I belong here.

December 28th, 2011

Hi everybody!  It was a rainy day here where I live, so I couldn’t go outside.  Daddy planned a day trip for my brothers and sisters for almost every afternoon this week.  He took all my brothers and sisters to a museum today, so it was very quiet in our house.  I miss them, but I decided to make my own fun by trying to sit up all by myself, and pull myself up on the outside of my Nap Nanny.  I can tell I’m making Mama very proud!  I just LOVE it when she gets all excited about something I did!  And it makes me want to try again and work all the harder!

Mama has lots of pictures and not many deep thoughts right now.  She told me it’s my turn to blog for a change.  I can’t talk yet, but I want to tell you the story of my first Christmas, so Mama’s going to write it down for me.

I stayed up waaaaaay too late on Christmas Eve.  No, my family didn’t keep me up past my bedtime!  Mama tucked me into my own bed as usual, and I listened to Bach cello suites.  I love that music!  I feel at home in my own crib now, and am ready to go there at eight o’clock every night.

That night I think it was all the excitement my family was spreading around the place.  I didn’t fall asleep until my biggest brothers went to bed.  That’s late!

So on Christmas Sunday morning, I stayed sound asleep when everyone else woke up, and my family let me sleep in.  They wanted me to be fresh and bright for my big outing.  Mama made sure I got some Christmas breakfast later.  I really like all the food Mama feeds me, but that was ‘specially good.

 

Did you know my sister Verity is eighteen months old now?  I don’t play with her much yet, because she’s such a busy girl, but I will.  Mama forgot to tell everyone what Verity learned to do right before Daddy and Mama came to get me last month!  On the very last day before they all said goodbye, Verity crawled up the stairs all by herself for the first time!  My family cheered for her just like they cheer for me!

Here is Verity, waiting patiently for her Christmas breakfast.  See her smile?  She’s a nice sister to me.

 

I’ve been loving my life with my family so much, and handling company so well, that they thought I was ready to go to a Sunday meeting.  (We’ve had a small but steady supply of company, just the way my family likes it, and I have even smiled at some of them.)

So anyway, they thought I was ready for an outing, but they were wrong!

Once I realized that Mama was not taking me right back out of that strange place full of strange people, I was very upset!

So we waited out the rest of the meeting in the little nursery room, Mama and I.  But even though Mama spoke calmly to me, and I heard big brother Joseph and big sister Laura’s familiar piano music over the intercom, I was barely holding it together.

Big sister Laura took this picture before we put coats on and went outside to our van.  I was still distressed, but I’m learning to talk to Mama about it instead of biting my wrist!

Finally!

Finally!

They got the point and brought me back HOME again!

Once I was sure that all the people who came in the house with me were MY people, I was happy again, like nothing had ever been wrong.  Even when Mama kept taking pictures of Verity and me before she changed us out of our special clothes.  [Thank you, L, they are beautiful!]

I love to be home with all my busy, noisy family around me.  I am happiest when I am right in the middle of everything!  Mama just told me that after we got home on Sunday, she realized that the only new place she’s ever taken me where I felt completely comfortable from the start was–my home!

Anyway, Daddy and Mama acted very silly, trying to get us both to smile at them at the same time!  And they think we’re a pair of characters!

After a while, they were laughing so hard at us falling over one way and then the other, and making funny faces, that Mama gave up trying to take our pictures and just kissed us instead!

After I was changed, Jane held me for a little while.  The other day, Jane said to Mama, “I can smell Katie in our room now.”  Mama asked if I needed a diaper change.  And Jane answered, “No, she has a sweet little Katie smell.”

Anyway, our house smelled very good, like roast beef, hazelnut creme coffee, Clementines, and homemade pecan sticky buns, and it was making us hungrier than ever!  I like the way our house smells!

Daddy read from Isaiah, and we all had our Christmas lunch.  It makes me so happy when all my family is together in one room.  I look around at all their faces and smile and laugh!

We listened to Handel’s Messiah while we ate.  I just love how much music there is in my home!

Then we gathered in the living room, all together.  Mama, Verity and I snuggled together on our rocking chair and watched everyone else.  It was past Verity’s nap time, and she was sleepy.

