Full to bursting

November 12th, 2012

In a very real sense, I have been pregnant since the day I lifted an impossibly tiny and frail Katie into my arms…

…and my heart gasped for breath and cried out to the Lord.

Oh, dear Jesus…



Since that moment, every little extra corner of my life has been filled up with the children waiting there.

My heart has been filled up.

Filled up full with the tiny, hurt children Katie left behind her.

Full to overflowing with the hope and promise of new life.

Each child carried deep inside me until they are safely delivered into the arms of their parents.

The emotions remain so close to the surface; the tears come so easily.

Tired, sore, aching from the precious weight I carry.

Sometimes even shooting pain that seems unbearable.

Full, full, full to bursting.

One of the little children who is waiting deep inside my heart has a story that started twelve years ago.

Twelve years of lying alone in a bed, hidden up in a corner of the hopeless floor, invisible, unloved, clearly not an staff favorite.

For twelve years, she grew older, but not much bigger. She wasn’t loved or fed, you see. She was allowed to survive, but not much more.

When the babas were given out, this tiny girl was passed by.

She was picked up by ankle and wrist and swung over to have her diaper changed.

If she irritated the staff by letting her mouth gape open, they impatiently pushed upward on her chin to close her mouth.

Plopped in a wheelchair and left to sit with her back turned toward the other people in the room.

“She is Veronika 2,” said the director.

When I watched her official file video, it was as if I was viewing an ultrasound glimpse of one of the children I carry in my heart.


To see her.

My heart hurts. The load it carries feels a little heavier than it did before.

So much tinier than she appears to be in her close-up photos. Like a little, unloved baby.

Today I received the text message I was waiting for from a dear friend I first met six years ago, her future mother.

“We have the commitment papers, she’s officially ours!”



Oh Penny, you have a daddy and mommy who are already running to get you. My heart is bursting with joy for you!

Your family found you!!!

You will be safe and happy with them, and so very, very loved.

A year and a half ago, I envisioned them doing this. I told them I considered them to be over-qualified to be adoptive parents to a child with special needs–a child like you, Penny–for so many, many reasons. Their big, children-loving hearts. Their down-to-earth common sense. Their flexibility. Their sense of humor. Their quiet generosity. Their willingness to deal with medical details.

But mostly their big, children-loving hearts.

I watched your future parents’ eyes when they first met our Katie-bird. It was her tenth birthday! I saw the whole picture sink in to their realization. How very ordinary and unimpressive we were, how small and plain our home, how bustling our family life, and how our Katie fit into all this as if she had always been here. How she overflowed with life and joy as she sat on her daddy’s lap.

Just a little child, sitting on her daddy’s lap. No special aura around the child. No halo around the daddy’s head. No saints and angels showing anywhere in the scene. Just a little child securely surrounded by her big family.

I heard their questions, serious, searching questions, the second time they met Katie. I searched their faces for understanding as they heard me struggle for the right words.

“You know how you love your own children; it’s just like that. To us as their parents, children with special needs aren’t some weird or scary list of diagnoses. They are just…people, our own children whom we love. We find joy in learning to know them and appreciating their individuality and helping them thrive just like we do for any of our other children, just like you do for any of your children. Oh, how I wish there was some way to help parents on the outside really comprehend this one reality.”

It has been beautiful to witness the process of fear turning into faith, questions into confidence, and doubt into joy and excitement.

It’s the birth of pure, tender, enormous Christlike love in the lives of your future parents, Penny. To see it is to know–this is holy ground. God is present here.

And as I read that text message, “She’s officially ours!” and as my thanks rose to God and the tears flowed uncontrollably down my cheeks, I felt the other waiting children move within me.

Oh God! If you can provide parents for Penny, You can provide parents for Brandi!


For Kramer!


For Chad!


For Garnet!


And for Theodore!


You can break hearts–Oh! How I pray that You would break hearts!–and fill them full to bursting with Your love! Oh Lord! Please show us Your glory through the lives of these little ones! Deliver them safely into their parent’s arms, I pray, in the name of Jesus!

So let it be.



To visit the blog of Penny’s family, click here: Farm Girl in the ‘Burbs

For more information about adopting Brandi, Kramer, Chad, Garnet, or Theodore, please email Andrea Roberts at andrea@reecesrainbow.org!






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19 Responses to “Full to bursting”

  1. Stephanie B says:

    How exciting!  Still praying for the other little ones to find their families….

  2. Grace says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS!!!! Yay, Penny!!! :) Now, praying for the rest. 

  3. Mandy says:

    I had the same impression when I met Maureen and her children a while back. So excited for them!

    Praying they all have families come forward!

  4. Suzy Gidden says:

    I’ve been praying for Penny since I first saw her picture.  I wanted to commit to her, but the hurdles seemed impossible.  I’m so glad God sent the right family for her.  I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but there is a family working hard to bring Theo home:


  5. Hannah says:

    Oh YAY YAY YAY :)
    Such fantastic news. I hope her family will blog so we can walk with them on their journey and if not that you will pass on the JOY so many of us share at her news and prayers for abundant blessings.

  6. Susanna says:

    Hello Suzy! Thank you so much for praying for Penny!! Isn’t it amazing to see how God has answered so many prayers for her?!

    I am aware of several families who hope to adopt Theodore, and I am SO thankful to know that more than one family loves him enough to want to bring him home! Typically, with a Bulgaria adoption, a family doesn’t publicly announce their intention to adopt a child and post the child’s photo in connection with their family until they have officially committed to that child, especially if another family is seriously pursuing that child, so Theodore’s case is falling a bit outside that norm.

