Wednesday, November 30, 2011

One Step Forward...Hopefully No Steps Back!

My FBI background check came in the mail today! Woohoo! That is the document that is supposed to take the longest, so I'm relieved to have it in my hands. I still need to mail it off to DC to be authenticated, but there is a form I can fill out to expedite that process, so it's nearly complete. Yay!

Now we just need to pray extra hard for that darn file to arrive! I just figured out today that there is paperwork most families have already filled out at this point in the adoption process. I need to send commitment papers to the Minister of Justice in Samantha's country so I can get her initial approval. However, I cannot do this without that file. I hope and pray this does not become another set back. I am told that there are a lot of children waiting to have files compiled, which accounts for the time it is taking  for someone to get to ours. Please pray that Samantha would be made a priority! She really is an exception, because I'm pretty sure she is the only child in that mix who has a family already working toward bringing her home. Pray that her paperwork would stand out to someone as if God Himself was shining a bright light all around it. Pray that she would be shown favor in JESUS name.

Thank you friends and family! Love to you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ready...Set...Do the Next Thing!

I have IN MY HANDS the finalized home study!!!!!!!

My social worker, who has been waiting ever so patiently for edits for the last three weeks, finally received the information she needed in order to be able to print and notarize the home study. She handed the document off to me in the last hour of her work day, just before leaving for Thanksgiving vacation. Praise the Lord that everything came together today and that I didn't have to wait until Monday to move forward!

After Bible study tonight, I came home and used that home study right away to fill out my I-800A USCIS paperwork. I plan to put it in the mail tomorrow.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE being able to do SOMETHING! Today I am thankful for forward motion. Hopefully things will keep moving!

  • Let's keep praying for Samantha's file to arrive. This is another document that could potentially hold up the process. The adoption agency has been regularly checking on the status of the file, but there has not been any word yet. 
  • Praise and thanksgiving for loving friends who have carried me through the last several days when meltdowns abounded. I've received several sweet notes of encouragement, financial gifts, a book, and scripture verses in the mail. I've had friends calling to check on me, praying for and with me, sitting and listening, crying with me, welcoming me into their home, and offering their home as respite. And my family made some adorable Christmas ornaments that I know Samantha will enjoy on her first Christmas at home (next year, of course!). God knew I would be lost without all of you. Praise Him that He is providing for my every need, even when I'm not looking to Him for help.
  • As I put the I-800 form in the mail tomorrow, please pray that it has been completed correctly, and that I have not missed any details. This is a the scariest form I've filled out yet! 
  • Continue to pray for the safe arrival of the FBI clearance. 
  • And of course, you all know the drill. Please keep praying for Sam.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I Need Help Trusting

Let me first say that I realize this post, for many of you, will sound like more of the same. More aching hearts, waiting for paperwork....

But I need to impress upon all of you, my friends and family who love me most, that I need your help. I'm having trouble trusting God today, and I'm hoping you'll pray.
  • I was reading about another family's progress today, and instead of being filled with joy for them, my eyes immediately welled up with tears. Families adopting from Samantha's orphanage are instructed to move as quickly through the process possible. Conditions at the orphanage are bad, and the children need out. Samantha needs out. For some reason I'm experiencing a lot of delays in the process, in places where I didn't expect them. So when I see other families flying through the process, I'm regretfully jealous. It's not as if the God of the universe cannot move mountains on behalf of me and Sam, so there must be a reason for His timing. Please pray that God will help me to TRUST HIM in every detail.
  • Will you please pray for my home study? After I posted that the rough draft was complete, I assumed I would be able to move on to the next step right away. But my home study is still caught up somewhere, waiting to be edited. My social worker has never seen this step take so long. This hang up is delaying any other work that needs to be done. All of the paperwork that needs to be finished for the dossier depends on the home study. And the remaining paperwork will likely take a long time to process, so I would like to submit it as soon as possible.
  • Pray for the safe arrival of my FBI clearance. This document is one that I've heard usually takes the longest of all paperwork. I sent in my fingerprints a little under two months ago, so they should/could be back here anytime now. For some reason I worry about this one. Please pray that God will help me to trust that this document is safe in His hands.
  • Continue to pray for the completion of Samantha's file. If there's anything that could do my heart good, it would be the information in that file. Even if its not all good news, at least I'll know.
  • And of course, keep praying for my Samantha. 
Thank you so much, everyone. Love to you.

*Take a listen to this song if you have time. I've had it on repeat for the last 24 hours. Trying to take the wisdom of this old hymn to heart.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Song for Sam

I'm headed to one of my favorite places tomorrow...Ord, Nebraska!  Some of my most dearly loved friends have invited me to speak at their church in honor of National Adoption Month.  If you happen to think of me on Sunday morning, please pray! Any chance to talk about adoption, and especially to talk about Samantha, is a blessing. Pray that the Holy Spirit would give me the words to speak. This is His story, and I know He'll tell it best. This particular church is, as my friend Sara would say, "small but mighty". The Lord has already worked in HUGE ways through them. Friends from this church supported my work with the homeless children's ministry where I used to work, they helped to keep me afloat financially when I was without a job, they connected me to Haiti, they paid for one of my trips to Haiti, and with the help of their community, they raised $26,000 to build a new orphanage for children who lost their families in the Haiti earthquake. There are NO LIMITS to what God can do through these people. It is my honor to stand before them on Sunday. I can hardly wait to see what God will do through them next!

