There’s a GPS in my diaper bag!

July 4th, 2012

Hi everybody!  It’s me, Katie!

Guess what I did last weekend…?

I went with Mama to the big city for three days!

She was asked to tell my story to some really nice people who love Jesus, love people, and love life.

You can probably guess that Mama didn’t like to say goodbye to everyone else in our family, especially the little ones.  But we all decided that it will be worth it if helps even one more child to get adopted like I did!

We hoped and prayed that when some of the life-loving people heard my story, maybe some of them would help give life to other real little children who have been put out for the trash.  Being for life means a whole lot more than not wanting people to kill their unborn babies.

We want as many people to hear my story as possible, because I left lots of children behind me, and now we know for a fact what heals hurt children.

Do you know the real reason I am growing and learning?

Do you know why I can pick up toys and drop them into a basket, clap two toys together, pass toys back and forth from one of my hands to the other, and lean toward a baby doll, smilingly pat it, and say, “Baba,” instead of immediately pushing toys away, hitting myself on the head with them, or throwing them on the floor?

Do you know why I’m understanding more and more spoken language?  Do you know why I’m trying hard to imitate more and more speech sounds?

Do you know why I can stand up for a long time while holding on with just my hands?

Do you know why I prefer my mama to everyone else now, and don’t go up to other people and pat them and call them “Mama” any more?

Do you know why I can…well…I want you to watch these videos and see for yourself what I did to make my mama burst into tears last week!




It’s not some magical hidden knowledge about special needs, or a designer lifestyle, or extra-ordinary saintliness, or a gargantuan income.  It’s because my family accepts and values and loves me unconditionally and is willing to work hard and sacrifice for me.  That’s all.

It makes us sad when people who are over-qualified to adopt say they couldn’t do what our family is doing.  We know it’s a misconception that’s keeping more children from loving families.  Yes, they could do what my family is doing if they have willing hearts and love their child like my family loves me.

My mama used to be shy to speak boldly about this, but not any more.  She hears too many qualified people saying that it takes something they don’t have to adopt a child with special needs, and concluding that they just aren’t called to it.  She hears them say that it wouldn’t be fair to a child they would adopt.  When the truth is that the love and home and family they have to offer is light-years above anything any child will ever find in any orphanage anywhere in the world.  Please believe me, because I know it first-hand.

The love of my family is why my sad, empty eyes now sparkle, my body is growing bigger and stronger, and my heart is healing.

This is me without my family.


This is me being loved by my family!


This is Lina without her family.  She was on the top floor of Pleven, right in the same room with me.


This is Lina being loved by her family!


This is Ana without her family.


This is Ana being loved by her family!


So that’s why Daddy rented a car, put emergency funds into Mama’s wallet, kissed Mama and me goodbye, and took on the household while we were gone.

I didn’t mind the traveling, and Mama made sure I could always hear her voice while I rode in the back seat and couldn’t see her face.  She sang and talked to me a lot.  Every time we stopped at a traffic light, Mama reached her hand back to me so I could hold on to it.

Once we were finally settled in our hotel, we had a blast!

We got to meet a good friend who recently brought home her own little girl with special needs from Bulgaria.  We love you, J and C!

Mama learned some very important things, made some new friends, and enjoyed some valuable conversations.

We met some special people who had read about me here on the blog.  Mama loved the long chat she had with a more experienced T21 mama up in our hotel room.  She was at the convention to teach people about how babies who have Down syndrome just like me are targeted for abortion.  Here I am with her and her sweet daughter.

I wasn’t smiling because I wanted to eat, not pose for pictures.  Mama doesn’t want anyone to worry about the french fries; she only gave me healthy stuff! 





We had the high honor of meeting Mary Schindler, the mama of Terri Schiavo.  My mama and Terri Schiavo’s mama share a common understanding about how precious people with severe cognitive disabilities are.  We could see it in her eyes when she looked at me and held my hand in hers.  Our family had already learned a lot about Terri’s story here and here.


The only part that wasn’t fun was staying up late to listen to a speaker, mostly because people kept clapping, and that got me too worked up.  When Mama could see I was getting more agitated and wasn’t settling down, she took me back to our room and tucked me in my pack-and-play.


I slept late every morning and loved all the food Mama fed me as much as she loved feeding it to me!  Mama will never get over how fun it is to give me good food!


While she gave her talk, I sat on her lap and distracted everyone in the very receptive audience.  She didn’t get to say all that needed to be said, and thinks she can do better with two sessions at next year’s conference.



She says I was a real trooper all weekend and she’s so, so proud of me!


So now you know why there was a GPS in my diaper bag.  Well, except for the fact that even with a GPS, my mom is so directionally challenged I’m just glad she found Bulgaria by herself.  She’s too embarrassed to tell you how many times she made a wrong turn in spite of GPS lady!


