Journey of joy

January 9th, 2013


“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the LORD of hosts.


Okay, it’s like this.  There are so many reasons not to write in a detailed fashion this week that I have lost count of them!

I can say this, though!  We are going with God’s itinerary, and it’s more marvelous than any plan we could ever have dreamed up!

God’s itinerary for us has included such unforeseen elements as…

…lengthy and very productive meetings with the director of Tommy’s orphanage, in which we witness doors opening before our very eyes.  Open door after open door.

…opportunities for me and the physical therapist who is here with me, to interact with other children we are encountering as we walk through doors God opens before us.

…being invited by the director of Tommy’s orphanage to an evening ballet performance featuring a local children’s dance troupe.  The director had made the arrangements for several of the children from the orphanage to attend…

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…and look who was among them and watched the performance from my lap.

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I learned a lot about him that evening.  I learned that he responds well to proprioceptive input to help calm him when he becomes over-stimulated.  I learned that he has an unmistakable sense of rhythm!

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…the completely unlooked-for opportunity to interact with Tommy all throughout the normal routines of his day.

…my new physical therapist friend has been as valuable as fine gold this week.  She’s truly been a traveling companion who was made to order for every aspect of this journey, from the laughter therapy late at night to the wise perspective of someone who has been walking with the Lord for many years.  We’ve captured video of Tommy’s responses to the assessment of an experienced physical therapist.  The combination of osteoporosis, significant scoliosis, and the growth spurt we have reason to expect after he’s with us is the most urgent issue we’ll be preparing for before we bring him home.

…God is also providing marvelous counsel through a dear doctor friend who also gave expert advice during our preparation for Katie and bringing her home.

…seeing proof of the terrible, heartbreaking damage that has been done to Tommy over the course of so many years of profound neglect, and at the same time being awestruck by his responsiveness and ability to learn.  Both these things were captured on one twelve second video which I hope to share with you soon.

…observation of so much in Tommy and his orphanage that brings joy to my heart, including his irrepressible sparkle, the intensity and passion of the director for the well-being of the children, and the director’s openness to learning all that is possible from the physical therapist and me in areas where we have knowledge that is vital for the well-being of the children there.  Yes, there is still so much work that needs to be done, but there is so much to celebrate.  God has moved and is still moving in ways I cannot detail here.


So much fruitfulness in only two days, and there is more that I wish I could tell you!  Time is rushing on, and we have been given so much time in Tommy’s orphanage that there isn’t as much time to write.

Next time I sit here, I hope to make up for the pitifully few photos I’ve posted and make the next post all about photos.


But before I limp out the door, I have to add this.


Please keep praying, friends!  


Keep praying for open doors during our next three days in Tommy’s orphanage!  


There are specific reasons to ask you to pray for protection for Tommy and our family back home.


Thank you so much to every one of you who is praying.  We love you!





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40 Responses to “Journey of joy”

  1. Milena says:

    Your last lines about prayers for protection needed have me really worried, but apart from that I’m happy and relieved to read such a positive post from you. Will pray!
    (Yesterday I couldn’t access your blog, so I’m happy that it was possible today)

  2. I’ll be praying for you all, especially in regards to your closing comments.  Such a blessing for you to have a traveling partner and I know the Lord is working!!  (((((Susanna)))))

  3. Kristie says:

    Seeing Tommy at the ballet, and knowing that other children from the orphanage were there brought tears to my eyes!   Praying for God to place a shield of protection around Tommy and the rest of your sweet family!  Also praying that more doors continue to be opened through the power of God!  God is mighty to save the orphan!  Save travels, and I hope you’re managing the ankle okay. 

  4. Kendra says:

    Wow! Praising God and still praying…

  5. Deanna says:

    What an exciting event!
    So thankful for the evidences of answered prayer!  
    Praying still….

  6. Deborah says:

    I am praying, knowing God knows your needs and is faithful. Bless you all.

  7. Gail K. says:

    Praying for continued open doors and for your other prayer requests!!!! Praying right now and will not cease!

  8. Jennifer says:

    Susanna, this is precisely what I prayed you would see, and exactly what we saw when we were “there” as well.  This director is overwhelmed but kind and is trying very hard.  This does not mean that more work is needed – critically needed.  But I know of other situations that the children have been brought out on trips, and I know the family of Iva who was given permission to essentially live with her for those months between trips…and when they returned early for her pick up trip, they were given their daughter and allowed to keep her in their custody until the final paperwork was ready for them to depart.  It is not surprising to me that the doors are opening.  We are praying for your safe and successful trip and look forward to the pictures you post!

  9. Saige says:

    Yes yes yes!!!! Praying, often. Xo.

  10. Mary Kathryn says:

    So joyful for you!! Just finished praying as you asked. Will keep doing so. May blessings abound from our loving heavenly Father.

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Praying for Tommy, for you, for your family and all involved! Checking daily for updates and love seeing all the ways God is working!!

  12. Kim says:


  13. katrina says:

    Praying for continued open doors and for your family. So neat to see Tommy out with you what a gift.

  14. Grace says:

    Susanna, I am praying. Even without knowing details, it is clear that you have a God-ordained appointment to be in that place this week. Thank you for listening and following His voice. And thank you for the privilege of journeying alongside you in prayer. I will spread the word to my praying friends and ask that they too lift up you, Tommy, and your family back home. lots of love.

  15. Holly says:

    How wonderful to hear about the improvements and the time you’re getting to spend with Tommy!  Praying!