I was also asked to come prepared with a song to sing. I knew right away that it had to be this song. 

This is for you, Samantha. Someday soon I'll be singing this to you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Update on Katerina

God has again answered our prayers. Here's the update from Katerina's family.
Katie needed IV fluids and now has an NG tube, so she is doing very well now.  She’ll be in the hospital until tomorrow morning.  We have a story to tell and pictures to share, but there is no internet at the hospital where Susanna is.  We are seeing God working; than you so much for praying!  Adam arrived safely, but to an unexpected summons to join us at the hospital.  He will undertake the supervision of Katerina’s care from our Hotel room in the morning when she is released.
As you continue to pray, please consider all the people Katerina has been able to reveal truth to in the past 12 hours that were not included in the our original plan.  May God continue to do mighty works!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Urgent Prayers Needed

Little Katerina needs your prayers. Here's the latest update from her mom and dad:
Katie refused all but a few mouthfuls of her last two bottles yesterday, is refusing to take anything now at 4 am, and is showing signs of dehydration.  Adam won’t be here for 12 more hours.  We are taking her to the hospital Toni recommended.  I hate to say this, but we may not be able to update for a little while, and our tiny girl needs prayer.  Could you please pray?
The last I knew, Katie weighed only 11 pounds (at nine years old). Adam is a nurse and friend of the family who will be helping to transport Katie home. Please, please pray that God, who knows Katie's every need, would comfort, protect, and save. He is good. We trust Him to do this.

If you would like to read more about Katerina's story, or if you just want to be inspired and encouraged in your relationship with the Lord, check out her mama's blog,

Glory to God in the Highest!

Katerina Hope Musser has left the orphanage...forever. She's with her mom and dad, right where she belongs.

I need someone to cry with, so you should go look at the pictures right away!

Let's praise the Lord, together. God did what He said He would do! He is good. He is faithful.

He can do it again.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


I've been waiting to write a post about all the ways this precious little friend has been an inspiration to me. Today, as I sit waiting (patiently?) for more information on my own little angel, it seems like a good time to share.

I met Maleska in Haiti, several trips ago. He lives in the neighborhood near Valley House of Hope where Love Maidene lives. We used to lovingly call him "the naked kid" as he would run behind our truck smiling and waving without a care in the world. And without a single article of clothing. In July our team had the pleasure of finally getting to know him. This kid is pure, unadulterated sweetness and joy.

Each day as we would step off the bus, Maleska would be there to great us with enthusiastic hugs and smiles that filled his whole face. He would then grab hold of a hand and lead us down the dusty road to the orphanage where we were teaching a group of area pastors. Other children from the neighborhood would walk with us as well, as they do each time we travel to Haiti. But Maleska's presence in our group upset them.  Well-meaning little friends would scold us for touching him, warning us that he was "sick" and laughing at what was, apparently, quite a strange sight.

We would allow Maleska to join us for the Pastor's Conference. He would sit proudly, quietly in his own chair, seemingly knowing that the invitation was an honor. Throughout the day, members from our team would take turns sitting by him, scratching his back, and slipping him (way too many) pieces of candy. When we would serve lunch to the pastors, moleska would eat too, receiving his very own soda and plate with rice and chicken. Some of the pastors were obviously bothered by his presence, but they respectfully put up with us crazy Americans and our ideas.

In between sections of the conference I would sneak outside to play with the other neighborhood kids and the VHOH orphans. Maleska would often go outside to play, too. Over the course of three days, I watched his interactions with the kids. Though not always mean, the kids kept their distance. Everyone seemed to understand that Maleska was not one of them.

Near the end of our trip, I had the opportunity, with the help of a translator, to talk to the kids about Maleska: to explain to them that God made him special, and that there is nothing wrong with him. I instructed the children to look out for him, and if they see someone teasing him to say, "He's Grace's friend!" I was so pleased to hear this very thing spoken as Maleska walked us back to the bus. Giggling children crowded around us, asking repeatedly, "He is your friend?" "Yes, he is my friend!" I would respond, my arm around Maleska's shoulder.

Even though he was blissfully unaware, saying goodbye to Maleska was terribly difficult. Probably because I was so thankful to God for bringing him into my life at just the right time. He gave me a small glimpse of what life is like for children with Down Syndrome around the world. He showed me just how resilient children can be, and how much difference a little bit of love can make in a young person's life. He confirmed my desire to be a mother to an angel with Down Syndrome. And, he showed me that I could happily parent an older child, and that I should be open to considering it.

Thank you, my little friend. May God bless and keep you, until we meet again.

  • Please pray for Maleska. Pray for his health; nurses seemed to think that he is likely infected with Hepatitis. Pray also for his friends and his neighbors, that they would love him well, and learn to enjoy him. And pray that he will be able to maintain his sense of joy and enthusiasm for life, even in the midst of great poverty and suffering. Thank God for the blessing that Maleska is in mine, and so many other lives.
  • Pray for my sweet Samantha. Pray that God would send people into her life to care for even the most basic of needs. Pray that she would be put to bed in a fresh diaper, in clean and dry pajamas, on a clean mattress. Pray that she would be nourished, even though her food does not contain the nutrients that she needs. Pray that God would give her what her food lacks. Pray that she will receive loving touches and smiles, and that someone will speak to her kindly. Pray that her mind will be stimulated. Pray that she would know the presence of Jesus in a dark place.