11th Annual Big Families and Friends picnic!

April 17th, 2017

Just under six weeks from now, on Saturday, May 27th, the much-anticipated big picnic will be held at its usual location from 10 am to dusk!

Please feel free to email me at susanna@theblessingofverity.com for more details.  I plan to send out a group email within the next few days, but I’ve had some trouble accessing our email contacts list, so if you expect to receive the picnic email and it hasn’t come to you by next week, please bug me about it.  We don’t want to miss anyone who wants to be there!

We hope to see many of you then!

 

Aaaaaah.  Now this is the life.

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What can I give Him? Part 3: A Mother’s Rest

March 24th, 2017

At the end of January, Andrea Roberts, founder of the Reece’s Rainbow Down Syndrome Adoption ministry, sent an open letter to the Reece’s Rainbow community announcing her resignation as executive director and introducing the new ministry she is founding.

As I read her lengthy letter, Andrea’s words in the following paragraph resonated profoundly within me.

“In my heart, I feel deeply that there is an important aspect of service missing. Many of you know from personal experience that there can be a significant adjustment once home. You have to come crashing down from the high of fundraising and anticipation of the journey, and build your new normal. Many of you have faced very real hardships…These challenges impact the entire family.  I have witnessed these difficulties for ten years, and…I carry the weight of that on my shoulders.

The need across our community is great, and I feel compelled to address it in my own unique way.

This is a tremendous leap of faith for me. But I am feeling called to “A Mother’s Rest” now. When God says jump, you jump.

I invite you to visit my new website at A Mother’s Rest.  If this new vision is of interest to you, we are seeking investors and donors to support it. I’d love to speak with you more about it privately.

My new email address is innkeeper@amothersrest.org

You can learn about my “master plan”/overall vision on this link:  A Mother’s Rest Master Plan

You can also follow on Facebook: A Mother’s Rest Facebook page

And on Twitter:  A Mother’s Rest Twitter page.”

 

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Immediately, I emailed her.

Dear Andrea,

I just finished reading your farewell letter and am compelled to write to you. Any of us who…have seen God use our influence to bring many other children into families share that tremendous burden you mentioned that you carry on your shoulders. I now feel very strongly that emotional and moral support to adoptive mom caregivers is primarily the ministry God has called me to…checking in with them, listening to them, praying for them, being someone safe they can count on for…emotional support. An in-real-life [special needs] adoptive moms’ group I began over four years ago is still going strong and has remained a safe and supportive and healing place to laugh and cry and be completely open about the hardest stuff.

…if God opens up any way for me to help with your new venture, my heart is so there.

Thank you and God bless you!
Susanna

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Andrea responded that she would love for me to be part of A Mother’s Rest (AMR) from the ground up–and then God did open up a way for me to be part of the first planning session, being held next month.  When Andrea does something, she does it with the vigor of an unstoppable force of nature, and the passion and hard work she’s pouring into this new ministry are no exception!

Now, I have some specific requests to make of you, dear readers!

First, and most important–

Could you please commit to praying that God will work miracles on behalf of the moms who are in the most urgent need of this rest and encouragement?  Because that’s what it’s going to take.  The moms who most desperately need respite are the ones who will find it most impossible to access.  When I say impossible, friends, that’s precisely what I mean.  During the months when Tommy was in our family, I would sometimes try and fail for weeks to find half an hour to run to Goodwill ten minutes away to look quickly for needed items.  I probably would have slept solidly through an entire respite weekend. I know that many moms are in this extremely stretched and stressful position now.  I also know that God is able to do the impossible.  Pray that He will make a way where there is currently NO WAY.  The need is so great.  Pray for miracles.  Thank you.

Two–

If you have questions, thoughts, ideas, insights that might be valuable for this fledgling ministry, please don’t hesitate to email Andrea at innkeeper@amothersrest.org or me if you prefer at susanna@theblessingofverity.com.  If you are a special needs mom and would like to be added to the official A Mother’s Rest facebook group, please email Andrea at her email address above.  As I write this, the group is three people shy of 1000 members.

Three–

If your heart is at all moved by this need, please click on this link to find one of the many possible ways to help with the mission of A Mother’s Rest.  No matter what your gifting is, it can be used for some aspect of this ministry. It will be a privilege to minister to these precious, exhausted parents of children with extra needs. You know, it’s not unusual for great movements of God to swell forward with or without a base of support, but it’s crucial that others come behind and build that firm and solid base to enable it to continue.  A Mother’s Rest will not fill the entire need, but it has so much potential and its time has definitely come.  Our fervent prayer is that it will bloom and grow to become one of many valuable resources to strengthen at-risk special needs families by nourishing the primary caregivers.

Four–

This blog has a small fraction of the readers it had while I was blogging frequently.  We could definitely use your help to please spread the word about this new ministry?  Here’s the link to copy and paste.  https://www.amothersrest.org/ 

Thank you so much, friends!  I love you all!

 

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

 

I’ve been going back and finding unpublished videos of Tom-Tom…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fifteen years old!

March 23rd, 2017

When I look back in my mind’s eye to her last birthday, the contrast in her demeanor is so obvious.  After a “from bad to worse” 2015-2016 school year followed by a switch to a different classroom, things have turned around dramatically for our Katie.  It’s so good to see!

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Fifteen somehow sounds like such a large number; maybe that’s why I very much wanted to share these photos with you tonight.  She’s now been part of our family for roughly one third of her life.

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Cake is one of the greatest loves of Katie’s life.  Good thing for her we have fifteen birthday parties a year!  For Katie’s benefit, we sang her name in each line of the “Happy birthday” song tonight.  “Happy birthday to Katie…”  Katie’s turn to have a birthday!

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Do you remember how tiny she was in my lap 5 1/2 years ago?  Look at her now!

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Sometimes when she’s very happy, she will spontaneously reach out to give me a hug.  It’s very sweet.  She still has significant attachment issues, but she’s doing much better with it than last year.

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She placed most of the wrapping paper in the trashcan like a big girl.

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When Katie is happy, Katie moves!

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The only practical gift we gave her was an EZ PZ molded bowl and place mat to help her progress in feeding herself.  Everything else we gave her was just to make her smile.  It doesn’t take a lot to make her a very happy girl!

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Instead of their traditional cards, the children each made her a different color of heart with his or her name on it.  I will hang these on her window in her room so I can point to them and remind her, “Look, Katie!  Peter loves Katie, James loves Katie, Josie loves Katie (etc.)!”

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But presents are more interesting.  *wink*  (Yes, I know this is very blurry, but I never discard a photo just because it’s imperfect if it captures something more important.)

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Her expression is so cute here.

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Her first several years home, she paid no attention to stuffed toys.  Now, she will give them a hug.  This puppy vibrates and plays very soft, soothing music.  It’s her new favorite toy!

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Exuberance personified!

Happy 15th birthday, Katie!  You are a gift to our family!

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