Urgent: Help and Prayers for Pleven Requested (Guest Post)

February 13th, 2015

NOTE:  The following urgent message is copied here by permission from my dear friend Grace Knuth, who is the adoptive mom of two treasures from Pleven:


10 minutes before my alarm went off this morning, I woke up to a high-pitched message alert on my phone.

“Do you have any time to talk today? I just got some really bad news about Pleven and the older kids.”

Oh Jesus, no.

My heart immediately dropped to my stomach. I’ve felt sick ever since.

“Of course. What can you tell me right now?”


I had been waiting to tell all of you.

I’d been sooooo excited to tell you.

My church and I have been working with the Pleven Project to raise money for the older children of Pleven.

You know, the kids who’ve been there forever long, who’ve been abused and neglected beyond comprehension.

We’ve been working to raise money to build a group home for them. A place where they would have their own space. Their own staff. Their own equipment for therapies. Their own specialized programs and diets.

It wouldn’t be a home home, with parents. But, for those children who have aged out and won’t be adopted, it was our opportunity to allow them to live out the rest of their lives with dignity.

Without this home, their only other option was that they would be transferred…to adult mental institutions and group homes, where, because they are not verbal or mobile, or at all self sufficient, they would die. Literally.

An architect was drawing up plans. Nearly $10,000 had already come in. And I hadn’t even talked to you yet! I was elated watching God move mountains for these beloved children. Finally, finally. Redemptions for these, the most vulnerable.


Today I had to send the following email to parents of precious children who’ve been adopted from Pleven. This is just an excerpt, but you get the drift.

Hi there fellow Pleven mama. I hope and pray you and your family are doing well.

I received word this morning of a situation happening right now in Pleven, and I am writing to you on behalf of Shelley, Toni, and the Pleven Project to ask for your help.

Today we received word that a group of former orphanage employees, who we know to be unsafe for the children, have banded together to start their own group home for the older children of the Pleven orphanage. They have funding from a EU non-profit organization who provides no accountability or oversight.

They are scheduled to move our beloved children to their new facility on Tuesday of next week. We know this to be an unsafe, inappropriate environment for the children. We also know that the staff have ulterior motives.

I know this is a lot to take in, so I am contacting each Pleven parent privately, not only to inform you, but also to tell you, that if God would move you to do so, there is something you can do…


You caught that, right?

The former director’s right hand man, and her former cronies. The people who abused my children and hundreds more. The people who intentionally, criminally stole the life out of these, the most sweet and vulnerable of souls. The people who put a huge cement building filled with tiny humans through a true holocaust…..have swooped in and undermined the work many people have been doing to ensure their better future.

We won’t stand for this. I hope you won’t either. These children deserve so much better.


I said it to my precious Pleven parent friends, and I’ll say it to you. There’s something you can do.

Actually there are 2 somethings.

You can PRAY with all your might that we can take back control of this project. Tomorrow through Tuesday, anyone who is willing is invited to fast and pray that the Lord would intervene, as he has for these precious little ones time and time again. That He would rescue and provide more than we can even think to ask or imagine.

You can WRITE A LETTER that will be sent to the US Embassy in Bulgaria, The County of Pleven, and the Minister of Labor and Social Policy. The goal in writing these letters is to express our interest as a community to fund a private group home for the older children of Pleven who cannot be adopted. We also want to specify that we want to make sure the children will be appropriately cared for and that money will not be given to people we know to have abused funds and children.

Here’s a general form letter to follow.   [If you are a Pleven adoptive parent, please feel free to email Grace Knuth at graceknuth@ymail.com or Susanna Musser at susanna@theblessingofverity.com for a Pleven parent form letter.]

February 12, 2015

To whom it may concern:

[Please start by briefly explaining what you know of the abuse and neglect of children you know from the Pleven orphanage, as well as changes you have seen in them since their arrival home.]

[Then, feel free to edit the following or copy and paste it as it is.]

I understand that 12 older children from the Pleven orphanage are scheduled to be moved to a group home that will be run by the very people that abused___________________ and many other children. The same people that abused them year after year before the new director came to care for them. They are being handed over to their abusers. This should not and cannot be.

I, with many hundreds of people behind me, am willing and eager to fund a private group home for the older children from the Pleven orphanage who have lived through a true holocaust. We want the opportunity to make right the wrongs that have been done to these children for so many years. Please, help us to help these children live out the rest of their lives with the dignity all humans deserve.

We, under the supervision of the Pleven Project, are specifically requesting that we be allowed to fund and manage a private group home where the children can be properly cared for. This will ensure that all authority and financial responsibility be removed from the individuals who have criminally abused children and misappropriated government funds, and put into the hands of a board with oversight and accountability for the future.


John Doe
1111 Street Ave.
Lincoln, Nebraska 68951
United States of America

All letters should be signed and scanned to Shelley Bedford at shele337@gmail.com.

Shelley will send letters to Toni, our attorney, to be translated and delivered.


Of the 12 sweet children who will be transferred on Tuesday, there are two who are still available for adoption. And for them, this would be their absolute best chance. Redemption in the truest sense of the word. Will you share their beautiful little faces today? Or everyday until they find their families? If we find these babies’ families soon, we can save them from a whole world of additional heartache.

This is Brandon,




and Mikah.




I’m sure you already know, but it has to be said. Each of these boys is beyond precious. Diamonds in the rough. They would do so, so, so well in families.

Thank you for standing with us in believing that God will make all things right. Thank you for seeing these children’s worth. Thank you for your hearts that say “yes” to God, even when the things coming from his hands, at times like this, bring difficulty and heartache. Thank you.

Now, if you feel so led, will you share this post all over social media? Send it to anyone and everyone who might be able to help. Especially to people who will pray. Like, really pray. We need whole armies of angels in the coming days. These kids need God to fight for their lives. And the power that raised Jesus from the dead is inside of each of us believers, so we must pray. Will you comment here and let me know that you’re joining the fight in prayer? Or that you’re sending a letter?

Don’t you just love watching God win? Here we go again…

Lots of love to all of you.





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9 Responses to “Urgent: Help and Prayers for Pleven Requested (Guest Post)”

  1. Kathy says:

    I will be happy to pray, and I will take it to our church prayer team as we meet tomorrow morning before Sabbath School and church.


  2. Jaelle says:

    Oh goodness. This is so completely devastating. Will be praying for a great miracle.

  3. Lauren S. says:

    By the grace of God I saw this on Grace’s blog yesterday. My husband and I have composed a letter and are sending it to Shelley. Thank you, Grace and Susanna, for sharing this critical information! We are PRAYING.

  4. Cinderellamommy says:

    Praying with you!

  5. TJ says:

    I’ll be praying for sure! After all these years of things slowly changing for the better, this would be devastating. I asked my Bible study to pray.

  6. Jeannie says:

    Praying and writing and sharing. Thank you for letting us know. Would Tiya be young enough to stay at Pleven?

  7. Susanna says:

    Jeannie, she was slated to go with the original 20 children, but the director pled for the children with complex medical needs, so the number is now down to 12. The new place doesn’t even have a kitchen yet. This was being rushed behind backs for reasons other than the well-being of the children.

  8. ElizabethG says:

    Suzanna, Brandon and I have been praying and will continue to do so.

  9. Bri says:

    I am happy to hear your update that things seem to be moving in a good direction, but I am definitely praying, and will share this post as well!



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