  16. Helena says:

    Susanna, I have never commented before, I am from Canada. We have many connections in Europe I would like to tell you about but not here on the comments. I have been following your blog for a couple of years so I know all about Katie and about how she has blessed your family. I wanted to let you know how I am encouraged and how special your blog is too me. I check and read your blog every day. It is so exciting to see you with Tommy! PTL that you are finally there and I pray that everything will go as the Lord has planned for you while you are with Tommy and also with your family at home. I can hardly wait to hear more and see the pictures.. God Bless you Susanna!

  17. Susanna says:

    Helena, please email me at

    Anyone who sees this, PLEASE PRAY that God will move in a mighty way for a certain group of children in Tommy’s orphanage.

  18. Susan says:

    Praying for you, your family, Tommy, and all of the waiting children and those who care for them (one certain group of children in particular), to be safe and under the shelter and guidance of His wings….
    Your posts are so encouraging to read. I will be glad when you are able to post in greater detail…
    Susan in Ky
    Cousin to 2 from EE

  19. Missy says:

    I am so happy to see the pictures of the ballet. Getting the kids out in public is sooo important for them and for the public. I will continue to pray for all of you. 

  20. Lori L says:

    Praying for your intentions, for Tommy, your family, and you.

  21. Carol says:

    Still praying. When I saw the picture of Tommy on your lap watching the ballet, I choked up. It is so exciting to read of the doors God is opening.

  22. Linda says:

    Susanna!  I just checked here and so thrilled to see the back of Tommy’s head!  So happy that you were able to take him out for “real” time together!  Praying for you, your family at home and all the babies that we all have taken into our hearts over the past year and a half!  God bless you!

  23. lizzie says:

    Praying.  and Praising God for all He is doing!  xoxoxoxo

  24. Danielle M. says:

    Susanna, I just wanted to comment and let you know that all of us in our home have been following along on this journey and we are praying for you.  The children still often name you and your children by name when we are taking up prayer requests.  You will always have a special place in my heart.  I am praying for you, Tommy and the others.  We are excited, so very excited that you are bringing TWO new little boys into your home.
    My computer time is very limited anymore, but I do follow along with the blog and have kept you in my thoughts and prayers.  May God give you a safe rest of your journey and bring both little ones into your home safely. 

  25. Taylor-Tots says:

    Continued prayers for your healing, time with Tommy and other children, for the dear director, and safety!  I praise God that you are such a willing vessel for His work.

  26. Aunt Carol says:

    Such a blessing to read what the Lord is doing.   Am continuing in prayer for you.

  27. Jen says:

    In a million years, I’d never have dreamed to see a picture of Tommy and you at the ballet.  Oh how the Lord is moving.  Praying for protection and for the Lord to help the group of children.  Praying for your ankle too.  Much love!

  28. Kim says:

    Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:19

  29. WOW! What an amazing, amazing opportunity . . . for you AND Tommy! I am aware of situations where evil people have tried to stir up trouble for adoptive famiiles,  so I will pray for protection and wisdom for you guys . . . wise as serpents, harmless as doves in this evil world. . . . God bless.

  30. Laurie says:

    You go girl! AND God goes before you! 
    37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
    38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    Praying that God will keep all of you in the shelter of His wing!
    In His Embrace and dwelling in His tent!
    hugs, love and prayer!

  31. cinderellamommy says:

    Praise and prayers for all that is unfolding, both at home and afar!

  32. Anna T says:

    I have been praying for you dear Susanna!
    Thank you for the updates and I am reading between the lines remembering your 1st trip with dear Katerina.  PTL for the way that things have been unfolding for you and praying for His will and timing.  Peace and strength for you!
    From Isaiah 26:3 –4, “3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because her trusts in you.  4  Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD is the Rock eternal”.  
    ((Hugs)), prayers and love to you and yours!  
    P.S.  This may have been posted, but a few days ago, it appeared that a “virus”(?) tried to attack our computer when I went to go to your site from a Google search and link (our software took it down).  This may be why others have had difficulties getting to your site?  

  33. Jill says:

    I love reading that you can see positive changes at the orphanage! That is so wonderful! I can’t wait to hear more about that.  Prayers for your safe journey home!!

  34. Kathy says:

    Been praying for your safety during your trip. Thrilled I can access your website for the first time since you left.

  35. Jaclyn says:

    I am continuing to pray and I am thankful that so many doors have been opened!!! 

  36. Maureen says:

    Praying here & love the pictures :D  {{{hugs}}} Let us know if there is any way to help on the homefront, ok?

  37. Cassandra says:

    Dear Susanna,
    I love how you’ve already identified something that brings Tommy joy – music!
    Only in God’s economy could one tiny orphan go on his very first field trip with his mommy and unborn brother to the Ballet in Europe. 
    Yup – things are looking up:)
    Please know that our family is aware of your need for prayer and will lift your family up in prayer today and for the next several weeks. Simple but not easy – try to keep yourself physically rested.  There is just no substitute for sleep and especially considering the high level of disruption to your everyday life – not Tommy, I get that he is the highlight!  I mean the travel!
    I am looking forward with great expectation to hearing about all the victories you care to share. 

  38. Gina in Spain says:

    SO EXCITED, Susanna…we are praying for you…god bless you…..

  39. Susan says:

    Looks as if there’s a ray of hope with the Russian situation – check the latest news!
    Praying for you and your family; praying for all the orphaned children of all the world…
    Susan in Ky
    Cousin to 2 from EE

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