About our family

weddingmusser2

Photo taken March 1, 2014, at the wedding of our oldest son, Joseph.

Back, left to right, Laura, 14 1/2, holding Verity, 3 1/2, Susanna holding Katie, almost 12, Jane, 12, Lindsay, Joseph, 20, Joshua, almost 17, Tommy, almost 17, being held by Joe, and Daniel, 18, holding Benjamin, 10 months

Front, left to right:  Stephen, 5, John Michael, 8, Peter, 7, and James, 7

 

Our names are Joe and Susanna, and we are a very ordinary couple who probably wouldn’t stand out to you if you saw us out and about.  Well, unless we had our thirteen children with us.  It’s impossible for us to hide in a crowd!

God has given us Joseph, now married to Lindsay, Daniel, Joshua, Laura, Jane, John Michael, twins Peter and James, Stephen, Verity, Katie, Tommy and baby Ben!  We don’t take any of these interesting individuals for granted.  We are well aware that the desire to have children does not guarantee having children.

Long before God brought Joe and me together, He gave each of us a strong desire to someday welcome many children.  We are living the privilege of doing exactly what we had always dreamed of!  We love having a house full!

Part of the reason we hoped to have many children was that we are Christians who believe that the Word of God is truth and applies to all of life.  God says that children are rewards.  We agree with God.  We stepped out of the cultural boat, because Jesus called us to do that, and we have found that there is solid ground under our feet out here.

We also believe that discipling our children is the primary ministry God has given us at this point in our lives.  He has called us to do this by educating them at home.  He has shown Himself to be faithful at every point in showing us how He wants us to carry this out.

We’ve been learning that when we stop trying to be the top boss of our lives, He writes our stories in very different ways than we might have written them. It so often looks like He isn’t sticking to the rules! Life is an adventure when God is in charge of it instead of us!  We are better off trusting Him than trusting ourselves.  If you knew Him in His perfection, and knew us in all our flaws, you would agree!

Thank you for looking in on this little bit of our family’s journey.  We welcome each of you and hope you take time to talk to us!

susanna@theblessingofverity.com

 

 

 

39 Responses to “About our family”

  1. Tami Swaim says:

    Could I steal your quote, “We stepped out of the cultural boat, because Jesus called us to do that, and we have found that there is solid ground under our feet out here.”? I promise not to steal it but borrow it. I’m speaking at a women’s missionary conference on Faith and love this quote of yours. I don’t need to use your name, just mention that it’s from a mother of soon to be 10 children!

  2. Susanna says:

    Of course, Tami! :-)

  3. Jessica F says:

    Susanna,
    What a blessing and encouragement to read through your website posts!  We will be in prayer for sweet Verity–a precious gift from our sovereign God.  And, we’ll pray for you too as you have the responsibility of managing a home and completing the final weeks of your pregnancy.  God’s amazing grace is sufficient!  Micah is our third in 3 1/2 years and we look forward to the blessing of God filling our home with children in His time.
    Grace and peace,
    Jessica

  4. Hello,
     You are an amazing family! So full of faithful. Your story is amazing and your family has now become part of our family’s daily prayers. Jesus is so faithful, he has proven to us time and time again that no matter what is happen or what the world speaks to us. Truth is the way and must walk there in.
    Blessing to your amazing family.

  5. Kristen Albin says:

    Hi Susanna,
    Hope you are doing well.  I saw a story on the news tonight and I thought you might be interested in it for next year.  Here is the link. 
    http://www.chop.edu/export/download/pdfs/articles/trisomy-21/buddy-walk-2010-save-the-date.pdf

    Take Care,
    Kristen

  6. Susanna says:

    Thank you, Kristen!  :)

  7. Robin Osteen says:

    Susanna- I really didn’t intend for this to be posted but I couldn’t find a “send Susanna a message” link.
    I have some little boys winter clothes that I’m weeding through. I found a couple of things that I had doubles of in a 4T and it made me think of you. Do you need any little boys clothes? Mostly 18 months to 4T. Just email me one day this week if you are interested!
    Thank you for continuing to post! Your last one about “what every mom needs” made me want to cry (in a good way!). We are still praying and waiting on the Lord. I see God moving in my husband but it’s slow and steady as usual. I know that God will bring to fruition what He has begun!
    Blessings- Robin Osteen

  8. Maria (assistantcoach) says:

    Hi Susanna!  Just want to share this link with you.  My daughter shared it with me and I thought of little Verity.  A warning about the comments below the video-there is offensive language so don’t let your kiddos read it. :)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9b7y9UYt_fM&feature=related

  9. Susanna says:

    Maria!  That makes me cry every time I watch it!  I’d seen it before (more than once *blush*) and decided not to post it, but here it is, sitting sneakily in an unnoticed corner of the blog-lol!