Oh yes, before I forget…Mama didn’t take a single picture during our whole trip!  Can you believe it?  (She didn’t sound a bit sorry when she told me how great it was to have three whole days without internet or cameras.)  So if any of you were with us at the conference, we would love to see any pictures you took of me.  And if you don’t mind, we might even add your pictures to this post.  [Thank you, J and E!]

Mama did snap a few quick photos when we girls were out shopping together this week, just to show everyone what a big girl I’m getting to be.  Almost every time she leaves the house, she ends up telling my story and giving people little cards.  My family is praying that more and more and more people will want to help bring the rest of the children home!

If you are waiting for an email, Mama says to tell you she’s doing her best to catch up!

If you knew we were going away, and you prayed for us, thank you!  Mama could tell you did because she didn’t feel a single butterfly in her stomach the whole time.

Thank you for listening to my story, friends!  Now I’m going to go watch fireworks for the very first time ever!













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28 Responses to “There’s a GPS in my diaper bag!”

  1. Jen says:

    Yay! How wonderful to see her working on feeding herself compared to where she was just a few short months ago. (On a side note, can I ask what fabric store you were shopping at? I liked those prices in the background, and I visit your area semi-regularly).

  2. Jennifer says:

    so sweet! It is funny to hear you speak about the clapping, Katie.  Here’s a secret:  Our daughter gets very upset and worked up by this too!  She has something called autism.  We think her future brother, from your orphanage, probably has it too.  But it is okay, because we know how handle Chelsea’s needs, just like your Mommy does for you.  And that’s why one more little one with autism will be okay too.  I’m sorry we could not meet you.  We wanted to so badly!  Maybe someday soon :)

  3. I am glad that you were able to meet Terri Schiavo’s mom.  What happened to her daughter was horrible.   Terri had the ability to know and love her family and to recover from her injuries, but she was starved because of a cognitive delay.  Our church is so sad at the loss of such a wonderful person.  I have been sharing your Katie Bird’s story.  

  4. Rachel M says:

    Praise the Lord in heaven above!!!! Katie eating was probably the most precious, wonderful and sweet thing I have ever seen. and to see her shopping!!!!! My heart is overflowing!

  5. Susanna says:

    Jen, it’s the Good’s store in Quarryville. If you come to stock up at BB’s, Good’s is only a few minutes away. :)

  6. Susanna says:

    Jennifer, yep, Katie is definitely healing from institutional autism. She has already come way further than we ever dreamed she would, and in an unbelievably short time. You are the perfect Mommy for your two precious ones, I have NO doubt!

  7. Susanna says:

    Thank you for rejoicing with us, Rachel M! It is the MOST MAJOR MILESTONE Katie has reached since coming home. I cannot describe the UTTER JOY AND DISBELIEF to see her move the food to her mouth and take a bite instead of dropping it on the floor or banging the side of her head with it!!!! Until she actually did that, we didn’t know whether she ever would!!!!

  8. Joleigh says:

    It was such a joy to watch Katie eat… and eat… and eat!  One of the highlights of my week (okay, maybe my life) was seeing you and Mary Schindler talking and her adoring Katie.  I have a great photo of that moment.  (And many more… so just remember that you asked for it when I flood your inbox.)  We love you, too, and we had such a wonderful time with you.  We wouldn’t trade a single second of it for anything.  Thank you so much for coming to share your story and for blessing us with your friendship.  Clara said to tell you that there’s a box of shoes coming your way, Katie.  She helped me pack them up and says that although she’s sad that her feet grew while she waited and waited to come home, she can’t wait to see all the pretty colors on your beautiful little feet, and then Verity’s after you outgrow them!  Thanks for helping to make this our best convention, ever!

  9. Michele says:

    It was so nice to meet you at that little restaurant across from the Hyatt.  It’s always so nice to see people in real life after reading so much about them.  Beyond pleased to see your daughter is thriving!

  10. Rita from Spain says:

    OH Susan, tears sprang to my eyes when I saw the videos…Icould tell this was SUPER important not only by the fact that I have been following your story since you brought Katie home but becuase by the sound of YOUR voice, the emotion in YOUR voice, you could tell that what was being shopwn was sooooo important, so miraculous…OH SUsan, I am so glad for you and Katie ….
    Also so glad things went well at the conference….You are doing god´s work by spreading the word….Katie is a testament to this…
    Btw the pictures of Katie wow-ed me..she is so big, so cute….so NOT what she was when she left PLeven….AMAZING what love, care and food can do…..
    Btw I am also so glad she only calls you mama now…: )) That must gbe very special for you too….

