little news, BIG NEWS!

March 14th, 2012


little news

Katie’s vein stayed open for her second day of IV infusion!  Thank you so much for praying, friends!  Her line flushed normally tonight before her bedtime, so I have big hopes that it will remain open for tomorrow.  Just one more day!

Dr. Strauss decided today that Katie’s next three IV treatments, in June, September, and December, for three days each time, can be done at home!  I can take her to the Clinic to have her IV started, and then we can carry on the remainder at home, as long as her vein stays open for the duration.  Hurray!



Some of you will remember that this is the second of two crucial weeks for the Pleven orphanage.

Last week, Dr. Lilova and her team visited the orphanage and assessed the children.

This week, Shelley Bedford is in Bulgaria.  She just gave me permission to copy her report of her meeting with Dr. Lilova, and I have done so below.

Today in Sofia, Shelley is headed for a meeting that could have enormous impact on the lives and futures of the children with special needs in the Pleven baby house.

Could you please do three things?

1)  Cover today’s meeting with fervent prayer!  I’m not telling you the time of the meeting, because that is immaterial to God.  Please just pray that He will work mighty miracles on behalf of the children, and cause the officials to have a strong desire to do whatever it takes to get every child listed for adoption.

2)  If you wish you could adopt a child with special needs from the Pleven baby house, it is time to stand up and be counted!  Please email Shelley Bedford as soon as possible stating that fact.  “We have considered adopting a child from Pleven,” or “We hope to adopt a child from Pleven,” or even “If we could, we would love to adopt a child from Pleven.”

This is not a legally binding statement and does not obligate you in any way!

It is simply vital for Shelley to show those who need to know it that these little ones are desirable and adoptable children, and that it will be worth the officials’ time and effort to get them listed for adoption!

Shelley’s email address is

3)  Read the following blog post, copied with permission directly from Shelley’s blog:


“In this blog post, I shared the conditions at one orphanage in Pleven, Bulgaria. The response to the cry for help has been AMAZING. A little over $22,000 has been raised since the post was shared on February 25th!


Today, I met with Prof. Lilova at the Tokuda hospital in Sofia (yes, I’m in Bulgaria this week). She went to the orphanage in Pleven for 2 days last week to evaluate all the children. Based on her assessment, a minimum of THIRTY children will be hospitalized for medical treatment, many of them needing multiple surgeries.

30 children.

Some of them need surgeries. Others just need basic care like dental work for rotting teeth that cause infections in the body, and feeding through a monitored program to avoid health risks.

In addition to these medical needs, Prof. Lilova shared another finding with me. During her exams, she discovered that MANY of the children have had bones broken in their little bodies and then the broken bones were not treated, causing them to heal incorrectly. It is such a large number of children that have experienced this that the head of the Orthopedic Dept at Tokuda is taking a team to the orphanage to evaluate the children later this moth. Prof. Lilova expects that some of the children will need to come to the hospital for orthopedic surgery to reset bones that were broken and not set for proper healing.

Today, we discussed the legal aspects of providing the care to the children. In Bulgaria, everyone is covered under a government health care program. However, that program only covers basic medical care. It does not cover specialized surgeries and other procedures. So, all basic care of the children will be covered under their individual medical insurance. The stuff above and beyond that (for example, one child needs surgery for cataracts and the surgery is covered but the lens that are put in are not) will be covered by the funds raised in the Pleven medical fund. We will receive detailed receipts for each child’s care to show what was covered and what wasn’t. The money in the special bank account will only be used to pay these medical bills, transportation to get the children to/from the orphanage and to pay the expenses for the caretaker to stay at the hospital with the children.

Tokuda hospital is not benefiting financially in any way for treating the children, and Prof. Lilova  will not be supervising the use of the funds.

In addition to these things, Prof. Lilova also requested special formula to use to feed the children with. This formula will need to come from the US and the process for shipping it is being arranged now (verifying with the customs office here on how it needs to be done to not charge an additional fee). Diapers also need to be donated to the hospital for the children. Since diapers can be purchased in Sofia, monetary donations can be made to pay for the diapers, which will be purchased in Sofia and delivered to the hospital when each group of children check in.

More money is needed, folks.

THIRTY children need treatment and surgery. That is 30 kids that we know of right now. That number will increase after the orthopedic team visits. The need is great.

Today, 3 more children from Pleven were admitted into the hospital.

