Gathering up the tidbits

November 9th, 2012


We found out that many of you who were winning bidders in Tommy’s auction added to the amount you owed, some by significant amounts. Thank you! You literally went above and beyond for him, and we are so grateful!



If you are one of the two wonderful winning bidders in the It’s Tommy’s Time auction whose names are listed below, please contact Crystal Geib at so she can let you know the total amount you owe and get your mailing information. The donors of your items would like to ship them off to you as soon as possible:

Peridot ring
$100 Amazon gift card
Brick Picasso necklace
“In the Kitchen with David” book

Lauren B
School fob
Pink floral key fob
“One at a time” bracelet

If Crystal has not heard from you by tomorrow night, she will contact the next lowest bidder on each item.

Thank you so much!


My friend Becky has been making Tommy candles like nobody’s business! She reported four days ago that the total amount raised for Tommy’s fund was $1,090!

Please take the time to read Becky’s blog post about the impact of her Tommy candle project.

Becky, I thank God for you, dear friend. He is using you for something very good.


Pleven adoptive mom Jennifer Menges would like me to tell you that if you planned to purchase any Avon products to benefit Tommy’s adoption fund, you still have one day left! Her goal is to reach $1000 in sales, and she is short by just under $100!

Click here to go to Jennifer’s Avon fundraiser page for Tommy!


If you live in or around Lancaster County, PA, and are an international special needs adoptive mom, would you like to be part of an occasional informal Friday night meet-up with other moms? If this would be at all doable and fun for you, I hope to hear from you! Please email me at


Question: Congratulations!! So can you now leave to go see Tommy?

Answer: Thank you!! Now we are waiting for the original approval document to arrive in the mail so we can have our dossier notarized and apostilled and mailed off to the government of Tommy’s country. After a legal process there, we will receive travel dates for the first trip to see him!

With Katie’s adoption, it took two months from receiving our I-800A approval to the first trip, so we’re mentally prepared for my first trip to see Tommy to happen sometime near the beginning of the new year and the second (pick-up) trip to happen in the late spring. But…! We might write the rough draft, but God tells the story!

Winter is approaching in the beautiful country of Katie’s birth~






And now a question for you, dear readers!

If you have knowledge and experience regarding cerebral palsy, would you be willing to pass on advice for me about what I should physically assess when I meet Tommy? We want to be as prepared as possible for his needs, and I’ve begun making a list of what to look for when I’m with him, including range of motion, whether he bears any weight on his feet, et cetera.

If you have any words of wisdom in this area, please leave a comment to this post so that other adoptive parents in a similar position will also be able to benefit from your expertise. This would be such a blessing! Thank you!


I can’t resist showing you who’s been re-listed on Reece’s Rainbow! Please don’t stop praying for the families who will adopt these two and the six other children available to be adopted from Pleven right now! Pray, friends, pray with confidence in the God who sets the lonely in families!

Little Chad, where is the family you’ve waited nine years for?


Tiny Penny, will I be able to announce good news for you soon?



There’s so much going on behind the scenes right now, both within our family and in the part of the international special needs adoption world we’re connected with.

There’s always much more to tell than time to tell it in, and then sometimes I long to tell you the news but need to keep it confidential!

But even when it can’t be written here, I want you to know that we are seeing God accomplishing His mighty work, in the Pleven orphanage and other orphanages, in adoptive families, in our family, in many of you.

What a blessing it is to know that you are out there with open hearts, steadfastly caring, giving, spreading the word, and praying, praying, praying.



And one more tidbit!

I’m working on that Mega Q & A about Katie I’ve been promising for more than three months now. As in, I collected all the photos and am actually beginning to write down the answers to your very good questions! This is the final call for questions about Katie! Send them to and I will consider including them in the post I hope to have finished by next Wednesday, the 14th, first anniversary of…

…the breaking open of Katie’s prison doors…


…and the beginning of her new life as our loved daughter.


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18 Responses to “Gathering up the tidbits”

  1. Rebekah says:

    Susanna, it’s so good to see that Chad and Penny have been re-listed. Is there any chance that the others whose files were sent back will be re-listed, too? My heart especially gravitates toward Theodore. 

  2. Samantha says:

    Susanna, my daughter has a mild form of CP caused by a suspected stroke in utero or right after birth.  Thankfully, with Early Intervention services, my daughter’s CP is mild.  It affects her left side only as the area of brain damage is on the right side.  Some of the things you may want to assess with Tommy include limb contracture (it appears he may have that), spasticity in the limbs, type of muscle tone, feet may be turned in or outward, tight heel cords.  His speech may be affected, too, if he is even able to vocalize.  The affected limbs often do look skinnier than “normal” limbs.  That’s due to lack of muscle tone.  My daughter had heel cord surgery at age 23 months and a cavus correction at age 5.  The cavus correction was to help bring her arch down a little.  She already has high arches inherited from me but with her muscle tone and the spasticity, it caused her arch to “draw up”.  Her foot was almost in a C shape.  She has no strength in the affected toes.  The form of CP that my daughter has was caused by a PVL (peri-ventricular leukomalacia).  It is very common for  the hearing and vision to be affected in children with PVL.  My daughter’s left eye vision is extremely poor (possibly needing surgery in the future) while her right eye is normal.  She has 2 different things going on there.  It is suspected that she may now have complete hearing loss in the left ear, too.  We have another appointment to evaluate for that again.  You may see some asymmetry in the limbs.  My daughter’s affected foot is 2 1/2 sizes smaller than her good foot.  In general, her affected left side limbs are a bit smaller than her good side.  As you may already know, many children with CP also have cognitive delays. Oh, and my daughter had feeding difficulties during the first few months of life and was diagnosed as failure-to-thrive.  (I’m not sure how common this is with CP patients).  Thanks to Early Intervention (and of course, my own advocacy for her), my daughter was able to overcome her speech disorder and early delays and is now a star student in the 2nd grade.  She is reading well beyond grade level.  There are varying degrees of CP.  I am a firm believer in Early Intervention.  It truly does make a huge difference.  I can’t say enough how grateful I am for their services.  As for Tommy, he is too old for EI (age 0-3) but I have no doubt that once he is in the loving embrace of his new family and with intensive therapy, he will thrive. 

