Friday, August 1, 2014

Broken Hearted for the Musser family....The Blessing of Verity

Today Steve, Shad and I worked at Habitat for Humanity.  Shad had the best time and worked hard.  He got the nickname of  RACH as in ShadRACH.  At lunchtime we went to the nearby Pizza Hut (don't judge) and I checked my messages.  I had several email and FB messages regarding a family that was instrumental  in us finding Sarah.   Their son died in a drowning today. 

Let me tell you the story of how their lives intersected with our lives and changed us.....

One day in 2011 a college friend of mine posted on Facebook a blog about a family who had adopted.  A few years prior the Musser family had a little girl, Verity, who happened to have Down's syndrome.  Their love for her lead them to another little girl with DS who was in a horrible Bulgaria orphanage.  I could relate as our love for Sam had lead us to Shad.  The little girl they adopted was named Katie, who was 12 pounds at 9 years old.  On the blog, she mentioned Reece's Rainbow.  So as the mom of three, I had nothing else to do but look on line so I went over there....and looked at the various children.  My heart was moved with compassion for them as most are special needs children.  THEN I typed BLIND CHILD and what pictured popped up but MY girl Sarah.  Of course my heart just leapt in my chest!  Genesis as she was known on the list looked just like Sam's twin!  Oh I couldn't' sleep that night as the picture of that child stayed in my mind.   I laid in bed praying & crying till the wee hours for that child.  Within a week we had committed to adopting her  and now she has been our dear daughter for over two years.  Of course, in the process of adopting Sarah, we learned of Selah......

So my life was changed by these three steps......

 Then Susanna on her blog, began sharing about the conditions in that orphanage.  She began fund raising to help and also doing what she could legally to change the conditions.  She also became an advocate and has raised thousands of dollars to help other families adopt from there. 

Then in 2012 they committed to an older boy who was in the same orphanage.  They adopted Tommy and brought him home. 

I haven't followed their story closely but would read from time to time.  I think she and I talked once when we were in the process of adopting Sarah who was so tiny and I wanted advice about how to deal with her medically on the plane and should we take her straight to a hospital or not when we landed.  I heard some of the details of Katie's adoption and travel and how they dealt with her medically that helped us make the decisions we did with Sarah. 

Today in an accident their son Tommy drowned.  The family is broken hearted and I'm told the mom is blaming herself.  I do not know the details of what happened but one thing I know is that child was cared for and loved. 

Accidents are just that.....accidents.  We live in a fallen world, we are human and we make mistakes.   Obviously we have learned that ourselves.  In our situation, the police who investigated said it took FOUR seconds for the stroller to get away from my husband.  FOUR seconds.....OMG......FOUR seconds that changed our lives for ever and ever.....FOUR seconds that will break our hearts for the rest of our lives. 

Do you know neither Jon and I can talk in depth about the accident without tears flowing.  Oh we can talk about it on the surface level but we have to be careful.  We have had ONE in depth discussion about it because it hurts so terribly bad.  Talking about it together multiplies our pain.  It is a pain that will never ever go away. 

I am sure there will be people that we call TROLLS who will link the Musser family and the Clanton Family together. (Trolls are called that because they are anonymous ball-less people who haven't the nerve to put their names on their comments, messages or websites)   They will say we had no business adopting these children.  Some will try and insinuate that it was no accident.  Some will say we were too "burdened" with our other children to give the right kind of care to another handicapped child.   Some will say the children would have been better off staying in the horrible orphanages that they were in.  But that is not true. (the reason I know they will say these things, are because they said them about us)   This young boy was given love for the first time in his life.  He had a family, a mom and dad who loved him.  He had siblings who loved him and who included him in their lives. He was given medical care for his many needs. 

Accidents happen and they are terrible, haunting, tragic.....

But in this world that loves to use the term "Judge Not", this is definitely a time to Judge Not.   So many things happen to so many families, you don't know when a few seconds could make a terrible difference in your own life. 

While Selah was in the hospital, I had a doctor approach me.  He told me a story of how his child's stroller had gotten away from him in a parking lot and it was just the grace of God that his child was not hit by a car.  Another on of Selah's doctors told us that his son had had a near drowning in the Erie Canal when he was 4 years old.  I have two friends, one from high school and one from college who had small children drown in their home pools.  Things happen and they happen fast.  For some reason if a child is adopted those trolls that I told you about will for some reason link the child's adoption to the awful tragedy!  I can NOT understand that.  They loved to contrast how Sam (our bio son) survived with no after affects BUT our Selah (adopted) survived BUT with severe brain damage.  They do not take into account the actual rescue, where the rescuers could not themselves get Selah out as quickly as Sam as she was somehow caught in the stroller's straps.  So they somehow make it seem like my husband had some diabolic plan to kill our beautiful newly adopted little girl that we both adored. 

