here to there


I am just mentally exhausted.


It’s been so much harder to hear those ‘words’ than I expected.

But, with all things that are hard to bear, I’ve just got to process it. Live in it. Embrace it, whether I want this for my daughter or not. It just is. It is who she is, and the truth is, I wouldn’t want her any other way.

Putting my head in the sand just is not an option. I’ve got a daughter to take care for. To love. To teach just how fearfully and wonderfully made she truly is.

And the fastest way from here to where I need to be is straight through all the muck and the mire.

So for now, I trudge forward until I fall again into tears. And then I rest again at His feet. I don’t know how long it will take to get through this, I just know He is carrying me. And even more importantly, He is carrying Vivienne.

My sister and her kiddos flew in Tuesday night. A visit we’d planned months ago.

Perfect timing, indeed.

And to say it’s been a blessing would be a huge understatement.

We’ve spent the last two days at the beach.

Enjoying the weather. Enjoying the ocean. Enjoying the blessing of family.

Most of all, enjoying this littlest blessing in our family.

And holding her closer than ever.

Thank y’all for all the words of support and encouragement. God is so good, we feel so blessed by all the prayers that have gone up on behalf of our girl.



  1. Sharon Ankerich says:

    There are no words except I am praying for you and Vivi… God chose you and you can do this. So thankful your sister is there with you and you are on the shores of one God's most blessed creations- the ocean… I always feel closest to Him when standing on the shore listening to His power rushing in. He LOVES you that much!

  2. My devotion today may fit for you. "Predestination means your destination has already been determined. The Bible says we are predestined according to God's purpose and will (Eph. 1:11). That means God knows where you are supposed to be going. And He knows how to get you there."

    He brought her to your family and will get you all through this. He knows that you are a momma that will encourage her to no end. He has big plans for your little girl! Praying for you both.

  3. Tara Anderson says:

    I'm praying for you, Stefanie. It is NO mistake that God chose you to be Vivi's mother, and HE will equip you with everything you need to do the job according to His will and for His glory. Never doubt that!!!!

  4. Teresa =) says:

    Stefanie –

    I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE…your photography, your honesty, and your obvious love for your family.

    When we adopted Carson in 2007, we were told he had repaired clubbed feet and clubbed wrists. Period. What an understatement.

    Carson has arthrogryposis that affects his hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, and ankles. He has low muscle tone in his upper body and can bend his little body in ways it should not.

    After the initial shock of realizing the struggles ahead for my Little Man, I remember thinking, "Thank God we didn't know all this, or we may have turned down his referral." And, oh, how our family would have suffered from the lack of this sweet, crazy, smart boy!

    You will get through the muck and the mire because of Vivi's strength (strength she may not even know she has yet), your Mama's love, and the support of others. God has amazing plans for all of you…and your family is truly blessed!

    Teresa =)

  5. Continue to rest in Him.

    Hugs and prayers,

  6. Sweet friend. I've finally tapped into a wireless network at the beach after one week of withdrawals from the internet and my blog family. I am getting caught up on you and yours. I am sorry for your tears and the initial fears of this new diagnosis. I am privilege to come alongside and pray. I am also blessed to have a front row seat to all that God entrusts you with. I know that God will be glorified in the road ahead with Miss Vivi. She is something special. And your grace, your humility, and your courage keep me inspired.
    Sending love to you and yours from Naples,

  7. Somewhere In The Sun says:

    She needed YOU to be her Mommy. That's why God gave her to you. HE knows you can do it and that is what is most important. You are all in my prayers.


  8. Patricia/NYC says:

    Ahhh…fearfully & wonderfully made…one of my favorite scriptures! In fact, I have started saying the following to Kiara every day:

    In God's heart you are…
    Created, Chosen, Celebrated & Cherished!

    And of course, sweet Vivi is too! Holding you & your sweet girl up in prayer…always.

  9. You will get there, Stefanie. You're processing. It's like you're going through the stages of grief. I had to deal with a life long medical diagnosis with my now 19 year old son a few years ago. At the time of diagnosis, it was as if everything was spinning……I was upset that his life wasn't going to be "normal", and I so wanted that for him. You're grieving, and yes, you will get "there".

    You'll get there, and then you'll tackle helping Vivi to become everything God intends for her to be. Because that's why He chose YOU for HER.

    I understand where you are. Take your time to process it. God isn't in Heaven wringing His hands over this diagnosis.

    Love to you.