I was able to visit them and hold them.

Today, I held a 14 year old girl in my arms. At check in today, she weighed just 14 pounds. Her physical condition is absolutely heartbreaking. There is no other word for it. I held her and talked to her and prayed for her and all that I could think was…..I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry that you’ve been treated this way, that you’ve lived in this condition. I am sorry that you’ve endured this for all these years.
She wrapped her tiny little hand around my fingers and I looked at the skin and bones the size of a 3 month old. She squeezed my finger and smiled. She snuggled into my arms as I rocked her back and forth and talked softly into her ear. She looked up at me and smiled.
Today, I held that little girl in my arms and whispered in her ear that she is not forgotten, that her life matters and that she is finally going to have a voice.

I am asking…no, I am begging…each and every person that is reading this to


I have seen a lot in the 5 years that I’ve been advocating for orphans. I’ve brought my own child home in pitiful condition and wondered if he’d ever recover from the neglect he experienced. That is the driving force behind my advocacy.

But this…these kids…

Today, my heart broke all over again for orphans.

I’m all out of pretty words to say.

All that I can tell you is that today, I held a 14 year old girl in my arms and she is skin and bones the size of a 3 month old.

That should say it all.

These children need and deserve so much more.


Please….pray, share and give.
The lives of these children matter.

“I tell you the truth, whatever you do for the least of these, you did for me.”
Matthew 25:40


[Note from Susanna:   Since Shelley published the above post less than 24 hours ago, thanks to more loving and generous hearts, the amount in the fund rose to $23,489!

There is one more thing you can do that will directly impact the lives of the children in Pleven.  Could you please help to spread the word of this need far and wide?

After details are hammered out, an upcoming post will tell you how you can help get diapers and formula to Tokuda Hospital for the Pleven children who will be admitted there, as well as to the orphanage itself.

My friends, I cannot articulate the JOY that is flooding my heart to WATCH OUR GOD RESCUE THESE CHILDREN.]




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36 Responses to “little news, BIG NEWS!”

  1. Hooray!  Hooray for veins staying patent!  We know all about these things at our house.  Tyler actually has a central line, but during those in between times when he didn’t have one, we had to use a peripheral I.V.  Just curious as to what Katie’s getting periodically.  And wondering if she was put on parenteral nutrition when she first came home.  Ty;er’s been on PN almost since birth, no fun!  He’s had 29 central lines so far….  We may have some supplies to send you, to help hopefully with some of the costs.  Please email me :)

  2. Michelle says:

    Wonderful news for Katie! Hope tomorrow goes well! Such an amazing girl (and momma too). Donated and praying for these children to get the care and LOVE they deserve! Thank you for educating us on this situation and need for change. God is doing amazing work through all of you!

  3. Rita from Spain says:

    YAY to the lil news (which is not so little!)….YAY to the big news that is HUGE!!!!!!!! Thank you for updating us!

  4. Milena says:

    I have prayed for that meeting now. I so hope for a positive outcome of it, for the darling children of Pleven!

  5. Saige says:

    Posting this to my facebook page!

  6. sabrina says:

    So glad to hear the good news about Katie’s IV. Those pictures last post were so sad. 

    A 14 year old girl, weighing 14 pounds? How many more children are there in such extreme condition? 

    I’ll be praying and sharing. 

  7. Jennifer says:

    All the news is BIG NEWS!  I rejoice at what is going on in Pleven….it will help my son in our process and ALL the sons and daughters there!  I wish there was a way to say…although we are currently adopting, that we CHOSE to adopt THIS boy BECAUSE of where he lived….please, I hope others consider it too.  Yes, I know it is an enormous challenge, even more so when a child comes out of that environment, but I know there are those who are waiting to be rescued!

  8. Kara says:

    Wonderful! So glad those babies are getting out of there.

  9. Praying and e-mail sent. :)   Thanks for all that you have done to keep us updated!!!

  10. Holly F. says:

    Big news all around!  Glad to read it all!! 

    I wish that I could send that email stating that I want to adopt.  My husband still says no.  It breaks my heart (and leads to a bit of tension) but until his heart is open to adoption, that is not a step I can take.  :(

    Praying today especially hard!

  11. starfishmom says:

    In have 9 cans of Neocate infant formula.  Please let me know if you or someone you know can use them.  I am  more than willing to send them need be.  Hugs to your beautiful family…xoxox 

  12. Susanna says:

    Thank you so much, starfishmom! Emailing you!