But the people who knew our character and love for our children, never once thought anything like that. 

I do not personally know the Musser family but I see the fruit of their lives.  I'm sure there are many who really know them that will comfort them and walk with them through this time. 

My heart goes out to this family whose lives intersected  with ours and brought a huge change to two little girls lying in a mental institution.   We know the pain they are feeling right now in a very personal way.

I'll never ever forget seeing my husband for the first time after the accident.  He was "distraught" the first words out of my mouth were "I don't blame you"  I didn't even have the full story of what had happened at that point.  But you see, I'd had 23 years of marriage with him and 16 years of seeing him be a wonderful father.  I KNEW his life, I KNEW his commitment and love to his children, I KNEW his character.  I KNEW some horrible accident had happened.  Could it have been avoided? YES it could have.  And my husband will live with that regret the rest of his life. 

My wonderful mother in law was killed in a car accident some years ago.  It was totally her fault.  Do we regret she made a turn in front of a truck, do we wish the accident had never happened?  YES!  Do we blame her for it, do we hate her for it?, it was an accident.  I related that story to Jon at some point during that first awful day.  I think it helped him to put things into perspective. 

I looked this up and his drowning has already been ruled an accident.
the coroner spoke with compassion and I'm so thankful for that!

So tonight say a prayer for this family who is mourning their son's death and struggling with guilt and heartache.   We parents want to make everything perfect for our children.  And for our adopted children who have gone through so much hell in their lives, we want to make things beyond perfect for them.  I know the term "rescuing and orphan" is frowned upon in the adoption community for some reason but let me tell you, adoption is about rescuing a child that is YOUR child.  When you walk out those orphanage doors with that child in your arms, believe me you are rescuing that child!  It is the most incredible feeling in the world!   For me I was rescuing MY children that somehow ended up in an orphanage halfway around the world from me!  I don't think too much about their birth parents, because to me, the birth parents were just a way part of the steps that it took for them to become our children.  It's hard for me to think that they don't have our DNA because they are as much of a Clanton as Sam and Steve are!!!  We can't imagine our lives without the three of them!
So for us, it's not some noble cause to go and adopt these kids, quite simply, they are our children and they belonged with us. 

Some might wonder WHY I am blogging about this situation.  Is it drawing more attention to the situation?  My heart went out to them immediately because I know their pain.  AND I know what the internet community will do to them.  Susanna has been outspoken about adoption care and is a target to so many weird people who for some unknown reasons are against adoption in any way shape or form!  Especially international adoption, for some reason they feel the child is always better left in their own country to lay in an orphanage bed and be mistreated in many cases. 

Tonight. if you were to watch all the newscasts from all over this nation, there will be stories tonight about children who died in accidents.  Some will be drownings, some will have been hit by a car, some will accidently drink or eat something poisonous, some will be left in a hot car (I know that is quite the topic now), some will have falls or something will fall on them......  The great majority of these children will have accidents in the care of their BIOLOGICAL parents and most people will grieve with the families.  You probably won't hear "well that family shouldn't have had that child" or "it was better off left as an egg".......I have NEVER heard any silly talk like that when there have been accidents involving children.  However let the child be adopted, and then silly things are said.  How sad and twisted!!!

So I ask you to support this family with your prayers, remembering no one is immune to tragedy no matter how careful that person may live their lives!

And one thing I've learned is to show GRACE!  When I hear stories in the news, I remember that we are all mistake prone and let myself feel sympathy for the families.  Even with the hot car deaths that happen every summer.... anyone can make a mistake.  I have two friends  whose husbands left their children in a car accidently.  Thankful on both occasions it was winter time and the fathers remembered within an hour or so.  Neither child had any issue and both are now grown.  BUT what if that had happened in the summer time?  this is her blog.  Read and pray for this family.
I have some inkling of what they are going through right now and it hits me in the stomach.  I literally felt sick after reading about this. 

Tommy.....he was first shown love from his family when he was 15 years old.  They loved and took care of him.  Now he is experiencing LOVE like nothing we have ever known.  All I can say is our lives are such a vapor, we don't know when something may happen to cut short our life on this earth or to change it tremendously  BUT we have a HOPE beyond this life, of an eternal life.  Tommy has received that assurance in full today.  His family is grieving as they look back on this morning in agony, wishing they had done things differently......they will have so many "if onlys"  Oh God we have them, the "if onlys" can keep me awake at night sometimes going over the last few hours before the accident.  I know this family will go through that also.

