One in hope

September 13th, 2012

Last night I briefly visited the blog of another Pleven mom.  Why did this blog post bring tears of joy to my eyes?

Over a year ago, I first walked down the hallway of the now-infamous top floor of the Pleven baby house.  Walked all the way to the end of the hallway, to the very last room.  Katie was hidden in the furthest corner of her orphanage.

The moment the staff member placed a terrified, resistant Katie in my arms, I was shocked by a reality that permanently changed something on the inside of me.

It is actually true.  This my child is a nine-year-old skin-and-bones infant.  The surreally smiling voices tell me that she has never been over eleven pounds in her life.  They hasten to add that she is well fed, and that it’s her disability that is keeping her from growing.  

But I know what I am seeing in Katie and the other children.  Down syndrome and cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus do not cause teenagers to look like gaunt babies and toddlers.

The condition of the children does not lie.  The people who were responsible for their care are guilty of criminal neglect, and have been guilty for a very long time.


Some have marveled at my ongoing passion for the children that Katie left behind.  There is nothing marvelous about it.  Those who have seen the children on the top floor of Pleven, or children in other places like it, understand this.  If you went to Pleven and looked into the faces of the children yourself, you would understand this.

How can we convey the urgency of this reality to those who will probably never come face to face with the children themselves, but who are able to do something to help?  How can we convey the truth that helping orphans is not a special calling for a chosen few, but a mandate God gives to all His people? 

As I have worked with our precious Katie over the past ten months, her needs have been a daily reminder to me of her horrific history.  And my determination to help find families for even the most “unadoptable” child in Pleven has only intensified. My conviction that there are no unadoptable children, just unwilling parents, has only strengthened.

God laid a heavy burden on me that week in August, 2011.  At times I have felt this burden of responsibility as if it were a mountain crushing me under its constant weight.  Even so, with the burden, God always made some way for me to carry it.  I deliberately offered the pain and sacrifice back to Him, knowing it was a tiny fraction of what He carried when He took our sin onto Himself.  Was I willing to offer up my emotions, time and energy out of love for Him who gave up His life for me?

This summer, a friend of mine heard me describe this relentless weight and committed to praying that God would send more helpers.  As I watched another school year approach, I also pled with the Lord to send in more troops.

Then He increased my workload threefold.  Days can sometimes go by with only a few available minutes to be on the computer, if any. So I work during the night as long as I can keep my eyes open, or take the opportunities I have to be a weekend warrior.

In the meantime, He sent my friend Adeye to the top floor of Pleven.  Adeye, who has been so faithful with the very wide sphere of influence God has entrusted to her.  She has not wasted blogging time on self-absorption or self-aggrandizement.

She lifts high the name of Jesus, writing with passionate eloquence on behalf of outcast children who are doomed to imprisonment and a lonely death.

Many months ago now, I heard the news that Anthony and Adeye had committed to adopt a tiny fourteen year old girl with cerebral palsy from Pleven.  Hasya weighed only fourteen pounds when she was admitted to the Tokuda Hospital earlier this year.  Adeye would be going to Pleven!  I hoped and rejoiced!

When I read Adeye’s words about how wrenching it was to be face to face with the little ones on the top floor, I rejoiced with a great and pure joy.

“Oh Adeye, I am so thankful that you are there and that you will be blogging after having been there. I can’t tell you how grateful! God is still moving!”

Two weeks ago, Adeye was on the top floor of Pleven, and now she is blogging!  She was already my friend and sister in Christ, now she is a co-laborer for the rest of children in Pleven.

O LORD, I praise you!  Use Adeye’s writing, I pray, to bring more outcast children into families and most of all, to show Yourself for who You really are!

For the sake of saving one


Dear friends, could you please share Adeye’s blog post above in any way that you are able?  Thank you!




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8 Responses to “One in hope”

  1. stephanie says:

    Hey Susanna…LOVE you and praying fervently for each child…working fervently for each child…UPDATE>>>


    PRAISE THE LORD!!!  love in Christ…steph

    ONE LESS ORPHAN that is UNLOVED AND  UNWANTED…he is very wanted!!!!!     

  2. Susanna says:

    Hey Steph, emailing you…

  3. stephanie says:

    Thanks sister!  LOVE YOU!  praying for you all and for sweet Tommy to get home FAST!!!

  4. Michelle says:

    Praising God for Peyton and praying for his committed family! So excited!

  5. Valerie says:

    It’s hard not to look at you and your family and not want to admire and adore you for the work you are doing for Him and the children.  It’s a good thing we are the hands and feet of Jesus in flesh.  Means I can still adore you and your family while adoring Him JUST the same. No doubt His face gets a big smile or tears flowing when He reads your posts!  We were all in that Pleven orphanage because you went there, took pictures…and told the stories.  If some can ignore the orphanage that you took us too, God help us.  I’m choosing not to ignore. I want to help your family as much as I can and I will :)

  6. Rita from Spain says:

    Susanna, I got your thank you card in the mail yesterday and really so sweet but so UNNECESSARY..Thank you to me?? Thank you to YOU!
    As for Adeye, yes, I have been following her blog for quite some time…Amazing….
    God bless you both but above all God bless the children….

  7. Susanna says:

    Valerie, that is very sweet of you!

    But oh my, I have to say that it sounds like you need to come and visit our family to get the “pedestal cure.” :) We are exceedingly unimpressive and have our obvious faults and failures just like every other family on earth, adoptive or not. God has been so very merciful to us. It didn’t take having four teenagers to convince us that we are sinners in constant need of God’s grace. But that helps, hee hee. :)

    I can’t tell you how it blesses me to see your heart extending towards the Pleven little ones I love so dearly. Thank you.

  8. debbie fitts says:

    YAY!!!  So happy for Peyton!

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