  13. Missy says:

    I sent an email saying I would love to adopt from Pleven. I didn’t add that I am too old. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. :)

  14. Lisa Matthews says:

    Yay for little and big news!  I emailed even though my husband and I are still working toward agreement regarding adoption because the truth is… if he would say yes (and we had the funds ready)… I would do it in a heartbeat!  I would bring one of those precious babies home if there were any way possible right now.  I don’t care about the level of care needed.  I could do it.  I WOULD do it. 

    Until the day that hubs says “let’s do it”… I’ll keep praying for direction and for all the children in Plevin and every other orphanage who desperately need families.    

    Ladies… remember… The emails aren’t a committment.  They’re just a way to let her know that these babies ARE wanted and ARE adoptable!!   

  15. Katie says:

    Thank you so very much for the updates.  I’ve been scrapping together bits and pieces about Pleven from all over and it’s great to hear that the changes I was hoping I hadn’t imagined are really as big as I’d hoped.  The children’s condition is horribly heartbreaking, to hear more news of the same is sad, however it’s also happy because we know these little ones hung on long enough that the wheels are moving for them to get the help they need.  

    I’ll send an e-mail too.  I know I can’t adopt from Pleven… yet…
    …and I hope when I can adopt, there will be no Pleven, or a very different Pleven…
    but I want to.  More desperately than I want to carry a biological child, and such has been my dream since I was ten years old.  I love every single one of them, I am following all of the journeys of the Pleven families and I can’t wait to see every single one of their children home and thriving like Katie is.  And then the next round, and the next, and the next, and the next… and if it takes two years to bring them all home… then mine ;) 

  16. Heather says:

    Praying, praying, praying.  Thank you for updating us.  I shared on my facebook page and encouraged everyone to share.  Who knows who we can reach together, the more eyes we open to this atrocity, the more likely the opportunities to make real change.  May God continue to march!

  17. Sheri says:

    I emailed, we are starting our homestudy soon.  We are praying that we will be ready soon so we can take in any children that need a home!

  18. Susanna says:

    Missy, I have two friends who are adopting from Bulgaria and are in their sixties. Bulgaria has no upper age limit for adoptive parents. Do you still say you’re too old? :):):)

  19. Amber Byler says:

    WHo do we address the emails to Shelly or the B government just wanting to know before we send our letters. Thank you for keeping us updated on the situation and we are praying for change in this country as well as others with simular situations.

  20. Deanna says:

    Wonderful news all around, Susanna….


  21. lisa matthews says:

    I have no idea if I’ll be able to donate them, but I have a whole large box of size 5 huggies that Jasper suddenly outgrew.  His growth spurt was epic.  I was buying diapers through amazonmom and getting them at almost half price so I would get several boxes at a time. 

    I know that for some things it’s easier to just buy them there and not bother with shipping.  Please email me if the diapers are wanted/needed and I’ll donate them!   

  22. Jennifer says:

    Hooray for the big and little (big) news both!  Praying for Katie tomorrow and for all that is happening at Pleven.  Thank you so much for these updates! 

    PS:  Susanna, would you mind sending me your email address?  I am a RR prayer warrior for a child and want to advocate for him as best I can.  I’ve never considered blogging before but think this might be the best way to raise awareness of his situation among my immediate and extended circle.  I’d like to mention Katie’s story along with a before/after photo but certainly not without your permission.  I can share more, but feel email would be the most appropriate route for doing so.

  23. Lynn Marie says:

    praying for the sweet cherubs in pleven, praying blessings on all the loving hands helping them now, praying we will see them all listed on RR vefore very long and praying the bulgarian adoption process will start to just fly! also praying for work so i can donate to this amazing fund! thanks for providing a way to be a part of these precious lives!

  24. Missy says:

    Susannna, I think I am meant to be Baba Missy, not Mama. :)

  25. Susanna says:

    Amber Byler, thank you so much for helping! You can address your email to Shelley. :)

  26. Susanna says:

    Missy, I understand, and I’m sure you would make a good one!

  27. Susanna says:

    Jennifer, emailed you…

  28. Susanna says:

    Lisa Matthews, emailed you…

  29. Praying for the children <3

  30. Holly F. says:

    I get it now…lol.  I emailed asking that Shelley let the “powers that be” know that I would adopt in a heartbeat if it was possible.  That I love these children as much as I love my own son with Down syndrome.  That there are plenty of parents like me that are actually in the position to adopt and WILL if only the child are available.  I also put in my email that I would not at all be frightened of the medical care needed. 