    Even beside those circumstances, I decided long ago to keep advocating for each child until I can announce that he or she has an officially committed family. I don’t want to go silent on Theodore’s behalf just in case none of the current families end up being his officially committed family. Does this make sense? :) If only all the children had several families pursuing them! But none of the rest of them have anyone seriously interested in adopting them.

  7. Susanna says:

    Hannah, I linked to their blog, but it must have been too subtle! I’ll add it to the end of the post. Here’s the link:


  8. Laurie Smith says:

    oh. my. heart.    Penny!!  she has held a special prayer place in my heart.   Tears here… such joy.  Prayers continue!

  9. Brianna D. says:

    Oh, what joyful news!!!!!  I have been praying for dear Penny, and am praising God now!

  10. Katie says:

    Oh how wonderful!!!!!!!!!!! Prayers answered! FYI Theo does have a family http://www.winslowsix.blogspot.com/2012/10/blog-post_19.html

  11. Susanna says:

    Katie, there’s a misconception about Theodore having a family. I explained a little of the situation in my comment to Suzy Gidden on this comment thread.

    Theodore does not have an officially committed family. I wait to announce that a child has a committed family until it is official in the child’s country and the family has permission from their placing agency to go ahead and make their news public.

    What Theodore does have is several families who are seriously interested and hope to commit to him. This is wonderful, and not unusual in and of itself, but what now makes this an awkward, irregular situation is that one of the families began to connect themselves publicly with him, using his photo, and raising funds, but they are not only not officially committed to him, they are also not the first in line for him. Typically, with a Bulgaria adoption, a family is counseled by their placing agency to wait until they are officially committed with the Bulgarian government before they go ahead and announce their adoption plans publicly and raise funds, etc. Unfortunately, it takes more than wanting to be a child’s family to actually be the child’s officially committed family.

    This is not a personal favoritism situation at all, simply the stating of the facts as they officially stand as of right now. I have been hoping against hope that the authorities who have a decision to make about Theodore would make it quickly before this became An Issue, because it could look very much like I am taking sides when that is not the case at all.

    I hear from families regularly who express care for one or the other children, often even saying that it seems like that child belongs in their family. But until that child has a family who is officially committed to that child with that child’s government, that child does not have a family and I will continue to advocate for him or her. Anything else (i.e. playing favorites or announcing that a child has a family before it’s official) would be acting outside my jurisdiction and jeopardizing the advocating work. It would also be foolish of me to presume on a future uncertainty–that that specific family will be able to commit to that specific child. At the very least, it could contribute to lots of confusion if the family’s hopes did not come to pass. I prefer to err on the side of caution in matters like this.

    Does that make sense? I know it can seem confusing if you are not very familiar with how the process works, so I’ve tried to state the facts as plainly as possible.

  12. Anja says:

    Dear Susanna,
    there is already the Winslow family who is raising money for comitting to Theodore.
    Just to let you know.

  13. Mary Winslow says:

    Dear Susannah,
    Thank you for explaining how the usual process works in Bulgaria. Would you allow me to explain a bit about our process? We know that God has called us to adopt from Bulgaria. We know that for certain. We responded to Adeye’s desperate cry for families for Penny and for Theodore about a month ago. We stepped out in faith and contacted the agency About a Child and started our application process with them for Theodore. They informed us that Theodore’s file is currently at the MOJ in Bulgaria and that another family has expressed interest in him as well as us, and that the MOJ will decide where they will send his file. As of their close of business today in Bulgaria, they were still in a meeting about all of their files.
    We went forward with God’s call to adopt from Bulgaria, and began our fund raising. We have let people know on our blog that we are praying to be able to commit to Theodore, but that it may not go in that direction. We know that God has Theodore in a win/win situation. We know that God may very well have used Theodore to call us to Bulgaria and that He has another child for us. 
    We should know sometime this week regarding Theodore’s file and who we will be able to commit to.  We will be excited to share this news with everyone.

  14. Bri says:

    So happy for sweet little Penny!!!

  15. Susanna says:

    Mary, thank you so much for commenting! I have been waiting for the MOJ’s decision right along with you and the others who know what is going on behind the scenes. Theodore certainly appears to be in a win-win position!

    Thanks for understanding why I am continuing to advocate for him, and why I wrote what I wrote. As you can see just by a few public comments here on our blog, many people have already made the mistaken assumption that you are Theodore’s family, and may be giving to you because they want to help Theodore come home, and don’t understand that you are not his officially committed family.

    I truly hope that your comment will help to clear up this confusion! Would you consider also posting a clear explanation on your blog of how things stand with the MOJ and the family who is first in line? Thanks so much for considering this and thanks again for writing! :)

  16. Debbie Fitts says:

    Praise Him for his provision for Penny!  I am completely thrilled for the Zinger family. :)
    And handsome little Theo, wow what a blessed boy, definatley a win-win for him!
    Let us all continue to pray for these sweet children.

  17. Leah says:

    Thank you so much for telling us the exciting news Susanna!  I’m so happy that Penny finally has a family!  Yay!

  18. Praise the Lord that Penny is getting a family!  Wonderful!!  :D  Amazing story…..
    Will keep praying for the other precious children as well.

  19. Colleen says:

    Praise the Lord!!!

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