.  Take Care,

  27. Katherine Lauer says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I am sitting here weeping. This is one of the most powerful posts I’ve ever seen on this subject and a testament to a picture being worth a thousand words.

  28. Lucille Brown says:

    I’m wondering if these families would allow some people doing Buddy Walks to print these to have at their Buddy Walk table.

  29. Molly says:

    This is exactly what I need for our buddy walk tomorrow! THANK YOU!

  30. Michelle says:

    Im reading this, and just went from tickled, moved, smiling to POd!! Hw DARE you Jules?! Xander is their SON, and you….omg…how DARE you? I think you would have to bring yourself an army if you ever thought you could pry THAT boy from his parents arms. Disrupting. Ugh. The audacity.

  31. Elizabeth says:

    Beautiful! I loved this–thank you for sharing!

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