 

See this face?  This is Mama, enjoying the true reality.  Mama told me this afternoon that the only thing–the only thing–about adopting me that makes her heart sad is when people look at me and see a scary burden instead of the true reality.  They really think that if they had a child like me that they would be sorry instead of, well, like what you see on Mama’s face.  She wishes she could find the right words to help those people grasp the true reality, that the work and the joy occupy the same space, except that the joy is so huge that it makes the work joyful, too!  Mama loves to take care of me!  There is no drudgery when the love and joy are so huge!  She wants to know how to say this to get past the blocks in people’s minds, and she wants it so much it makes her cry sometimes.

My family gives individual gifts on birthdays, and shared gifts at Christmas time.  We don’t open all the gifts on Christmas Day.  So there are still enough gifts under our pretty tree to last the rest of the week.  Verity and I received some shared gifts–books and developmental toys that will encourage us to learn new skills!

Before we open gifts, we always sing some carols together first.  I love it when my family sings!  It sometimes seems to them like I am trying hard to sing with them.  All my family singing around me makes me feel like I am in heaven, and Mama sometimes has to calm me down because I am laughing so hard!

Here is some of my family getting ready to sing.

 

Laura always moves closer to Mama so she can learn the alto part.  Laura is a good sister to me!  She loves me soooo much, and said that when she grows up, she won’t marry any man unless he wants to adopt many children with special needs.

 

Daddy and Mommy always give the children small treasures in their stockings.  My four younger brothers liked their flashlights best.

 

A kind friend from our church fellowship blessed each of us with a gift.  John Michael received this animal puppet.  When Mama looks at this picture, she says the best kind of gift is the boy with the smile.  [And the nice haircut!  Thank you again, T!]

 

The shared gifts for my younger brothers are supplies for table time activities.  Our stock was running low and the boys have outgrown some of the ideas.  Mama plans to completely reorganize them before the New Year!  You can see my brothers working together to open that day’s gift.

I didn’t snuggle with Mama the whole time, you know.  She makes me work sometimes, too.  See me sitting and holding my head up?  When Daddy and Mama first got me, I refused to sit up, and pushed myself backward right away.  When Mama looks at this picture, her heart swells up with pride.  I’m her little Katie-bird, and she is proud of me!  And I know it!

Sometimes she asks me to do work that isn’t my favorite, but I am getting better at that, too.  Here she is giving input to my legs and feet.  You can see from my face how I feel about this, but I tolerate it longer and better than I used to.  She is telling me how well I am doing!

 

After a little Christmas supper, Daddy gave me one of my very favorite gifts!  He held me in his arms for a while before Mama took me upstairs to wash me up for bed!  I never, ever get tired of being with Daddy!  Daddy loves me!

 

So, everyone, if you read the story I just told you about my first Christmas Day with my family, now you know what I love best.  Mama wants me to tell you that to see how perfectly God matched me to my family, you should read what she wrote about our family way back last spring for the Ministry of Justice in my birth country.

This year, my family celebrated because God sent His Son Jesus to earth, and because He always does everything perfectly right.

 

 

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39 Responses to “I belong here.”

  1. Angie says:

    Can’t believe I’m one of the first ones to read this- I guess I’m lucky to live on the west coast in this instance! :)  What a beautiful story told from Katie’s perspective.  Brought happy tears to my eyes, which is the norm when I visit your blog.  Your family is so precious.  God bless all of you.

  2. Jane says:

    Oh Katie! I am with Angie, so lucky to live out west where we are all still awake!
    Miss Katie Musser, thank you for sharing your first Christmas at home with us.  It sounds like you were in paradise, and that is exactly where you should be, with your forever family.  You have brought great joy into the world, dear girl.  Your brothers and sisters are blessings as are your parents.  I hope you and your family have a fabulous New Year…all TOGETHER!  Thanks for all the details and wonderful news and for giving momma a break with the writing/blogging!  :)
    Much love to you all.

  3. patti says:

    tears if course. she is getting so chubby! I actually…forgot…that it wasn’t really Katiebird writing halfway through:) She needs to fill in on blog duties more often!!
    P.S. Every time Sam and I read your posts and there are pictures of your kitchen he says- we sat right there in *that* kitchen. You’d think we’d been to a movie star’s home;) love you, friend.

  4. HeatherK says:

    This is so precious.  I can never leave this blog without tears streaming down my face.  Thank you for sharing this gift with us.  Merry Christmas.

