What Katie loves best

August 15th, 2012

What did Katie love best, one year ago?

A year ago, Katie loved to stay in her bed.

See the disgruntled expression on her face?  Her protesting hand attempting to push me away?  This photo was snapped quickly just minutes after Katie was lifted out of her bed.  A minute later, she began to fuss, and Baba Donka put her back down in the bed.


One year later, what does Katie love best?

Katie loves to play.

Where’s Katie?




She loves to eat.  Well, everything but plain cooked red beets.  Can you blame her?

She’s gone through two major growth spurts over the last month or so.


She loves attention and affection in spite of her institutional autism, and is more willing to make and hold eye contact for slightly longer periods of time.


She loves it when we get silly with her…


…and she loves to laugh.


She loves to be outdoors…








…with her brothers and sisters…


…who know how to make her laugh…


…and like to bring her little treasures.



She loves to make a seemingly endless…





…of facial expressions, which we have learned to read.  She loves that.


She loves to come to mama, and sometimes says, “Um,” when she wants me to go to her and say, “Come.”


She loves to stand upright!




She doesn’t yet love to go up onto her hands and knees, but she’s beginning to find out that it will be a useful skill!  Usually, I am over her, supporting her in a hands and knees position, and rocking her front and back and side to side while singing a little song about it, just like I did for Verity.


She loves music, and the xylophone is one of her favorite toys.


She loves to explore her space, and is getting more adventuresome.  [Not that these photos really show that, but here she is taking off.]





She loves to hear us praise her for learning new skills, like clapping two toys together!


Or like signing “eat,”  “all done,” or “please!”


Or like climbing onto the mini trampoline!


She loves the water!



She loves it when I dress her up and make a fuss over how pretty she is.


Katie has no inkling of the significance of what God has done through her life.

All Katie knows is that she loves life as a greatly beloved daughter and sister in our family.



“O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave;
You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.”




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69 Responses to “What Katie loves best”

  1. Anna T says:

    Dear Susanna, Beautifully written post!  I was thinking back to a year ago when some of your older dear children went to Open School (today is Open School) and what a blessing it was to get to know them a little better.  Katie is growing so beautifully with the love and care of your family!  Prayers, ((hugs)) and love!  Anna

  2. Louisa says:

    Someone else mentioned it, but I wanted to say how I noticed that I am starting to be able to see that Katie is not a baby or toddler, but a ten year old.  I love her determination and courage in facing this whole new world she’s found herself in.  Can’t wait to see her progress a year from now.

  3. A Friend says:

    To know what she came from a year ago, to watch this unfold. I sit here in awe. In a stunned silence. My mouth open wide. My heart bursting! Praising God silently.
    Thank you a million times for saying yes when He said GO! Thank you a million times for sharing this journey. No one ever believes me , until I sit them down and show them. This is real and happening to these children and it doesn’t have to! But look at what a difference a year makes!
    Every single milestone I just want to package up and ship overseas so they can see the proof of LIFE in these children.
    Praise God!!

  4. Marilyn Osborn says:

    Wow!!!  Miracles!!

  5. Jennifer says:

    YOU amaze me.  Your love for your daughters inspires me.  Christ shines through you and your faithfulness encourage me to be a better mother to my children.  Thank  you for your transparency, for working so hard and sharing your life with us all through your blog.  You make such a difference in lives that you will never even meet.  May God bless you and yours.    

  6. Michelle says:

    I was wonderingwhere the first picture was taken with her Babba? Was this in Plevin? Did she actually have aBabba there? Thanks!

  7. Jill says:

    Thank you for posting so many new pictures and videos of Katie. I tell everyone about her amazing story- your family’s amazing story- and how my eyes have been opened to what is happening to orphans worldwide. I have been working on my husband to agree to adoption and have a little boy picked out that has stolen my heart. Prayers that my husband’s heart will open up to the idea. Katie- and you- have inspired me and I know countless others. 

  8. Emilie Roush says:

    All of your children, Katie especially, have such beautiful and joyous smiles.

  9. Susanna says:

    Judee Albert, we just got back from a week away w/o cell or internet, so I hope you see this reply, late as it is.

    What you wrote made me LAUGH and CRY. I can’t think of the right words in response. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Susanna says:

    Michelle, yes, this is Katie on my second day of visits to her in the Pleven orphanage last August.  It was such a tremendous answer to prayer to meet her baba, as the babas are on vacation the whole month of August, and the director had initially told me it would be impossible to meet Katie’s baba.

    Katie’s baba is a dear woman who clearly loved Katie and saved her life.  Before Katie received her baba, she was 7 years old and weighed 7 pounds.  She was given a baba by the charity organisation as a sort of hospice program, and they were shocked every year when they came back and found that Katie was still alive.  

    It was very clear to me that Katie’s baba was also very ignorant about how to help her progress, and Katie still spent a lot of her “baba time” in bed.  When I was there that week, I gave specific instructions to her baba, among which were instructions to help Katie learn to tolerate being moved, touched and held.  There was a noticeable difference in Katie three months later when we picked her up, so we know Baba Donka was doing what I had asked her to do.

    We send photos of Katie to Baba Donka every so often.  I have a stack of them next to me right now, waiting to be dated and mailed off to a traveling family willing to carry them to Pleven for us.  :) 

  11. Susanna says:

    Mary Feigum, I don’t know if you’ll come back here to read, but I loved reading what you wrote about Ole walking, and your confidence that Katie will be doing that next year! Thank you!

  12. Susanna says:

    Lorena, I was planning to do the next height/weight stat post at one year home, but I might weaken in this resolve! It’s the right time for a nine month stat post, isn’t it?

  13. Rita from Spain says:

    Susanna, I have been away for a month with no internet (nor TV!)  and came back to find this post…it brought tears to my eyes….Katie is SO BIG! and just taking leaps and bounds….God bless you all….HUGS….I miss you! lol…

  14. Janis Bowles says:

    This is beautiful!  She really is growing and changing for the better. God is good!

  15. Rachel M says:

    I love it!!! Still the expresion that tugs at my heart the most is Katie enjoyng life with her mouth wide open!!

  16. Anne Petitt says:

    OH Susanna I have been so busy with our adoption I have not made it to look at our Katy BUG she is getting so big and healthy.  What a living miracle she is and what an absolute blessings little does she know that so many are coming home because of your families going after the one which was her. What a story you will have to tell her when she gets older.  WE are still moving along needing lots of prayers we are submitting our stuff to SHOW HOPE this Monday. Please PRAY we need a miracle.  We are getting an interview with GiftofAdoption, getting application in by Sept 3O in for SeaOfFaces.  SO we are doing all we can do just pray PRAY for favor WIth GOD and MAN to bring Chance home to his Forever family.  Love you guys miss you guys and hopefully I will get to slow down some but I am sure once he get home it will be still busy but that is OK that will be a wonderful busy.  We found another one over there while over there we are dying for her too.  NEED A MIRACLE.  Love you blessings Anne Petitt

  17. Anne Petitt says:

    Oh I have to brag on Verity she is the cutest little thing she looks like such a JOY Her self.  She is beautiful as all your children are.  I am wondering when number 13 is coming?   God is good and all children are a blessing to the Lord. The fruit of the womb is HIS REWARD Psalm 127.  Blessing my sweet friend. 

  18. Kristin says:

    LOVE all of the pictures!  Such great progress and such a beautiful girlie!

  19. Linda Williams says:

    Where can we see pictures of Katie now 2014…? I would love to see how much progress she has made…deeply interested in Katies journey!

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