I pray that God will hold them tightly in the palm of His hand.  He will be the only thing that gets them through....I know that too for a fact. 


  1. I was so hoping that you "know" the Mussers because I believe that at some point (if not already) Jon will be such a blessing to Susanna. I immediately thought of you guys when I heard about sweet Tommy....knowing, as you have said, that there will be some cruel things said. And I remember how you so desperately wanted for Jon to NOT blame himself for Selah's accident. I pray that God will use Jon to minister to the Susanna and family..... both because he knows the Lord so well and he also knows personally the grief they are experiencing. I will be praying for you and Jon as well as the Mussers. With a thankful heart I rejoice in God's promises of eternal life, believing that Tommy is experiencing the fullness of love that Susanna, Joe, and the children first gave him.

  2. This was a hard post to read, much less for you to write. Hard on a number of different levels, none of which are judgmental at all, but all of which are so saddening and tragic. Thank you for sharing, Yvonne. Will be praying for this sweet family who shares God's heart for adoption.

  3. Beautifully put, Yvonne. Thanks for sharing. I'm so heartbroken for them. Praying!

  4. you are right... I was horrified to read some of these Troll's forum. How can people be so mean ?

    This family is so incredible and full of love. When I read about this accident yesterday morning, I immediatly thought about you and the memories it would bring back...
    Praying for you too

  5. I don't know if you have the time to read the comments on Susan's page, but I really liked this one
    from Janet
    "Dearest Susanna, I couldn’t be any sorrier for you than I am at this moment. My heart breaks for you, and I don’t even know you! I am praying through tears that you would consciously feel the tender, gentle, loving hand of the Great Comforter–One who created the universe–on your heart.

    Please allow me to offer you (and anyone else who needs to hear them) the same words of encouragement given to a dear friend who blamed themselves for another family member’s death: To blame ourselves for ANYthing that happens here on earth is to say, in a way, that we are more powerful than God, that He was impotent to change the outcome of an event that we set in motion. But we KNOW—and I know that you know as well—that nothing happens outside of God’s will, and His will is perfect. What has happened was not a surprise to God—He knew it was coming—and yet He did nothing to change it. Not because he was callous or uncaring or spiteful or incompetent (by His very nature he can be none of those things), but because it was, somehow, part of His loving plan for Tommy, for you and your family, and for those of us who would hear about and be affected by it. Why? We don’t know, can’t know in our inferior human minds and hearts. Only He knows, and until we meet Him face to face,that has to be enough."

  6. well said. very eloquent.

    I once had a stroller get away from me too. I sprained my ankle very badly and fell flat on my face while pushing it down a hill. Fortunately, my 5 year old son was able to catch it.

  7. Prayers for everyone's loss in this life here. And kudos for saying what many of us adoptive families are feeling as well. Support and gratitude...

  8. My heart broke when I heard the news. I'm just devestated for the Musser family. I'm broken, knowing how Susanna will always blame herself. I've been praying that she will find peace and comfort, and that those around her will hold her up during this awful time. The first thoughts I had, were that the trolls would attack them. How awful that she has to deal with that on top of what she is already dealing with. I can't fathom that anyone would actually suggest that Tommy (or Selah) would be better off in their orphanages. One of the problems with our wired-world is that the internet provides a level of anonymity that seems to make people say things online that they would never say face to face. I pray that she is able to look beyond the trolls, and feel the love and support from those of us that are crying with her and praying for their entire family.

  9. This is such a heartfelt post. I do hope at some point Susanna will be able to read or hear your husband's heart and how he has processed this experience. When my daughter was a newborn my mother and I were at a shopping club. My baby was in her car seat sitting in the bottom of the cart when my mother let go of the cart to look at something. I didn't realize anything was wrong until I heard a man's voice yelling that my baby was in the middle of the road! Turns out the sidewalk was sloped. We were both devastated at what could have happened but I'll assure you that after four months of bedrest it wasn't because we didn't care about that little girl. It was just one of those human moments where things happen. I'll be forever thankful that God had mercy on us that day. I can't judge my friend Susanna. And I can't judge your husband.

  10. My heart ached for you after your accident. My heart aches for them. ((((((HUGS))))))))) I have 3 daughters in Heaven. I miss them every single day. I REJOICE for the day we'll be re-united!

  11. Yvonne, this is the first time I read this post. I'm thankful you mentioned it in your email, so I could come find it. The tears are pouring down my face. Thank you. God is healing, but the pain is never far away.

    1. Love & appreciate you & your family!