In the hollow of His hand

November 8th, 2011

I put in a request to the principal of our home school to take these three days off school.

My request was granted.

The laundry is completely caught up, ironing nearly done, all clothing now being packed for twelve people.  Twelve, because Katie isn’t here to wear her clothes.  Her packing is already finished, including her sensory toolkit.  An illustrated post about that is in the works.

Packing for me involves thinking past the travel without laundry facilities, and into an indefinite hospital stay with Katie.  Last time Dr. Friedman, Adam Boroughs and I had a conference call, they gave me the unexpected and wondrous news that the PICU at CHOP is not like the PICU in Hershey, with all the beds in one room, the requirement to call in to the desk for permission before entering, and a public family waiting area with a sleeping room that must be reserved by 4 pm each day.

The PICU at CHOP will be a private room.  A private room!  With a couch that opens into a bed!  I can stay with Katie!

The orphanage donation suitcase is nearly full of diaper ointment and lovely warm small items.  A friend has sent one hundred dollars which we will use in Katie’s country to purchase diapers for the orphanage.

A yummy supper was brought to us yesterday, with enough left over for future usefulness.  Another supper is coming tonight.  Two more for Wednesday and Thursday will go straight to the home of our friends, where ten of our children will be staying until Sunday, the 20th.  My friend asked if they’d rather have brownies or apple crisp.  And signed off our conversation with the words, “Go get your Katie bird!  We’ll be praying.”

Hundreds of other emails continue to fly past my ears.  If I call you by someone else’s name, or forget to reply, or miss typing errors, or hit Send with as-yet-unfinished sentences in the email, I truly hope you will understand!

~A friend offers mama’s milk for Katie, but they are thirteen hours from us, and could we meet them in Pittsburgh, four and a half hours to our west?  But there’s another online friend, living near Pittsburgh, saying, “What do you need?  Our hearts are wide open to help you.  We are traveling to visit family in New Jersey and will be driving the PA turnpike past your county.”  My brother lives near the turnpike exit and will be meeting them to pick up two large coolers full of liquid gold for Katie and storing it in his freezer until it is needed.

~As I watch my milk supply wane in response to the stress and sleep deprivation, I receive two other emails with offers of still more mama’s milk for Katie.

~Another mom writes about a “chance” meeting she had, “…of course you know I saw God working and took the opportunity to tell him about the plight of others, born just like my daughter…but born in a country where they are considered of no value.  I showed him pictures of your beautiful Katerina.  He was in disbelief.  I could see his heart break open.  He is now seriously considering adopting and saving a precious child from Eastern Europe…one with Down syndrome.” 

~A dear friend just saved us about five hundred dollars that can now be used for another need.  She is shipping us some expensive medications we need to have when we’re in Eastern Europe with Katie, and keeps dodging my attempts to discuss repaying her for overnight shipping.

~There are seemingly endless conversations about various health implications Katie could have, and whether or not to prepare for them, and if so, how.  And these discussions are going in a couple of directions at once.

~Lufthansa’s Medical Office informed us, with less than a week before travel, “Regarding the medical clearance by the Lufthansa physician we confirm that Katerina has the travel authority for the flights from [Unmentionable] to Philadelphia.”  (WHEW!)

~And in response to my informing them of which travel system we will be using, “…the child seat is approved by Lufthansa as you have already read on the Lufthansa website.”

~And, “Today we got your enquiry from our colleagues in the United States.

We would like to confirm that you can use our special service in Frankfurt.  We can provide you a special room where you can stay during your transit time in Frankfurt. Our colleagues who pick you up at the aircraft arriving from [Unmentionable] will escort you to this room. They are already informed and confirmed your stay in the room.”   

~Someone suggests that I take pacifiers along with us.  I remember that someone else had recommended pacifiers long ago and it somehow missed the list and had been forgotten.  Thank You, Lord, for jogging my memory. 

~Someone writes to ask, “[We] would love to give some money to help other worthy families adopt little children with Down syndrome. Do you have any suggestions for us…?  We are MOST interested, honestly, in giving toward people who are more ‘invisible,’ NOT the ones that dozens of people are already uplifting.”  [That one was fun to answer; the family is always on the tip of my tongue.]

And oh my, this is just a tiny sampling of the offers of help, the experienced advice, the stories, the requests, the complex conversations that involve more than one person.

And then there is the constant weight of responsibility to be faithful to tell the story here on the blog.

When I get a few spare minutes here and there, and the house is quiet enough, I record another hymn on the CD I’m making for Katie.  For when my not-very-strong voice gives out and I still want to sing to her.

I don’t last long at the singing, but that’s only because I can’t help but think about the words, and Katie hearing them, and something happens to my voice.