  3. Samantha says:

    I forgot to mention that Botox injections have become a common type of treatment as it helps to relax the spastic muscles. It’s not a permanent treatment, though.  It’s done every few weeks to months.  It depends on the patient and if the patient even qualifies for that type of treatment.

  4. Viviane says:

    Can you believe it has been a year since we met for dinner in Sofia?  We, too, picked up our tiny girl on November 14 last year and are preparing now to commemorate the first anniversary of what we call Together Forever Day.

    As part of National Adoption Month and to remember those who stayed behind, I am holding a very small fundraiser on my blog right now for an 8 yo girl who still waits for her family.  If any of your readers are interested in hopping over to check it out, here’s the address:


  5. StarfishMom says:

    When do you think you’ll be traveling for Tommy?  I have 9 cans of NeoCate infant formula I’d like to send you.  Only problem is that they expire in Jan.  Let me know…

  6. Bri says:

    So happy for Penny and Chad! And Katie, we’re so happy for all the past year has held for you :)!

  7. Susanna says:

    StarfishMom, we won’t be able to use it or donate it to the orphanage, BUT I do know other adoptive families who may be able to use it. I’ll check with them and email you. THANK YOU!!!

  8. Brita Johnson says:

    Really looking forward to the update about Katie – her story touches me deeply, and I’m always eager for news of how shecontinues to change and grow in the ocean of love your family is giving her!

  9. Katie says:

    I’m a physical therapy student and I’ve worked with a lot of kids with CP. I work with one on a weekly basis and have for the past 3 years. What I would assess if I was there would be his ability with functional tasks such as rolling, sitting, crawling, etc. Then you’ll have a better idea of the types of equipment you’ll need at home. Another thing that I would look for is whether or not his upper extremities function better than lower, or lower better than upper, or one side more than the other. Sometimes CP affects one part of the body more than the other. With ROM, it’s best to be slower with movements rather than quicker. It takes slow movements to see the range that the child is able to perform. A trick to test the upper extremities is to take the thumb and turn the hand out (palm up). I hope this helps! 

  10. Katie says:

    I found your blog through No greater joy mom, I believe, What a beautiful story on adoption you have!
    I have been praying my heart out that my family can be Penny’s family She has captured me, and I would love to be her Mommy.. I pray that God will touch my husband’s heart for her as He has mine. If you have prayers to spare, can you join me in praying?
     Of course if it is not God’s will for us, I will continue to pray that one way or another she will go to a loving HOME.

  11. Roxy says:

    Oh… Suzanne I hope my AVON order made it towards your fundraising efforts to bring sweet Tommy home!  I have cyber-stalked your family’s story for quite some time now.  How it bring me great joy to see another precious child of God to be welcomed home and to be called an orphan no more!  Blessing to you all!

  12. Amanda says:

    It is awesome to see God write His story!  I always leave your blog feeling encouraged and inspired.  Thank you.

  13. Brianna D. says:

    I am so glad that sweet Penny has been re-listed!  But of course, I know that it makes no difference to her unless someone moves forward to make the commitment to adoption.  I will continue to pray for her!  And we have been praying for Chad, also.  

  14. Melissa C. says:

    Susanna, I forget exactly how I ran across your blog, but through it I came across Owen, who is from Pleven. This is in a region that we would be able to adopt from! My husband and I just received our first foster (hopefully to adopt) placement so adopting Owen is at the moment on hiatus…but we saw his new picture and he’s still someone we are thinking about! Of course if someone else adopts him then we count it all joy and praise God for that but we are still thinking about him! =)

  15. Susanna says:

    To the Katie who wrote about how much you love Penny–God has heard and answered your prayers for this precious girl. How can I thank you enough?

    So much love,

  16. Susanna says:

    Roxy, I’ll let Jennifer know about your order and put you in touch with her if necessary! THANK YOU, dear one, for the love that shows through your words! Bless you!

  17. Susanna says:

    Thank you for letting me know this, Melissa! I can’t tell you how much good it does my heart just to know that one more person is loving and praying for and VALUING the children!

  18. What I was surprised when I have come in contact with children and adults with CP, is that often they are assumed to have brain damage, when they often do not, but simply lack the ability to communicate. My cousin’s daughter has CP and one of my good friend’s has a son with it. He is brilliant, but lacks in speech, cannot walk without a walker etc. Cognitively, he is actually ahead in many things. 
    CP has so many variations, it is good to have an open mind when looking for therapy for them!  

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