  5. Johannah Back says:

    Katie- so glad that you had an amazing first Christmas! So many firsts for you-and they are all and will be so special! You are so blessed and we all love reading about your day! Best wishes to you and your amazing family! 

  6. Rita in Spain says:

    LOVE IT! Love the pics and love above all the pics of your kids, just lovi g each other and helping each other..Your older boys and girls look like gems and your younger ones are adorable…Thank you for telling us about your Christmas day..Katie without a doubt belongs with you…it is amazing to watch her chnage as the days fly by,…….and as I always say:
    Could Verity be ANY cuter??? With those lil glasses?? EDIBLE!
    HUGS and Merry Chritsmas…

  7. debbie fitts says:

    Katie, I am so glad you shared your first Christmas at home with us.  I loved all the pictures.  I can see you LOVE your family and they cherish you sweet girl.

  8. Mandy says:

    Just beautiful! Love this post. Glad to hear things are going well and that she loves being ‘Home’ where she belongs!

  9. Deanna says:

    I was excited for your family that you were all there – but sad that Katie struggled so.  One day, she will be at home at Sonrise, too!
    What a beautiful family Christmas!  It is so easy to see how loved Katie is and yet no more than the others!  God prepared you for this life of serving her by giving you all your blessings, and you learned those lessons well.  I think people struggle with understand your joy, because they have not learned the joy of serving others….
     

  10. Hollie says:

    Thank you, Katie, for the post. Please tell Momma that I do get the “no drudgery” part. Having a special (although I prefer to say different) needs child of my own, I understand and know the immeasurable joy when a could accomplishes a skill that the rest of us take for granted. The seemingly unreal feeling of watching a child be present in her own life. It always makes all of the different (some folks would say “extra”) work wonderfully worthwhile. But, please also tell your momma that I still do lose my patience even though I love my work. Wonder how she does it? I know that her faith is her answer. And, I do think that knowing your momma and you helps my faith grow and grow. I have a wonderful, real, reciprocal, loving relationship with Him, but I still do lose my patience, even though I trust in Him, know that he walks with me, and thank him every minute for the gift He gave me in my different needs child and my typical children.

    In any event, I am happy to hear that you are such a homebody and that your home makes your body and mind so wonderfully happy. I think I’d be really happy there, too; sounds like a dreamy place!

    You’re looking great. Please keep up the good work of tolerating the work that your momma gives you. She and God do know what you need, even if you don’t like it, and I can say firsthand that what doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger. But, you, my dear, know volumes of that tale.

    Tell momma one more thing, please. I think that while it always hurts that some folks would/will see a Katie or a Verity or a Kelly (my girl, who has autism) as a burden or something not to treasure, there does come, with time, an unshakeable peace with that. Not an acceptance, but families like yours and mine will NEVER accept such horrible judgment and misunderstanding, but a peacefulness that, for me, comes from Him, the wonderfully complex and joyful work He’s decided that I’m smart enough to take on, and living in a wonderful family like yours.

  11. Hollie says:

    P.s. Please tell Laura that that’s a WONDERFUL idea! I wish I had had such foresight when I was your age. God gave me the perfect partner to weather the storm of having a different needs child when I wasn’t looking for one, and now that I’ve been, for the past few years, seeking out ways to include another one in our family, God is helping me soften my wonderful partner’s heart and mind so that it can supplant what to this very smart and kind man seems like logic.

  12. Valerie says:

    I loved what Katie had to say.  The pictures are just wonderful! :):):):)

  13. Becky K. says:

    To have Both Katie and Susanna at the service on Sunday morning was a sweet thing.  I’m sorry it was stressful.  Time will take care of that, I am sure.  Little steps, Miss Katie, Little steps. 
    Joseph and Laura played so beautifully.  We are thankful for each one in your family and the gifts they share.
    We are beyond thankful that Katie is HOME where she belongs.  What a blessed Christmas!

  14. Sweet Katie,  What a beautiful post.  I am so happy to hear from you.  You tell your mama that she is so beautiful OK.  Can you also tell her that no matter what people think the truth does not change.  You are a gift and people will catch on when they see how your family rejoices over your life and presense on a daily basis.  You are such a precious girl!  Never forget that!  After all, you are a daughter of the King!!!

