A little child like this

May 21st, 2012

Do you recognize the child in the photo below?


I felt reluctant to show you this face last August.

You might look at it, I thought, and get stuck at the surface level, the surface level that shouts scary, burdensome, ugly, abnormal, and undesirable.

You might look at it and think these things about the child of my heart, my baby.

This is my wailing, stick-thin child in her orphanage pajamas, having her picture taken in a sleek, modern portrait studio in the bustling city of Pleven, just a few minutes’ drive from the bed where she was kept for nearly ten years.  She stank.  Her teeth were coated heavily with yellowish-gray rock.  She chewed on her wrist at every opportunity that day.  As I carried her down the sidewalk of her own city, and posed her for her passport photo, others stared, then turned their faces away.  There’s something alien about her, something socially embarrassing, something wrong with her.

I was hesitant to show you this photo then; there’s no hesitancy in me now!

Please look at her face again.


Please hear me.  Inside that child was this child.  This shining, sparkling, twinkling girl.  The lack of love from those around her made Katie unlovely.  This child of my heart is now lovely.

Love has made her lovely.


My heart is burning, throbbing, aching, spilling over, for the little human beings who are overlooked for adoption.  They are left unloved and overlooked because they are seen as scary, burdensome, ugly, abnormal, and undesirable.  They are seen as undesirable in their native countries, and they are seen as undesirable by our “enlightened, progressive, tolerant” society.

No, there is no trace of hesitancy left inside me now.  I can’t live peacefully with the thought that there are children whom nobody wants.  My heart is most with the children who are most overlooked.

What do you think when you look at the most overlooked children?

What would you want others to think about you if you had been so mistreated as to be become unlovely?  

What does Jesus think when He looks at them?

We don’t have to guess.

He says, “Whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me.”

A little child like this…


A little child like this…


A little child like this…

Remember precious Hope?  She’s still waiting in Russia, friends, and her time is ticking away quickly!  Faces that frown can also smile!  Please see past the surface to the worth and potential of this child!


A little child like this…

Trina is still waiting in Russia, too, and her opportunity to be adopted will run out this fall.  Please, someone, see that hair grows!  Twinkles come into the eyes of children who know they’re loved!  Go back and look at Katie’s photos again!


A little child like this…

Please email Nina at nina.t@chiadopt.org to learn more about adopting sad, malnourished Hamilton, waiting in Katie’s former country.  He needs good food and the love of a family, friends!


I have a video of Hamilton showing that he is a sweet and smart little guy!


A little child like this…

Please email Nina at nina.t@chiadopt.org to learn more about adopting Zed, who is waiting in a bad baby house in Katie’s former country, and needs a family to go get him out of there!


This was done to Zed, but it doesn’t have to stay that way!  What would you look like if you were being underfed and mistreated?  How would you want others to react to seeing you then?


A little child like this…

Please email Nina at nina.t@chiadopt.org to learn more about adopting Annika, a precious girl who is trapped in the same bad baby house where Zed lives.  I have many more photos of Annika, and she is a sweetheart!


A little child like this…

Please email Nina at nina.t@chiadopt.org for more information about adopting this precious three-year-old treasure Lana from Katie’s former orphanage!  Look at their hands holding her mouth closed and propping her up for the photo.  She is very delayed due to neglect and possibly a heart defect.  Thank the Lord she can be adopted now and begin to progress in her development!  Now she does not have to end up like Katie!


A little child like this…

Please email Shelley at shele337@yahoo.com for more information about adopting sweet Gabby from the top floor of Katie’s former orphanage.  She has been waiting and waiting and waiting on Reece’s Rainbow, unchosen!  Her file must be sent back three weeks from today, on June 10th, if no one commits to adopting her before then! 


A little child like this… 

Please email Shelley at shele337@yahoo.com for more information about adopting tiny Beacan, who has languished in the horridness of the top floor of Katie’s former orphanage for far too long!  He turns eleven years old this year!  


I refuse to give in to cynicism about the fact that Lana will probably be first from this list to be chosen.  We know there aren’t parents rushing in droves to adopt these children or others like them.

But God has never needed a majority to get His work done!

For months now, we’ve been watching Him send families to the most overlooked children.

He can break hearts and fill them with a love that is stronger than fear, just like He did to ours.

He can send loving parents to every one of these children.

That is what our family is praying He will do, and quickly.


“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me.”


Yes, a little child like this…


Katerina, the day she was freed from Pleven


 Welcome, Lord Jesus.




[A challenge:  What would it cost you to share this post on Facebook or Twitter?  Who knows how God might use one simple act of sharing to bring families to these little ones?]