  10. Stefanie,
    God gave Vivi the gift of YOU for her mother and your family for her family. He knew what He was doing. And even though things look dark right now, He knows the way through that darkness and into the light on the other side. Isaiah 42:16 "…along unfamiliar paths I will guide [you]; I will turn the darkness into light before [you] and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake [you]."
    Praying for you,

  11. Carolin says:

    continuing to hold you guys up in prayer!

  12. Praying and trusting God with you.
    And we know that in ALL things, God is at work for the good of those who love Him who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
    No mistakes….your Vivienne is a treasure who was given a second chance at family with your family, who was CHOSEN to be that very family. Whatever the future holds, you will be TOGETHER.

  13. Chasing Dreams Photography says:

    Thinking of you and your sweet little gift from God….{{{{hug}}}}}

  14. Mom to my China Posse says:

    Praying for you, but I know you know already that God always has your back and he knew what the official Diagnosis would be for Vivi and that it would not change your Momma's heart nor should it. Vivi is one special gal and has one special family. Enjoy the Beach and your family can't think of a better place to be.

  15. Jeanniemb1 says:

    Hi Stephani,

    It is very rare that I tell someone, "I know how you feel", because I believe that is so rarely the case when people say that. however, in this case, I think I really do know how you feel. We got our daughter's diagnosis of Mitochondrial Myopathy in December. I wrote about it here ( if you are interested. There are a few posts after that, too, that deal with my crazy range of emotions. We love these little ones so, so deeply , and would give our very lives if that would help make them better. I am praying for you and your family. The great part is, there is nothing to stop us from all the lovin' and squeezin' we want to give, and some days, that is just what we need. :-)
    Hank in there! (((hugs)))

  16. Jeanniemb1 says:

    I meant, "Hang" in there. Sorry. Who's Hank???

  17. Maggie S says:

    Holding you up. Thankful for you!!!

  18. Because Vivi is in YOUR house, growing up with YOU as her mother, I have no doubt that skeletal dysplasia will NOT be what defines her. Rather an outrageously loved, truly cherished, beautiful child of God will be.
    I am praying for you as you continue to digest what you have learned.

  19. living4Him says:

    Covering you and your family in prayer. Many have already said it and I believe it to be true…He chose you to be her mom because He knows you can give her all she needs….love and a family to call her own.

  20. McNew Family says:

    Prayers for you and your family in dealing with sweet Vivi's diagnosis. Remember though, that God made her perfect in every way – just as He planned!

  21. Stef,
    From one special needs mom to another, here's my advice:
    1.) Pray to God, "God, Please give me the strength that I need for this most important journey and please teach me everything that you want me to learn from this experience."
    2.) Make the following resolution: We will remain a happy, joyous, and hopeful family.

  22. Keeping you in my thoughts.

  23. Football and Fried Rice says:

    Well, sometimes my life
    Just don't make sense at all
    When the mountains look so big
    And my faith just seems so small

    So hold me Jesus, 'cause I'm shaking like a leaf
    You have been King of my glory
    Won't You be my Prince of Peace

    And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
    It's so hot inside my soul
    I swear there must be blisters on my heart

    So hold me Jesus, 'cause I'm shaking like a leaf
    You have been King of my glory
    Won't You be my Prince of Peace

    Surrender don't come natural to me
    I'd rather fight You for something
    I don't really want
    Than to take what You give that I need
    And I've beat my head against so many walls
    Now I'm falling down, I'm falling on my knees

    "Hold Me Jesus" – Big Daddy Weave

  24. Wife of the Pres. says:

    "And the fastest way from here to where I need to be is straight through all the muck and the mire.

    So for now, I trudge forward until I fall again into tears. And then I rest again at His feet."

    Stefanie, even in the midst of this journey, you are ministering to others including me. I SO NEEDED to read the above truth today.

    Life is so hard at our house right now for reasons most would not guess, but we have to TRUDGE forward. And as you say, the quickest way is straight ahead, knowing we can rest and kneel when we can't trudge another step.

    Big Hugs and so thankful you have this visit with your sister. I love how God loves to bless us like that!

