Final Curtain

September 27th, 2016

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What a gorgeous, perfect Sunday it was for our big Thank You Open House!  You know we always love having a house full, but seeing everyone who came to be a part of that day was incredibly moving.

If you helped in any way to bring this young lady into our family, and you didn’t pick up one of these Josie-Musser-autographed photos on Sunday…

 

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…we have TWENTY left for the first twenty of you who shoot us an email and ask for one!  susanna@theblessingofverity.com

Let me stress again here that we were exceedingly conscientious to allocate all your donations according to your directives, and we used every penny of a sizable HELOC loan for everything else in what turned out to be an extensive project involving septic and HVAC systems and more.  Most financial donations that came in were given specifically to help toward Josie’s room and that, my friends, is how they were used.

God has provided in countless ways, from labor donated with willing hearts and hands to discounted materials to large and small financial gifts from so many loving friends.  THANK YOU.  The videos below are for you.  You have helped to bring about and furnish an entire new life for one special girl, and some of you further helped to lift a burden from us and transform our household.  We will never be able to pay back what we owe you.

Last Thursday evening, the twenty-second of September, while Joe and I put our four littlest children to bed for the night and the other ten enjoyed the fourth annual Hobbit Party at Joseph and Lindsay’s house, the final required septic work was finished.  We received our final permit in the mail on Saturday the twenty-fourth, the day before the Open House.  What a satisfying sense of completion and of moving from one family epoch into the next.

Before I post the video walk-through of Josie’s room and sign off here on The Blessing of Verity, a few notes for your consideration…

~We’ve used this blog as well as a private email list to help publicize the annual Big Families and Friends picnic held each Memorial Day Saturday.  We plan to continue to post at least one reminder here on the blog next year, but we’ll be happy to add your name to the email list if it isn’t already included, just to make sure you don’t miss it!  susanna@theblessingofverity.com

~Is there a kind reader in the Wilmington, DE area who would be able to help us out by meeting up with me and holding our baby during the short periods of time while I’m with Josie at A. I. duPont Hospital for Children pre-surgery and while I’m with her in the post-anesthesia recovery unit before she’s moved to her hospital room?  Nathaniel will be almost ten months old at that time.  If you may be able to do that, please email me for more details at susanna@theblessingofverity.com.  Thank you for your consideration!

~Are there any other Gray Havens fans out there?  They became favorites of ours even before Joe and I went to hear them sing at the Rabbit and Dragonfly cafe last fall.  All of our verbal children down to three-year-old Benjamin can sing along with Dave and Licia after listening to their CDs all the way to northern Michigan and back this summer, and we are planning to celebrate Joe’s fiftieth birthday by taking the whole family to hear them live in York, PA.  Get your tickets here and please come say “Hi,” if you see us at the concert!

~As I will explain at the end of the second video below, Josie wants to video journal her upcoming surgery adventure, and I plan to post the videos on our YouTube channel, TheBlessingOfVerity, so watch that space for those and other Musser family videos.

~Finally, and by far the most importantly!

It’s no secret that the most needy, voiceless, helpless, broken and unwanted children have my heart and always will.  It gives me immense joy to be able to tell you that the last few adoptable older children with special needs, especially those who spent their early years suffering severe neglect in the Pleven baby house, are coming home to experienced Pleven families.

Chris and Grace (Knuth) Tegtmeier are bringing 14-year-old Hannah Joy home to join 11-year-old Samantha, home from Pleven in 2012, and almost 17-year-old Tony, home from Pleven in 2014.

Mark and Virginia Miner are adopting 5-year-old Owen and bringing him home to join their other children, including 14-year-old Ana (formerly known as Garnet), who came home from Pleven in 2015.

Matt and Andrea Glewwe are welcoming almost-11-year-old Tiya into their family, which includes 12-year-old Krassimir (formerly known as Kramer), home from Pleven in 2013.

Friends, you have been generously tolerant of the many favors I’ve asked of you during the past six and a half years, but I’m being bold to ask you for one more.

Would you please take time to read Andrea’s blog post about Tiya?  One of the most silent and frail of them all.

Today, as I prepared this final blog post, I received three photos of Tiya with her new daddy and mama.

How fitting that I’m going out as I came in, with tears fresh on my face for the love of a little one with special needs.

This time, by the grace of God, they are all tears of joy.


 

 

 

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19 Responses to “Final Curtain”

  1. Barb says:

    Blessings to you Susanna. I have enjoyed getting to know you and your family through your blog. I will miss your updates but understand that you are moving on. Josie’s room and bath are beautiful. I love the colors. If you ever visit NE Ohio, I would be honored to be your tour guide.

  2. Lynn Sine says:

    so enjoyed watching your family grow, first met your family at Etown’s First COG.
    May you family continue to be blessed.