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32 Responses to “A little child like this”

  1. Desi says:

    Dear Susana, one remains speechless with agony at the sight of these photos. My admirations go to you and to your beautiful family, and to your Plight for all children like Katie. You have made a lot of people start thinking what they can do to affect change.

  2. Becky K. says:

    Warren and I were discussing how Katie still appears to have an aura of wonder about her.  She still seems to be amazed at how good she has it.  All afternoon yesterday she was so happy.  So comfortable and taking it all in.  I do pray that other children will have opportunity to find loving permanent homes.  The change in your Katie is truly remarkable.

  3. Desi says:

    Hallo, it is me again. I have been unable to stop thinking about Katie since last week when I first visited your blog. I smile every time when I watch the video with Verity – happily yawning – and Katie, lighting up the room with her smiles. What an amazing bunch of children you have! 


  4. Amy says:

    I shared your post on facebook, asking friends to PLEASE read it. My heart breaks over and over for these precious treasures! I love how God is using sweet little Katie in a mighty way to be an advocate for all those left behind waiting to be chosen.

  5. When I got to your second paragraph I just had to stop reading because I would never have thought any of those things.  Every picture you have ever put up has only made me think what a precious child.  I wish I could have her as our own not because of how far she has come but because in all her pictures I see a beautiful girl who needed love.  Now she has that and I am sooo beyond happy about her new life with you.  She has ALWAYS been beautiful your family just helped to brighten her petals.

    OK now I can read the rest:) 

  6. Deb W says:

    Sharing without hesitation! LOVE the love! I see beauty!

  7. Judee Albert says:

    Hi Susanna,

    I linked to the post on FB with a heartfelt intro.  Oh, how my heart yearns to go myself and scoop up one of these precious ones.  Perhaps someday.  Meanwhile, I will pray.  I will advocate.  I will do what I can.


    Judee in Iowa  

  8. Jennifer says:

    Oh Susanna, you’re right about Lana.  THATS why they are holding her mouth like that.  (Having no experience with DS, I didn’t think of it.) 

    I’m so scared to go there when it is our turn to go, which will probably be soon. 

  9. Leean says:

    Susanna,  we are making a video for our Down Syndrome adoption announcement to be shown at Church/fundraisers/and for family.  I was wondering if you would be willing to e-mail me a before and after picture of you and Katie.  The first half of the video will be orphan statistics and Bible verses, the last half will show how to help 140,000,000 orphans (one at a time).  And will show photos of families that have adopted with our little one being the last photo. 

    I shared this post on facebook and I pray that someone will listen to God calling them to step-up!  Thank you for bringing awareness to these forgotten children. 

  10. Ashley says:

    Thanks for all you do for these children. You have a beautiful family! I’ve posted a link to you on FB. God Bless you and your service to him!

  11. Stef says:

    I shared.

  12. Brooke says:

    I shared on Facebook!!! Thank you for having the heart you do and for advocating and being such a beautiful and strong voice for the voiceless!!!

  13. Angie says:

    I am committing to praying for Hope.  Will anyone join me?

  14. Galit says:

    Your posts always bring tears to my eyes.  I shared this on my blog.  http://matir-asurim.blogspot.com/2012/05/children.html

  15. Sandie says:

    My kids have been walking past the computer, as I sit here reading your blog.  Each one has said “Awww”, to the pictures as they came on the screen.  What a reminder to me to look at others through the eyes of a child:)  Love does such amazing things in the lives of the unloved.

  16. Lauren Horton says:

    susanna..some people may say these children are scary, burdensome, ugly, abnormal, and undesirable. I say that are beautiful, a blessings, much loved.. children of an all powerful GOD!

  17. Misty says:

    Lord, Jesus help us.

    Thank you for this post. You do not know us. We are a Christian family who just arrived home 2 months ago from adopting a little boy from Ukraine, a very sick little boy…but oh such a blessing to our souls Could you please tell me a bit about the process of adopting from Katie’s country….specifically the cost and time required in country. Please email me. Thank you. Lord Bless

    Misty Risse     

  18. Angie says:


    Gabby and Beacon (shown above) an from Katie’s former orphanage (and therefore country).  It mentions above that you can email <shele337@yahoo.com> to find out more about them.  I’m sure that this person can also give you more general information.

  19. Thomas R Boroughs says:

    No one could say it better.

  20. Katie says:

    Oh Susanna.  I recognized Katie, right away.  I saw her light through that veil of horribleness that had been done to her.  Poor sweet girl.  That photo reminds me of one taken of a concentration camp survivor.  Black and white, starved, sick, exhausted.  And I have never looked upon one of those people with disgust or disdain.  They are not what was done to them.