  11. Jessica says:

    Oh!!  So amazing to see Katie feed herself!  And Happy 1st 4th of July Katie!  

  12. Angiedawn says:

    Such a wonderful update Susanna. I was overjoyed to see her putting food into her mouth! It is just a delight to watch her grow. She is beautiful! The shopping pictures are gorgeous too!!!!!

  13. sabrina says:

    I cannot believe what a big girl Katie looked like sitting in the grocery cart. She looked like a baby a few months ago and now she looks like such a big girl. It is such a miracle. It’s amazing what love can do.

  14. Deanna Rabe says:

    This makes my heart so happy, Susanna!

  15. Amanda says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your story at convention! It was awesome to meet you and Katie in person after reading this blog! Katie is just such a sweetheart. I hope that sharing her story inspires many more families to adopt. :)

  16. Julie says:

    My two-year-old walked up behind me, saw Katie in the first video, and said, “That not a baby!  That’s big girl!” 

  17. hsmominmo says:

    Thank you, Katie for the wonderful story about your big trip with your Mama. And thank you for allowing God to bless so many others, by sharing your story.
    Susanna, I’d like to make a post on my blog, linking back to a couple of your posts. Would that be ok with you?

  18. Holly F. says:

    Go Katie!  Eat, eat, eat!!!!  I would have loved to attend that conference! 

    Also, I love the business cards!  Such a great way to spread information!

  19. Barb says:

    It’s almost been a year that I found your website. I cannot believe the changes in Katie and what a wonderful spokesperson you have become on behalf of all the children in Pleven. God bless you and your family.

  20. Cath Butlin says:

    Fantastic.  So lovely to see pictures of lovely Katie and read about how that vital bond is blossoming with you!  Slowly but surely!! 

  21. Gretchen Thibault says:

    Very eager to hear what event attended. I was so close to the Terry Schiavo situation and am good friends with Brother Paul O’Donnell. So whenever her name comes up, or I see her family my ears perk up. :-) 

    Katie looks amazing!!! Oh my. I am always amazed at what love (and food) can do!


  22. Angel says:

    We struggled with some feeding issues with our little one and can totally understand the complete JOY that comes from simply seeing them EAT.  Beautiful job Katie.  :)

  23. Valerie says:

    How beautiful CAN these children get when they are loved?  I mean really.  They become simply gorgeous! 

  24. Holly Douglass says:

    Love seeing this video of Katie eating. Hoping to see more milestone videos and updates. Wondering if she eats cheerios or other finger food to develop her pincer grasp, too.  Cannot wait to hear what Katie does next. Keep up the great work, mama.

  25. Dawn Wright says:

    As an adoptive mommy of a special needs kiddos- which really just means extra love- given and received!!!!  You inspire me!!!!!  I love hearing about all that Katie is doing!!!!!!!!!  WAHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I love seeing the changes – love can make!!!

  26. Susan says:

    Life is truely a feast for Katie now, and clearly, she is finding it delicious! How wonderful to see her developing new skills and abilities as her world opens to her explorations. 

    It sounds as if Katie was quite the star at the meeting she attended – what a wonderful way for her to witness, just by being her natural, beautiful little (but growing!) self. Well-done, Katie!

    Susan in Ky
    Cousin to 2 from EE      

  27. Desi says:

    Oh, what a treat to be able to partake through these accounts and photos in Katie’s life!!! I don’t seem able to start – or finish – my day, before taking a look at your blog, Susanna, and viewing a few times some of those mood-lifting videos!

  28. Sarah says:

    I am so inspired by your willingness to do God’s work! I have wanted to adopt for years, and since this past winter I have wanted to adopt a girl with Down Syndrome. It was hard to explain until I read your description of seeing Katie’s picture for the first time. I wasn’t looking for a child to adopt when I first went to Reece’s Rainbow. But when I saw her picture, it was amazing. She looks like part of our family, like I have known her for years. My husband was initially against adopting any child, and especially a child with special needs. I know that God can do anything, though, and so I have been praying for him as I pray for the girl I want to adopt. Then, earlier this week, I couldn’t sleep, so I was up thinking and praying when a name came to me. Simone. I don’t know anyone by that name, and I wasn’t specifically praying about adoption so I started researching the name. When I read that it is the feminine of Simeon, I knew that it was God telling me what to call my new daughter. Simeon, who waited his whole life to see the Messiah. Simone, who has waited her whole life for her family. Two days later, my husband and I were talking and he said, “Even if we DO adopt, it would have to be a normal kid.” This renewed my faith and gives me such hope! God has taken him from completely negative feelings of adoption to “IF we DO adopt!” Please pray for my husband and I! And pray for Simone, who is turning eleven this month. Thank you so much!

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