  3. MamaV says:

    Sorry we couldn’t make the open house… It looks like it was lovely!

  4. Dana Sorrell says:

    Thanks for blogging. I’ve smiled with you all and cried with you over the past couple of years. I wish you only the best in the future.

  5. Esther Paris says:

    I want to buy the shower chair. If I send bits of money over the next several pay checks, will you buy the chair? Heaven knows Josie has impacted my life without my even meeting her. I’d like to bless her with something helpful.

  6. Cj says:

    Awww Susanna! I love the room! Cute and functional! Josie must love it! You are so special lady!

  7. Kat says:

    Susanna, thank you so much for your years of blogging! Your family had been such a blessing to me as I have followed along. I hope the coming years are full of growth and blessing for you all. I know you said you planned to advertise the large family picnic still here, would you consider a once a year photo update too? Consider it a bloggy Christmas card to us :) you don’t need to write anything, just a family picture so we can see everyone’s smiling faces and how much they grow. With much love, Kat.

  8. Brett Butler says:

    Dear Susanna,

    You do not know me, but might be surprised at the impact, both small and large, that you and your lovely family have made upon me through the last few years. Your love of life and family, your perseverance – often in the face of daunting odds – wit, humility and elegance are much appreciated: and most of all your living faith

    The reciprocal blessing of Josie in your lives and vice versa positively radiates God’s love for us all. All of your children are enchanting – and, no, I’m not accusing anyone of perfection, which would be easy enough to read into this. It’s precisely because and when you’ve been so absolutely open about the broken places that I’ve been most touched.

    I wish you every blessing, that peace which passes all understanding: I wish you health, joy and enough time for you to read, write for yourself and to enjoy Joe. Hey… I wish you great big gasping for breath belly laughs, girlfriend.

    Lastly and not least, thank you for your advocacy not just for children of Pleven, but for a wider world of special needs, grace and awareness on countless levels. It’s impossible for one to have followed your blog and not be changed, deeply and permanently.

    I started not to write to you because, compared to you – and plenty of others – my own obedience to what God asks of me is erratic, faint hearted at best. Yet I decided to because “looking up to someone” isn’t an empty reference in this case. You’ve shared intimate aspects of your walk with Christ that’s a modern example of a holy pilgrimage.

    One last thing: I agree that Josie has quite a story to tell . And her beautiful room will be the perfect, safe place to begin the writing. I’m so happy y’all found each other.

    This may be an awful lot coming from some woman you’ve never met, , but I’m grateful for the opportunity to tell you every bit of this and wager there are many more with my exact sentiments.

    Godspeed, beautiful Susanna.

  9. I loved the tour! God is so very good, Always! I will miss the blog updates and such but will always be praying for you and your family. You all hold a very dear and special place in my heart! Love and many hugs from me. God be with you and many blessings!

  10. Cassandra says:

    Random – Esther Paris, you have such a genuinely nice way with words. I’m also a long time Musser Fan :) and so I’ve become familiar with your posts.

    Susanna,
    Could you come organize my life? I can keep a system intact and running but I don’t have a gift for creating one. It is almost, but not quite, embarrassing.

    If you find yourself in the NYC area or within a 60 mile radius, I am quite a good child care person. And I’m free – lol. Maybe this is true for many people who adopt but I am somebody who really enjoys other people’s children during the good, the bad, the ugly. Made in the image of God, children are a blessing.

    I for one am not happy about your blog retirement. I was always a fan but especially after the death of Tommy IN THAT you became more transparent and it in that context, I learned a lot.

    The other day my husband and I were talking about “what we want to do before we die.” What one thing or several things. And we thought and thought and thought. I mean there are a billion cool things left to do, of course. But if I died today I would not regret missing them.

    He and I could only come up with this: Seeing our children walking closely with the Lord.
    Having our grandchildren over for long weekends.

    This is the problem! I cannot control those things. I cannot make those very things I hold most dear be sure to happen. I cannot. We cannot. And that makes me sad. (not to say I don’t see them happening simply that I cannot MAKE them happen). We cannot ultimately choose their spouse, their lifestyle choices, their faith, their fertility, their private lives and on and on and on.

    So we pray and hope we model something good and right. But that’s all we can do. I wish there was more.

    I feel off balance to think that which I most want I have no control over.

    How do other people reconcile this? Or do you all want things that I haven’t considered?

    When I think about the “long game” and how it is out of my control, I feel sad and anxious. This is not a new thought just that when we started to nail down the one thing we want before we die I realized the futility of a dream I cannot work to make happen. So maybe I should find a new dream, one my husband and I can possibly make happen if we try hard enough?