Safe am I, Safe am I,
In the hollow of His hand;
Sheltered o’er, sheltered o’er
With His love forever more
No ill can harm me, No foe alarm me,
For He keeps both day and night,
Safe am I, Safe am I,
In the hollow of His hand.

The house is very clean and so is the van.

Clean, that is, except for the kitchen floor.  That will be scrubbed Wednesday afternoon, right after I give haircuts to the four little boys.
And right before Joe comes home from work, we kiss ten of our children and say our goodbyes.  And drive them down to our friends’ home just in time for supper.

The thought of that moment makes me linger over the hugs and kisses I share with my little ones.  Makes my eyes linger on their sweet faces.  Can’t think about that too deeply, either.

Sweet girl.


It’s nearly time to leave the ninety-and-nine safe ones and go to seek the lost one.

We leave our house just after seven o’clock in the morning this Thursday, November tenth.



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38 Responses to “In the hollow of His hand”

  1. SQUEAL!!! (Now that you’ve met me, you know what that sounds like in person!)  I’m overcome with joy for your family and for sweet Katie.  Know that Brandon and I are still praying for you, just as we commited to what seems like forever ago!  ((HUGS))  Be safe!  Wish I could squeeze you in real life!

  2. Marilyn Osborn says:

    Praying, friend!!!!!!!!  Can’t wait to watch the Lord continue to show His glory in this!!!!!!  (((((hug))))))))

  3. Your story is amazing … I have been following it for quite a while and am so excited to see the new chapter is about to begin. Many prayers for you all as you prepare to bring Katie home. 

  4. Becky K. says:

    I felt so badly not to see you on Sunday but really, really did not want to risk sharing my virus with any of you at this time.
    You are on my mind.  My heart has swelled with the joy and realization that this part of the journey is so near.  I’ll never forget standing in your kitchen watching you kiss your children good-bye as you went to meet Katie the first time.  God gave you such strength then and He will surely do so again. 
    Praise the Lord for how He shows his love and care to all of us…..learning much through observation of your experiences.  They are life changing!  I find myself approaching things differently now.  It is a very good thing!
    Love and hugs,
    My prayers go with you.

  5. Joleigh says:

    Oh, you do me in every time I read!  Prayers are going with you!!  If there are needs in the orphanage beyond what you can take supplies to meet, keep me posted.  You know why and I think something could be worked out with… you know. ;)
    Can you receive mail while at CHOPS?  I assume???

  6. Joanna says:

    I have heard great things about CHOP…we used Children’s in DC for our daughter’s surgery, but their sleeping arrangements are much the same! You will be in good hands…we will be praying!

  7. Beth says:

    We will be praying for you while you are gone. We will also be praying for the children you will have to leave for a time.

  8. Barb says:

    Bless you on your journey. I selfishly hope that you find the time to blog now and then so we can follow you on your journey. However I understand that they might not always be possible. God bless you all….

  9. Barb Murphy says:

    Blessings to the two of you as you travel.  May you feel God’s presence as you are covered in prayer.  Praying for you as you meet Katie and begin to bond with her, and also for your family waiting at home.

  10. Nancy says:

    We will lift you and your family with prayers. I look forward to the beautiful day all your children will be together.

  11. Shari~hotfudgecustard says:

    I’m following this with great anticipation!  I’m praying especially for your flights home, for peace to settle over Katerina as she encounters so many new experiences, that somehow her spirit will sense her Father’s love and will be at peace.

  12. Becky says:

    Praying for you my dear friend! 

  13. Mary Feigum says:

    Glad to hear that CHOP has those great private rooms. Minneapolis childrens hospital had those wonderful pull out couches a desk with a computer (if you chose to sign one out free of charge)  the room also had a private bathroom with a Shower. We spent almost a full two weeks in the hospital When Ole had open heart. THe pull out couches were so wonderful. It made life so much easier. You may want to ask about laundry too. I keep having my husband running to do laundry and then later one of the staff told me they had a washer and dryer for use a floor above. If only I had known! I will be praying. God bless….Mary

  14. Jane says:

    Love love love your way!

  15. Ashley says:

    I will continue to pray for you guys!  Thank you for allowing us to follow along!

  16. Anna T says:

    YEA for the accomadations at CHOP and that you get to stay with Katie the entire time — woo, hoo!!  Our local hospital will bring “parent meals” and they also have a volunteer service available to pick up any requested items from the gift shop/cafeteria, etc… (these may be things to ask about).  The nurses also kept me well supplied with ice and water.  I **did** have Jacob spend a little time at the nurses station one morning so that I could shower, he LOVED all of the attention : ) !!  I’m praying for you as you get ready to leave, for you trip to {country} and trip home to safe arrival at CHOP!!  I am very excited for you!!  ((Hugs)) and Prayers…

    P.S.  My in-laws live east of Pittsburgh and are coming this weekend, please keep me in mind if you need anything else from that area?  We would be glad to help in that way.