    Merry Christmas Katie.  Oh, and please tell Laura I am blessed by her desire to adopt.

  15. Joleigh says:

    Very nice work, Katie.  It was nice to hear things from your perspective and so kind of you to give your momma a break.  Please tell Verity that blue is definitely her color.  As for Laura, please tell her that Joleigh says “GOOD FOR YOU, GIRL!!”  In my most humble of opinions, that is a quality every girl should require in a potential spouse.

  16. Rachel says:

    Aww, Katie, you’re looking so good!  Miss Sunshine would like me to tell you that next time your mom takes you out to a busy place she should put in a pair of these for you (Sunshine uses just one broken in half to put in each ear).  They help keep out the noise and make the rest of the world a much nicer place!  Sunshine never leaves the house without them!

  17. Kristina and Family of 4! says:

    God bless!!

  18. Beautiful and so precious.  Only God could do so much good! :)

  19. Lara Font says:

    these are such beautiful words and pictures, what a precious family!!!!

  20. Debbie says:

    Katie, you are a wonderful writer – just like your mamma!
    I can’t wait to hear more about life from your perspective and see more pictures of you and your beautiful and joyful family.

  21. Brenda Lamey says:

    Katie, we loved hearing about your first Christmas!  This Christmas (and continuing through Epiphany) we are asking our friends and family to send us dollar bills to help another little girl get to her forever family.  She has special needs too!  My almost 5 and 1 year old are selling some older toys and donating the money as well.  We want every child to have a loving home like you have.  You and Verity look like beautiful little dolls! 

    The little girl we are trying to help is also a RR chld!  chasingcharlotte.blogspot.com

    Merry Christmas!

  22. Elizabeth Miles says:

    Susanna you and your family are such a blessing to read about. Thank you for sharing your story. I am so blessed and uplifted everytime I read your post. “Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!”

  23. Laura F. says:

    Thank you for this wonderful peek into your Christmas celebration.  I can see the joy, contentment and peace radiating from all of you!  I love seeing the roundness of Katie’s sweet face.  She and Verity looked simply adorable in their matching outfits… I think their bows were my favorite!

    And, Susanna, you captured it perfectly and eloquently when Katie said ‘that the work and the joy occupy the same space, except that the joy is so huge that it makes the work joyful too!”  Thank you for this.  Now I have the words to describe the joy of everything that Ian has brought to our lives!  Merry Christmas!

  24. Holly says:

    Katie-Bird,

    What an amazing command of the English Language you have!!  **wink, wink**

    Seriously, you and your entire family are so beautiful!!  Especially your mom!!  When a person is beautiful on the inside, it shines through their skin and eyes!!  Your mom shines sweetie, like the sun!!  Your sisters do too!  And you Sweetheart, shine like a million suns!!  

    I’m sad that you had a hard time at service but I know that will change in time.  So much love can be overwhelming.  You certainly look precious in your dress and later in your tutu.  Even with your sad pout when mommy is making you work hard.  (My little boy pouts like that too when he is in therapy and I kiss his pouty little lip because it is so cute.)

    I have a few messages for mommy as well.  Some people possess empathy in great quantities.  They do not need to have a child with extra needs to understand how much love changes what mom’s “go through” while caring for their child.  Some people are so selfish that they could NEVER understand the affect of that love.  Other moms, like myself, had empathy and wanted to understand but STILL could not imagine what it felt like until it actually happened.  I have since lost friends (they typically just begin ignoring my attempts to contact them) who are either too uncomfortable around my child or have no patience for the fact that my life has changed considerably since having my son.   My solution to keeping my heart intact:  I surround myself with those that are mom’s of children with extra needs and/or those that have the ability to love my son and our family.   I pray for the ones that can’t look past the “extra” needs my son has and see the beautiful person he is.  I pray that I can forgive them and stop stressing over it.  

    At our local Down Syndrome Society Meeting, we were given a book on parenting our child through adulthood.    I am halfway through the book and so far, it is simply ok.  I wouldn’t recommend it to other mom’s just yet.  BUT, I found it neat that the author continually uses the word “verity” instead of truth.  Before this blog, I would have read it, discerned it’s meaning via the context of the sentence, and continued reading.  After seeing this blog, the word JUMPS out at me everytime.  I find it to be such a beautiful word!!  It looks beautiful and sounds beautiful.  I have marked the passages and plan to share them when I have finished the book.  It is interesting to read the passage with the idea of adoption in mind.  And of the Blessings caused by the birth of Verity and of the rebirth of Katie.         