    So Suzanna I have enjoyed reading your thoughts since we know the same Saviour.

    I enjoy reading everyone else’s, too.

    Yours on the journey,
    Cassandra

  11. Esther Paris says:

    Cassandra, I count it among the greatest blessings of my life that Susanna and I have a VERY dear friend in common – the late great Dr. Elizabeth DeHority (😇). Through Elizabeth I was blessed to e-meet and real-life-meet Susanna, and MOST of the family. I haven’t met the newest two or Tommy. Maybe one day I’ll get back to her area and meet the newest two. It’d be a HUGE blessing for me.

  12. Melissa says:

    I am at once so very happy for you, and yet sad at the end of an era. I will miss your updates so much.

    I consider you one of my heroes–in family, organization (your house continues to just blow me away!), and most of all in faith.

    God bless you and your beautiful family.

  13. Jeannie says:

    I love it! The colors, the art, the organization. Most of all hearing the pride in your voice when you talk about Josie. Everyone needs a mama to cherish them and think they’re pretty much the best thing on God’s green earth. No argument that Josie fits that description, but I am so very glad she has y’all to tell her so.

  14. Susanna says:

    Cassandra, Esther is one of the most genuine and caring people I’ve ever known, and I know many! My life is richer because Esther is in it.

    After hearing what so many blog readers have written to me via blog comment and email over the past several weeks, plus some other input, I have gained a different perspective about my blogging than I previously had. I have to admit that because of that changed perspective, I’ve questioned whether quitting was the right thing to do, or whether it was simply me making a selfish decision to take pressure off myself. Joe wasn’t happy about my decision to stop but could concede my points, and he did give me complete freedom to decide.

    Control…

    My mom used to say, tongue in cheek, “If you care about your reputation, don’t have children.” (I’m the fourth of my parents’ nine kids.) The same could be said of wanting to be in control of just about anything about our kids. We can more easily fool ourselves with an illusion of control when they’re all knee-high and still in car seats, huh? But despite our human craving for autonomy and control, we never did and we never will have true autonomy or control. Somewhere along the line, all my prayers for my family have turned into pleas to God for His mercy on us. J.B. Phillips called Him, “…the blessed controller of all things.” As His created beings, this is the God with whom each of us must reckon.

    “The human mind, being created, has an understandable uneasiness about the Uncreated. We do not find it comfortable to allow for the presence of One who is wholly outside of the circle of our familiar knowledge. We tend to be disquieted by the thought of One who does not account to us for His being, who is responsible to no one, who is self-existent, self-dependent and self-sufficient.” ~A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, emphasis mine

    Thank you so much for all the excellent feedback you’ve given me over the years, Cassandra. I hope we do meet up one day! I have a feeling we’d have a blast!

  15. Lauren S. says:

    Susanna-
    I also have to chime in. I stumbled across your blog in the middle of the night 3 years ago during long nights with our second child. I was immediately pulled in by your story. You’ve challenged my perspective on human rights so much that I will never be the same. I believed that I held every person in equal value, but seeing that lived out in your incredible family has shown me that if that were really true I would behave in a much different way.

    You have challenged my mothering in many ways, and I thank you for that.

    I’ve never met you. I’ve never even seen your face in real life, but your experiences and willingness to be open and transparent about them has left a permanent mark on my heart. I pray for your family regularly, and my husband knows you by name I talk about you so frequently!

    So in the words of Ray Boltz, “Thank you for giving to the Lord. I am a life that was changed.”

  16. Kris says:

    As much as I hate to see you stop blogging, I respect your decision.

    I’m a long time reader who lives just across the river, I have really enjoyed your blog, good times and times of grief. I so appreciate you sharing your heart and family with us.

    God Bless fellow sister in Christ.

  17. KMT says:

    I just saw the video of Josie’s surgery. What a fantastic result! Her gait looks so much better. Way to go, Josie!!!

    It was so interesting seeing her walk and hearing her talk. I was able to compare her progress with English and her enunciation to my own girls from China. I’m going to show this video to my girls so that they can see how well a child with special needs can learn English and say “the whole word” and not leave off the ending sounds. I hope it will inspire them. They seem to think that having a special need is an excuse not to achieve and I’m trying to teach them that it just means they have to work harder.

  18. KMT says:

    P.S. It was a special treat to see Josie maneuvering in her room and bathroom. The design is great! I had some thoughts about the heater vent near her shower. Can a tile “surround” be built around it, about 2″ high to keep the water out of it. I’m not sure, of course, if her wheel chair or walker needs to roll over it in order for her to get into the shower, but if not, that might be enough to keep water out of it. Or, a little 2″ ledge from the wall to about 12″ out just inside the shower.

  19. Hmmm, interesting thoughts, K; thanks!

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