  10. Ginger says:

    Have you had a family photo recently? ;);)

  11. Susanna says:

    I’m trying not to think about that, Ginger! Lol! Seriously, we usually get one between each child, when the baby is between 6 and 12 months or thereabouts. It takes some advance planning, as you doubtless know!

  12. Jodi says:

    Susanna, I just found your blog through Micah Six Eight, and wanted to let you know that I was blessed by ‘meeting’ your family, and I will be praying for your sweet Katerina.  We are also in the process of adopting from [that country], a little boy with special needs.  We are between trips right now, but thankfully, he is in a good place and we know he is being well-looked-after until we can get back to him and get him home.  I will pray that in your daughter’s case, the process can be expedited somehow.
    I also loved what you said about stepping out of the cultural boat!  We have stepped out, too, it seems, though not quite as far out as you (yet!).  We have four girls so far and God in His sovereignty has chosen to bless us with another pregnancy *while* we’re adopting!  It’s been an adventure, for sure, but you are right that there is solid ground, and we are so excited to be be on this adventure with Him.
    Your blog has encouraged my heart today – thank you and God bless you!

  13. Susanna says:

    Jodi, thank you for writing! What a beautiful family you have, and congratulations!

  14. Terry says:

    Susanna, I found your blog through a facebook friend…I just wanted to let you know that my wife and I are praying for you and your family.  We understand this whole process as we are in it right now.  We have just submitted our I-800 and are waiting for our approval.  I was wondering can I post your blog on my blogroll?

  15. Sylvia Schrader says:

    I am a board member of Karina Association, an organization begun to help abandoned children in [Katie's country].  You might want to talk to Biliana, our President.  She was born in [Katie's country] and has knowledge of the situation in the orphanages [there].  We are a Christian organization.  Let us know if we can provide any support in your efforts.

  16. Susanna says:

    Thank you, Sylvia. I am sending this link to our attorney. Thank you so much for passing this along.

  17. Kelly says:

    A friend of mine recently shared your blog with me and I have enjoyed reading about your beautiful family.  You have such an amazing heart and I love it.  

  18. Bruce and LuAnn Kissee says:

    Thanks for sharing. We have a simular calling on our lives. We have 12 ages 8-35. We home school and send our encouragement to hang in there.

    In Christ; Bruce

  19. Tammy says:

    Hi Susanna.  I recently found your blog and just want to say thank you so much for sharing your family and your story with the blog world.  I to am an adoptive mom, we brought our daughter home from China in 2006.  She was blue and very very sick with a severe heart condition.  She was tiny when we brought her home and is now very healthy, for which we thank the Father regularly.  In the past couple of weeks my heart has been burdened for these children that are at such a risk. Your story of the Father moving mountains for your family.  My heart has been burdened that God has more children for our family and that they are in fact “the least of these.”  I experienced anger that God would reveal this to us when we could not possibly be approved right now.  Your story has reminded me that whatever the rules, whatever the qualifications we do or do not meet, when His time is right, he will move mountains to unite us with the children he has predestined for us.  We have recently (just this year) understood Gods directive to disciple our children and as such began homeschooling this year as well.  I’m excited to read more of your story and be able to pray for your family.
    Blessings. 

  20. denise miller says:

    I just found a video on you tube and it has your sweet girl on it..Have you seen this video it was in 2011.I am simply amazed at how well your sweety is doing!

  21. Thea Lewis says:

    I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy your blog.  I also wanted to let you know that last night I had our 10th baby…..a beautiful daughter.  Her middle name is….Verity.  Thank you for being the inspiration for this name…it is beautiful.
    We are also in the process of adopting two older boys (brothers) from Ethiopia.  One of them with special needs.  My blog address is fromgodstummy.blogspot.com
    I really don’t know what else to say…..other than I love what you have done in the precious name of Jesus.  Many children have been saved b/c of your passion and conviction.
     
    Sincerely,
    Thea Lewis

  22. Susanna! I’ve been following your family since you first visited Katie and I was wondering if I could post updates on my blog (showing Katie’s progress and that there is hope for these angels of God).  Also could I post updates on my facebook?  I have been posting and trying to generate donations locally of clothing for the orphanages and I have a blanket making drive in progress. I’m also trying to raise awareness and help God move mountains and this is why I was hoping I could share.   Much love and thank you for being God’s instrument in saving lives.
    Kitty B.