  17. Deanna Rabe says:

    Praying, praying, praying….

  18. Shauna says:

    Your family and its newest member are never far from my mind or prayers this week.  I find myself interrupting myself multiple times a day to tell people to pray for you as you get close to setting out.  I would send you a card, but I know you must be swamped right now and you don’t need to feel the responsibility of responding :)  But know that my heart and prayers are in communion with you!

  19. connie says:

    I just checked to see if CHOP has a way to send ecards the way the childrens hospital near us does … it does. :)    Those are fun ways to let someone know you are thinking and praying for them.

  20. Lynn says:

    The story that God is weaving through the life of your family is simply amazing. The show of His glorious power and grace. Oh, how it has encouraged and challenged so many of us.

    Praying for the continuous display of His glory through this journey of yours.

  21. Sonya says:

    Would you believe I have your travel date written into my wall calendar right alongside the birthday of one of my daughters?! Katie is *that* important!  Counting down the days and thinking about how excited you are.  Katie, it won’t be long now…. 
    Susannah, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1:9

  22. Susanna says:

    Thank you, Becky; I was disappointed not to see you Sunday, too, and will miss you and ALL our church family until I am back with baby bird. I hope you’re feeling better than you were–yuck! Thank you so much for praying for us! Love and hugs back!

  23. Susanna says:

    Shauna, you are sweet! Thank you!

  24. Susanna says:

    Thank you so much for letting me know I should ask about this service, Anna! Crazy, I know, but I’m already dreading having to leave her to take a walk or a shower. I want her to know that I am permanent and will be there when she needs something.

  25. Susanna says:

    Thank you for this suggestion, Mary, I will look into laundry facilities!

  26. Susanna says:

    Joleigh, all the moms who are adopting from this orphanage now have a private yahoo group, so we can be in touch with each other about asking who has room in their luggage for donations, and then send inquiring people their way. :):):) So that’s another option!

    I’m sure I can get mail at CHOP! :)

  27. Maria says:

    Praise the Lord! I’m happy that you’re going for your precious treasure, little Kathy! I’m praying for you and for her! God bless you!

  28. Jessica (janns) says:

    I’ve been thinking of you and your family and praying for you. I’ll be looking forward to your updates!!

  29. Ginger says:

    You will continually be in my prayers! That hymn made me cry, thinking about what God is doing in Katerina’s precious life. 

  30. Kelly says:

    Random lurker coming out to say that this stranger in Oklahoma is praying fiercely for your journey. He goes before you and we stand behind you!

  31. The time is so close and the way the Lord has worked to bring Katie home has been amazing and wonderful to see.
    Prayers are with you!!  

  32. Susan says:

    Oh, praises that this blessed day has arrived at last! To be followed by more days-of-blessing, while Katie Comes Home – and there’s a title for you, eventually. It would be a wonderful testimony and a compelling book, even though just now it’s very much a story-in-progress. But thank goodness, the conclusion to this story is also a new beginning, and a wonderful one.

    Thank you for bringing Katie home, and thank you for allowing us to become vicarious travelers on her great journey.

    Sending traveling blessings…

    Susan in Ky
    Cousin to 2 from EE       

  33. Kim says:

    OK, well I knew the date was approaching soon, but I missed that it was TOMORROW that you leave. Once I read this and heard it was tomorrow morning I couldn’t help but cry! It is finally happening, isn’t it– and not a moment too soon. I am so excited for you both to be going, together this time, on this journey. I will be thinking and praying for you each and every day. Blessings, Kim

  34. Autumn says:

    Shouts of joy and prayers for your journey from our family in Missouri to yours! Go get your Katie Bird!!! God bless and keep you safe, we will be thinking and praying for you all :) YAY!

  35. Laura F. says:

    Susanna, I was struck by one profound, powerful line in your comment above: “I want her to know that I am permanent and will be there when she needs something.”  A simply beautiful statement of a mother’s unconditional love.  What a powerful, amazing story you are living and your Katie Bird will soon be where she should have always been… in your arms.  I will be praying for you when, in less than 8 hours, you make this blessed journey to bring her home!

  36. Rachel says:

    Its Wednesday evening. Its almost time! How your heart must flutter! God be with you and bring you and baby safely back home to your family. Can’t wait to see what happens next! Praying for you! And hoping to meet you sometime!

  37. Lish says:

    We’re up praying for you this morning as you prepare to leave! Remember “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” ~Deuteronomy 31:8

  38. Mindy says:

    Praying for you as you’re traveling now to bring your little Katie home! How exciting! Praying that travel is swift and smooth. Praying that the time in country falls into place. Praying that your family state-side has peace and calm. Praying that your travel home is blessed with ministering angels all the way. I’m looking forward to the next chapter and seeing God work His plan!

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