  25. "If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it." God definitely brought you to Vivi and He will bring you and Vivi through this and you and she will be stronger than ever before! Hang in there Stefanie!!! Hug that girl for me:)

  26. It is hard to hear that your child has something that will make her life harder, to cause her pain or to struggle. We, as parents, want to make things right for our kids and we can't always do that. We can be there for them, help them through the hard times, cheer their accomplishments and comfort them when they are sad. We can equip them to deal with life and learn to stand strong in the body that they've been given. My son was diagnosed as a baby with a serious heart defect that has put limitations on him all his life. It was hard at times not to be overwhelmed by this. I would look down the long road of life and worry for him, about his life and his struggles and I would get overwhelmed. Only by giving it to God and taking it a day at a time was it easier. He never realized anything was "different" about him until he was older. He's had his hard times, watching his friends do things he can't. We've tried to be there for him, to help foster interests that he can enjoy and to let him know that even with "limitations" his life can be full and productive. To let him know that his physical condition does not define who he is. He is now recovering from heart surgery (two weeks ago) and doing well. I've shed many tears through the years about him. Just like God hurts for us, we hurt for our children. We love them, how could we not? So go ahead and cry, we will cry with you. Then you move forward, to love, to care, to raise this beautiful child, this gift, you've been given. You all are in my prayers.

  27. Colin and Jill Canada says:

    Isaiah 55 v 8&9
    For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
    As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    He is above all. He is our Father and he most certainly sorrows with us. Take this time to be sad – life is not always about being strong and happy. Take your time, He will give you the strength and faith you need when the time is right.

    My prayers are with you, your hubby and sweet little Viv. I know more than anything you're hurting for her, and I am too.

    Hugs, Jill

  28. 3 Peanuts says:

    She IS fearfully and wonderfully made. God made Vivian EXACTLY how He wished her to be and HE placed her lovingly in your care because He knew you were the Mom for her. you have my prayers. Love,

  29. Don and Lisa Osborn says:


    It has been forever since I've visited because I've been in the midst of my own muck and mire and hurt and pain. However, this week I heard Lindy–who just turned five in May–proudly say her memory verse to her teacher: "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him." Romans 8:28. Then she wanted me to explain…

    I don't really have the explanation but I firmly believe it. I hope you will, too…

    Love to you and your hurting heart~
    Lisa Osborn

  30. Sally-Girl! says:


    I think it is amazing how God places the right children in our lives. You know that Bryson ended up having a much greater special need than what was disclosed and now it appears Gio as well, but after they are in your forever arms it never seems to matter. We just love them and want the best for our kids. I love how He works all that out for us. Honestly, Bryson's adoption has rocked our workd and changed our lives so much that we are now confidently adding our Gracie to the mix. It is only through Him that we can!!!!

    Love your sweet Vivi! What a dolly she is with the perfect family God predestined for her!!!

  31. Stefanie,
    Thinking of you.

  32. The Barfield's says:

    Trudging thru muck is much harder than walking in a field of wild flowers. And not as pretty. But, by trudging thru muck or climbing mountains we are made stronger physically. Just like we are strengthened spiritually when we face icky things that we'd rather not have to face. You will make it through the muck. And come out totally buff ~spiritually speaking =)~ on the other side. And we will all be right there with you in our hearts, cheering all of you on as you take each step. You are a blessing in many ways…

  33. Chandra says:

    Just stopping by today to say you are in my thoughts and prayers. God has placed Vivi in the perfect family! My prayer is that you will find peace in this diagnosis. May you feel His love surround you today! He will walk through this with you!!

  34. Stacy in New England says:

    In His eyes, we are all perfectly made. Rest in knowing that He knows exactly what He is doing and He brought Vivi in your family for so many wonderful reasons and He's created a wonderful support system for you. Blessings to your family from ours ~

  35. Heather says:

    God has blessed Vivi with the perfect family. Holding her hand & walking side by side you will get through this with His guidance. Sending lots of hugs & prayers your way, my friend.

  36. Stefanie
    The initial reaction is typically one that makes you feel numb but it will pass and you'll see that the Lord will strengthen you to care for your precious girl. He created her perfectly in His image especially for your family and He will carry you through the uncertainties and challenges. Standing beside you in prayer dear friend.

  37. You know Stefanie, when MeiLi was struggling with her surgeries and infections, a friend prayed for her and just mentioned in her prayer that God had knit her together in the womb and it just hit me like a ton of bricks that all that was going on with her did not catch Him by surprise. He made her and he made her the way she is. I may not know the reason, but he loves her so and has chosen me to parent her. It took such a weight off. She is His child, and He will be there for both of you:)

  38. Thanks – we love you guys too – she is such a living dream! (And the Sunday Snaps were cool too!)

    hugs – aus and co.

Leave a Reply