  23. Susanna says:

    Kitty, YES, YES, YES! No need for permission! We hope everyone helps to spread the word as they are able! Thank you so much!!!

  24. Chris E. says:

    To Mr. and Mrs. Musser:

    I have been reading your inspiring blog for some time, and think you would make excellent candidates for ABC-TV’s Person of the Week, broadcast each Friday.With your permission, I would like to email ABC the following:

    In a blog called The Blessing of Verity, you will read about a couple in Pennsylvania campaigning tirelessly to help rescue severely neglected children with Down Syndrome and other challenges from the deprivation of a Bulgarian orphanage.
    The “baby” with the brown hair you will see in the photos on the blog is actually a 10-year-old girl they adopted, who weighed about 9 pounds. They also have an infant daughter born with Down Syndrome as part of their large family.
    They are unsung heroes currently trying to raise money for medical care and food, as well as find adoptive parents for the frail and extremely at-risk children still in that facility.
    You may also find information about this issue on the BBC website, because they produced a documentary several years ago.

  25. Susanna says:

    Chris E, thank you so much for your VERY kind offer; it touches us that you would think of this. There are several reasons for not doing it, though. One of the biggest is that we truly aren’t the heroes of this story!

  26. Chris E. says:

    If a national news outlet decided to feature you, it would bring national visibility to the plight of these children, but I understand your reservation. Please let me know if you would ever like to move forward.

  27. Lynne says:

    Susannah,
    I love following this blog and the progress of your sweet family. i would like to know where in the orphanage the babies are – the infants – as i only see mentioned these tiny children who have been there 10, 12 years. where are the infants who maybe could be adopted when they are young and therefore not live in these inhuman conditions? surely there are special needs infants…maybe their fate could be interrupted. Just wondering.
    Kisses to Verity and Katie!

  28. Susanna says:

    Lynne, thank you for your question!

    Shelley Bedford replies,

    “Infants can not be adopted internationally. Under Bulgarian law,
    attempts have to first be made to reunite the child with the birth
    family. Once this is deemed impossible, parental rights are terminated
    and the child is placed on the domestic adoption registry. The child
    must be on the domestic adoption registry for a minimum of 6 months
    and must also be presented and rejected by Bulgarian families. After
    these things happen, the child’s file is sent to the international
    adoption committee, where more paper work is done and the child is
    registered for international adoption. It is certainly possible to
    adopt a younger child, if all the above mentioned things have
    happened. The younger children are chosen very quickly for adoption
    when they are registered, particularly those with very mild special
    needs.”

    I also feel compelled to say that every child in the Pleven orphanage has now had their fate interrupted. The orphanage is changing and the babies there WILL NOT have to suffer the same fate as those who were hidden there for years. The longer a child was in Pleven, esp. if they did not receive a baba or if their baba was not one of the good ones, the more badly they were damaged. The babas did not arrive on the scene until a few years ago, so some of the younger children, if they have babas, are not having as bad a start as the older ones did. My heart is very strongly with those who will ordinarily be passed over for adoption. They are truly hidden treasures. And it is one of the evidences to our family of the working of God in people’s hearts that families are loving and pursuing them. :)

  29. Beckie says:

    Hi Susanna, I was the team leader of the volunteering trip that was out when you were in Pleven. It is so lovely to see that you have her at home now, and the photos that you have of her show some lovely changes. It is great to know that she is in such a loving family now. I would also like to thank you for the money that you gave to our team for nappies. We would never have been able to buy so many and they were all needed and used! A few of us are going back out to Pleven in the summer and are in the middle of fundraising to be able to provide more nappies and other things.
    Again, I am so glad to see a happy ending to her story and wish your family all the best in the future!  

  30. Nora Nolt says:

    I think I got some freecycle items from you. Nice to “see” you again.

  31. Gerda Winkels says:

    We have 10 children of our own 5 are married and the 6th one is getting married in Sept. We have 14 grand children. our youngest grandchild was born May 3 and because of this one your blog has been an encouragaement for me, our little boy is downs.
     I did find it hard at first but now I just love the little guywhen I seen him with his older sibblings( number 5 in his family) I have to say God is so good, He does not make mistakes.
     It was a long hual for him to come home but now that he is home and our daughter spend a few days with us because her husband had to be out for bussiness  I raelly got to see how God does not make mistakes. How even this little one he loves so much has a special perpose in his life.