    A friend and I were having a conversation today… about the line “Break our hearts for what breaks yours”.  About how I prayed this after I watched Katie come home via your blog, about how it happened when God awoke in me a strong desire to help these children who have been thrown away by the very people meant to protect them.  About how, if we could only see the world through God’s eyes, it would truly break our hearts to see these wonderful, beautiful, perfect creations simply discarded, mistreated as they are.  

    When I think about how I would choose a child for adoption, aside from issues regarding qualifying and travel, I think, I want to go where I am most needed.  I want to go where few others dare tread.  I want to say yes, because I know someone else will say no… and every single child is deserving.  Two years.  Katie’s former country is at the top of my list because of qualifications/travel, and the children who are overlooked, who are treated like she was, who are in the worst orphanages… oh, my heart just cries that I can’t come for them sooner.  

    I have already shared your post.  And I will again.  Oh, precious babes, you are wonderful and beautiful and designed perfectly by the One who loves you even more than we do.  Please hang on.  We are trying to find your Mamas.   

  21. Melissa says:

    Amen!  Well said :)  I pray that more people can adopt this attitude of love and acceptance, and making a true change in the world!

  22. Theresa Casey says:

    How does a person go about adopting one of these children? I don’t have a large income; however, I do have a large heart. I raised five children of my own. Please let me know!

  23. Beck Gambill says:

    Precious babies! I’m trusting with you that God is greater, that he can impart his love into the hearts of his children so that hands and feet will move. Will you pray for me this week? I’m contacting the government of Serbia to ask permission to visit institutions there to see best how to offer love and help. I can’t help but be burdened for the ones who will not leave, the ones who aren’t even available for adoption. I can’t bear the thought of their fate if no one goes to them.

  24. Jill says:

    I love seeing what love can do. She IS such a beautiful, amazing child. In each and every child there is a gem, waiting to be found. I’m a social worker, and I know this all to well, unfortunately even here in the US there are kids who because of abuse and neglect look angry, ugly, undesirable to others. I work with these kids and see the light in them. The what could have been if only someone had loved them like they deserved to be loved! I’m praying these children find love and a family.

  25. Susanna says:

    Theresa, I emailed you…

  26. Susanna says:

    Beck, I will put you on our prayer list. Please update us if you can.

  27. Susanna says:

    Misty, a Bulgaria adoption requires two trips of about a week each. The two trips are usually separated by four or more months, and the court process/finalization happens between the two trips. The Bulgarian facilitator appears in court in place of the parents.

    I am more or less familiar with three US adoption agencies that facilitate special needs adoptions from Bulgaria. They all have their own rules for adoptive parents, and their costs vary widely. Children’s House International can cost around $30,000, Lifeline Children’s Services can cost in the mid- to upper-$20K’s, and About a Child is usually in the lower $20,000’s. We used Lifeline, but would not do so again for reasons other than the cost, which for Katie’s adoption was about $28,000. From all the facts we know right now, we would choose About a Child.

    HOWEVER, God is the one in charge, and we take our orders from Him, so we would choose differently were He to direct us differently. :)

    I am emailing this info to you, but am also posting it here for the sake of others who may be interested.

  28. Denise says:


    Did you see this video?  So many children– why aren’t more of them listed?


    7:40 has KATIE!!!  (and her babba)

    PS:  Called the SW you told me about today–  my heart hasn’t been at rest– we are moving forward…. SLOWLY!!  :)  :)  :)  :)

  29. Susanna says:

    Denise, I am thrilled to hear this news! Please keep me posted if you are able, and please call or email anytime I can be of help.

    About the video–it’s the one that was sent to us less than two weeks before I visited Katie last August. If I were to watch it with you, I could show you which children in that video are now being adopted! One little boy, Niko, just went home to his new family not long ago–the first child to get home from Pleven since Katie did. But you are right that far too many are still unlisted! (Including one little boy I hope God lets us bring home someday.)

  30. Meredith says:

    Blessings and prayers always, Susanna, and I will spread the word in anyway I can!  Love is so gorgeous an transformative–thanks for being living proof of this.

  31. Desi says:

    Susanna, I am sending the link to the article Daunting problems, dauntless parents in Bulgarian. Its going to feature in our human rights electronic magazine in a week.


  32. Lilly says:

    Susanna – I admire so much what you are doing!  Loving and caring for Katie is the most selfless and beautiful thing.  As a Bulgarian, I am deeply ashamed, horrified, and heart broken with the plight of Bulgarian orphans.  I am so inspired and humbled by your story and example.

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