    Happy New Year Katie!!  I’m positive that the coming year will bring you many, many wonderful moments.         

  25. Holly says:

    Oh, forgot to say that Verity’s smile=SOOOOOOOO CUTE!!!!!!

  26. Holly says:

    Jeez….one more thing…lol.  My son has a best friend that was born a week earlier than him.  When we get those boys together, we can NEVER get a picture of them looking at the camera and smiling at the same time.  NEVER!!  His mom and I have begun gluing pictures together for our picture frames. 

  27. Brianna D. says:

    Katie,
    MERRY CHRISTMAS, and I am so glad you are home with your family now!  You are blessed to now be loved and to belong to a Mommy and Daddy and siblings… and to be hearing from them about Jesus Christ, Who loves you SO much!!! 

  28. Anna T says:

    Thanks Katerina for **your** first post!!  I enjoyed reading about your first Christmas with your family : ) !!  Yea for Verity, big girl climbing up the stairs all by herself, she’s going to keep getting stronger and stronger with her “step aerobics” for young children routine (what Jacob’s PT likens climbing the stairs to).  Big congrats to you Katerina for sitting up, you’re also getting stronger and stronger — yea!!  ((Hugs)), prayers and love!!  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

  29. Melanie Lindsay says:

    So beautifully written!! Thank you for sharing the tender sweetness in your home. 

  30. So beautifully written!  Loved reading this from Katie’s way of seeing it!  Katie, you so loved and well cared for!!  
     
    Verity is so cute too, what two beautiful little girls.  :)

  31. Anne says:

    Lovely to read about your first christmas with your forever family Katie. Out of all the families in the world, I believe God chose the perfect family for you though you had to go through a hard time to get to them.  Few people in history have lived through what you have and survived. But here you are, a tiny miracle and thriving every day. It makes my heart smile to see you grow. You are a living testament to what love and faith can do. Please tell your mama it is very apparent that she finds joy in caring for you. She is indeed using the right words and touching hearts.

  32. Marilyn Osborn says:

    loved this post….love you…M

  33. Phyllis McErath says:

    Hi my name is Phyllis.  I am Deanna Rabes mother.  I have been following your blog for sometime now.  I have laughed and cried as I have read the story.  I was in church on Christmas day.  I didn’t know you were there with Katie.  I did see your children and husband.  I am fairly shy so I did not meet them.  I would have loved to have seen you and Katie.  I do understand and will continue to pray for you and your family.  Hopefully someday I will get to met you.  Thanks for sharing your story.

  34. Rachel M says:

    I knew you would post a Christmas update! I was so looking forward to reading about Katie’s first Christmas!! I LOVED getting a glimpse of the whole family and what family and church life is like for you all, Thank you!!!
     

  35. Jill says:

    Miss Katie, if anyone can convey the true reality of raising such a wonderful child as you, it is your mommy! I hope she will continue to write because those of us who have also tried to convey the wonder of raising a child with Down syndrome would like someone to get it just right.

    What a beautiful family God brought for you! I’m so glad you had a merry Christmas, safe in their warm embrace. I can hardly wait to see what an amazing new year you have ahead of you!

  36. Susanna says:

    I am so sorry I didn’t get to meet you, Phyllis! I would have loved that, and hope I’m there when you visit again!

  37. Gail says:

    i was a little ‘OCD’ in checking here for a Christmas blog!  It surpassed my expectations. Continued pryer for the Musser familly.
    Blessings  G

  38. Katherine Lauer says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed such a beautiful first TRUE Christmas!

  39. Aunt Erma says:

    Susanna, I hope you have a way of keeping all your blogs to read later.  This is equisite!    I love your creative way of telling Katie’s stories.  Maybe someday you can publish a book in the style of this blog.   I’m sure it would sell.    I’m so pleased with Katie’s progress.
       I hope I can come see Katie when I come to PA the end of January.   My granddaughter, Stephanie, is Maria in the “Sound of Music” at Lanc. Bible College.
        God bless you and each of your wonderful children.     With love, Aunt Erma

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