    Hopefully, that will convince them to at least list the child and open them for adoption. 

    In the meantime, I pray my husband’s heart opens.  @Lisa Matthews, don’t you just wish God would touch our husband’s heart now.  I know it is in His own time but oh how I want my husband to just say yes. 

  31. Marilyn Osborn says:

    Praise the Lord!!!!!!

  32. Christina D. says:

    Hi Susanna –

    One of my church family recently linked to your blog on Facebook, and since then, some of us have been voraciously reading through and catching up with this situation. (I’ve been reading through like a book and yesterday, I finally caught up with current time — my house definitely shows the neglect of devoting all this time to reading your blog — but hey! cleaning can always happen later, no? ;))

    I’ve been stretched and amazed and encouraged watching your journey (well, catching up with it, quickly!) and I have to tell you, though God has proven Himself and His love to me time and again, He has only grown in my vision through your story.   I am SO EXCITED to see what He will do in Pleven Orphanage, and in the lives of His children that He is touching with this story. And I’m praying that, if in all that He knows about my family and our situation, if He wills for us to be a part of a rescue or more, that He would do His miraculous work and make us worthy (by His abundant grace!) for one of these precious gifts, too.  And I know my God is big enough to do this!! May His will be done!!

    In the meantime, I’m wanting to do a small fundraiser for one of the kiddos that hasn’t been chosen yet, or maybe one that has and could use the encouragement/help?   When I do the #11 search, I see several kids that I’ve seen previously linked by you who you’ve mentioned already have families committed to them.  But it’s not evident to me, by the site, that this is the case. How do I sort out the kids that don’t currently have families committed to them? Is there a way to know this?

    Blessings and prayers and much, much love,
    Christina D. 

  33. Susanna says:

    Christina, it blesses me to see your open heart, and I am praying right now that God would use it to save lives. Thank you!

    Until now, every special needs child from Pleven who has become available for adoption since last August has had a family commit to them very quickly. There are so many other children there who need families, and whose files are either not yet listed with the MOJ (HUGE prayer request here!), or who have not yet shown up on the MOJ list that the Blg agencies see. One small girl living in Pleven, who is now in her teens, was never even given an ID#, similar to a SS#, and legally doesn’t even exist in her own country. We have been assured that something will be done to rectify that situation and help her become listed quickly, before her time runs out for adoption. In Bulgaria, children are no longer available for adoption after they turn 16.

    Right now, there are a couple of children from Pleven whose files are coming through and should be listed very soon! I will post about them as soon as I have the info and get the go-ahead!

    Until then, I strongly urge you to help the families who are in the process of adopting from Pleven. The enemy is doing his very best to discourage them and we can fight back by praying them through and giving to help them bring their child or children home. The BEST way to do that right now is to visit Rob and Julia Nalle’s blog here: and take part in their giant Mulligan Stew Giveaway, then help to spread the word about it to others! I will be writing more about this soon!

    The Mulligan Stew giveaway goes until the end of this month, and then for the first 7 days of April, the Hidden Treasures auction ( will be raising funds for the Unroe family, adopting tiny Keith from Pleven, as well as FOUR other children from other orphanages in Bulgaria. We need and appreciate *quality* donations for the auctions! Contact Amy Rainey at

    And as more children become available and (said in great confidence in God) are SNAPPED UP QUICKLY by families, their families will be grateful for those who are moved to help them raise funds! Thank you again so much for your desire to fundraise to help them bring their little ones home!

  34. Susanna says:

    Lisa Matthews, and anyone else who is interested in helping to get formula and diapers, as well as other needed supplies, to the Pleven orphanage, I should have more news next week about a fund that is being set up with a reputable NGO in Bulgaria, specifically for the needs in Pleven. Hurray!

  35. Christina D. says:

    Susanna –
    Thanks for your awesome answer! I’m on it!! =) Snuggle your sweet kiddos for me, please! 

  36. Amanda says:

    I think they both sound like big news to me!  :)  So glad Katie’s IVs are going so well! 

    You know how exciting the other news is for us.  :)  God has big plans and we are so priveleged that we can all be a part of it!  Thanks for keeping the news out there where all can see!  

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