    Our daugther knew she was going to have a boy and they were going to call him Benjamin, they had not yet picked out a middle name for him, and when they found out he was going to downs they decided on Benjamin Jabez.
    Jabez prayer expand my horizon, I have to say everytime I think about this now How is God going to use this child? I know that through this  my horizon has expanded. It has caused me to be thankfull for even this special little blessing in our family.  How special he is to us already our little Benjamin now just a month old teaching us how to persefere in our dayly walk with the Lord,

    I know that this little one will be loved by his parents and Opa and Oma and his aunts and Uncles and that our family will not be complete whithout him.

    Our God is a great God who does not make mistakes.         

  32. Susanna says:

    Gerda, your words bring the tears. What true gifts we have been given.

  33. Sarah Miller says:

    Susanna,
     I must tell you what a blessing your blog has been to me!  I’ve read it every spare minute for the last week (since I came across it!)  My husband and I have 3 bio. kids, 1 adopted from foster care and 1 baby boy currently in foster care.  We are also on a waiting list to adopt a baby with Down syndrome.  My husband is a pastor, and I recently began to homeschool our kids.  

    I said all of that to say, I needed your blog at “such a time as this” in my life!  The Lord has used your experiences, and insight to confirm things He has been speaking to my heart.  I am encouraged, re-focused and re-energized in my calling as “mom” “wife” and “teacher”! 

    We had decided to quit fostering and just do the private Down Syndrome adoption (with the help of the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network), but God brought us a 10month old baby boy that they couldn’t find anywhere else for him to go.  We were just going to be “respite” while they looked for a permanent home. 

    Meanwhile, we are one of 2 families waiting for a decision from a birth mom due next month to deliver a baby who has Down syndrome (she is still considering keeping her baby).         

    We had felt that we should probably just do one or the other – either foster the baby we have now, or pursue waiting for an adoption to work out.  Because that would just be “crazy” to try to do both!  RIght?!?!

    But, after reading what you and your family have done, I know that if God brings both of these boys into our homes, than HE WILL PROVIDE everything we need.

    The post you had put up about believing what our culture tells us we should do versus what God calls us to do really hit home with me.  I CAN’T do, it, but HE CAN do it  – and WE ARE WILLING to be used by Him in whatever way HE chooses for us.

    Thank you for sharing your journey, thank you for being led of the Holy Spirit to share and encourage me… and so many others!

    By the way – I shared your blog and some of the things that God is doing in our family at our Women’s Bible Study tonight, and we were all really moved and inspired…. thank you so much!!!!
       

  34. Meagan says:

    My aunt referred me to your blog because I am considering enrolling my family in Medi-Share and she says you may know about it. I am also intrigued by your blog as I have always had a heart for adoption!

  35. Linda Rissler says:

    We have 2 cases of vanilla Pedisure that we’d like to give to you.  We have a DS daughter born premie on 3/14/11 which didn’t tolerate this, so we’d be happy to pass it on to you. Are you interested? We could pass this on to your “Amish” friends that your children stayed with during Verify heart surgery.

  36. Susanna says:

    Linda, this would be a marvelous provision! Thank you so much!

  37. Jenny says:

    Hi Susanna,
    I have just read your about me page which I found through the Down Syndrome board at babycenter.  What caught my attention more than anything is that you have a daughter named Verity as we do.  Ours was born Oct 3, 2010.  She was our 10th child.
    We are now expecting #11 who has been diagnosed with T21 and currently at 16w has cystic hygroma and hydrops.  We are now in the “wait and see” phase which has been quite difficult but we are hopeful that our daughter will overcome by the grace of God and that we will be allowed to hold her and raise her.
    I look forward to taking some time to try and read your blog.

  38. Sonya says:

    Dear Susanna,
    I don’t have a better way to contact you but wanted to pass along something I found on another blog.  I just ran across it as I was doing a little home education and OT for my own children.  The mother homeschools her children and has a young daughter with Down Syndrome.  The granddad made a hanging Platform Swing that they use to help the daughter develop balance and core body strength.  Katie and Verity are doing so great they may not need this but I wanted to pass along the idea.  I thought Tommy might benefit from it at some point. It looks like a fairly simple and inexpensive “therapy” tool to make.  Here is the link if you’re interested and for when you have time. http://wecandoallthings.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/activities-for-platform-swing.html
    I’m loving all the pictures of precious Benjamin.  He is going to be missed by his siblings while he’s off to bring home Tommy!  Such a world traveler!  Praying for safe travels for y’all and safety for those holding down the fort.  Praying for Tommy, that God would protect him.
    God Bless you!

  39. Susanna says:

    Thanks for this recommendation, Sonya! That blog is new to me. I checked it out bookmarked and it–lots of great ideas! :)

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