Esther’s day

Today I am filled with thoughts of Esther.

You see, today is her birthday.

She would be turning two.

As y’all know, we were so blessed to receive a package from Esther’s orphanage after her death. We had requested to receive any of her things and were completely amazed when, one month later, we received a box containing many of her precious belongings.

Enclosed also were her Half the Sky reports… filled with pictures of Esther we had never seen before.

And stories of her daily life at the orphanage. Through these, we fell in love with our girl even more.

I thought today was a good day to share some with y’all.

In memory of Esther.

October 5, 2009
When I tickle her, she watches me attentively. At times, she responds with very slight sounds from her throat. When she is hungry, she can drink 110-120ml. When feeding her milk, I can’t feed her too fast. I have to stop and have her rest several times. Otherwise, it’s hard for her to breathe. She still sleeps most of the time over the day. Due to this special disease, she doesn’t like to move a lot when she wakes up. It looks like she’s in low spirits the whole day.

November 5, 2009
When I called her “Yichen”, her eyes would look at me brightly, and her eyes would follow me as I moved. When I touched her little chin with my finger, she giggled. When she lays down on her back underneath the toy set, her eyes would look carefully at the bells hanging above her. Sometimes, she reached out her tiny hand to catch the bells. When excited, her feet would kick forward with strength. Sometimes she “talked” to herself.

June 5, 2010
Yichen can now understand many words. When I ask her how old she is, she shows me one finger. When asked “who is Yichen?”, she raises up her hand very high, as if a student is raising his hand to answer the teacher’s question. When asked about each part of her face, she can point out exactly where they are. She can imitate me to blow a kiss.

September 8, 2010
While playing, she would look for the toy telephone next to her whenever she hears me saying “Yichen, the phone call.” Once she finds it, she would put it next to her ear and “call” me. Sometimes if the toy telephone is not around, she would use her little hand to cover her ear, and shout out loud “ahah” towards me, which looks as if she were really calling me. That looks really cute.

When she’s sleepy, I put her in her little bed, and she would pull the blanket to cover her head. Her little hands would tap on the edge of the bed with rhythm, and she would make sounds like “en, en.” Then she falls asleep very soon. Whenever she sees my eyes, she would call me “mama” dearly. She wouldn’t stop calling me until I answer her. When held by her hands, she can walk a little. She can even stand alone for awhile.

April 20, 2011
I put her in pigtails, and put the headpins that her parents sent to her on top of them. I asked her to stand in front of the mirror and look at herself in the mirror. She was so happy. Whenever she saw someone, she pointed to her pigtails with her little hands, trying to ask others “Am I pretty?” I told her that Papa and Mama bought those for Yichen. She would then speak out “Papa, Mama” sweetly.

I miss her every. day.

It brings me great joy that So Loved is now available at Wild Olive.

100% of the proceeds from the sale of each So Loved tee will go to fund a future heart surgery for an orphan in China.

Happy Birthday, Esther Adaline YiChen.

You are, and always will be, So Loved.



  1. Oh, Stefanie! There are no words. She was and is so loved, as are you. Continually praying for you and yours…

  2. I can not even imagine how hard part of this trip is and how many emotions have come forward. What an amazing gift to receive these pictures – I LOVE the note about her hair pretties. SUch an answer to prayers that this little angel knew that she had a mommy and daddy that were coming for her. Continued prayers

  3. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Stephanie!!! What a sweetheart. I wish so deeply that she could be in your arms to celebrate her birthday. But I’m glad she’s celebrating in the arms of her Maker….fully healed and happy as a clam. Still praying for you guys…..and of course, Miss Poppy.

  4. Nicole A. says:

    How remarkable that you are there in China on sweet Esther’s birthday. What a whirlwind of emotions for you. I wish so very much that you could have brought her home, gotten her the care she needed, and watched her grow as part of your family. Surely she knew she was so loved. I’m happy that at least you have some special things to treasure. Wishing you peace and comfort! Praying for you all!

    All the best,
    Nicole A., now in LA

  5. Oh Stefanie,
    Your previous post and now this one. I am so very sorry for the rollercoaster of emotions that you are enduring right now. Grief over the very painful and unexpected loss of your beloved sweet Esther …combined with joy, fear, and geniune concern about scared little Poppy.
    I do hope that, somehow , today, you will allow yourself to feel the sunshine on your face, take a deep breath in and out, and just for today….put aside your worries, and cast all your concerns over to God. Ask Zach to get you laughing again, get that Starbucks, and perhaps this evening more laptop Lost viewings with one glass of wine?? By golly you have earned it!!

  6. Campbell says:

    I will light a candle at Mass tomorrow for Esther and her family. Y’all are such a loving family. that sweet baby was and will always be So Loved!

  7. So Loved seems not enough, but what would be. Thank you SO much for sharing about such a beautiful soul. My thoughts &n prayers are with you.

  8. I weep with you Stefanie.

  9. She sounds like a very sweet little baby. I am so glad that someone was taking such detailed notes on her and her personality. I can see how it must be very bitter sweet to read them. Your loss is Heaven’s gain and one day you will be with her.

  10. So thankful that you have these precious memories and aching with you today as you honour her precious life.

  11. Beautiful, Stefanie. Thanks for sharing. Jesus and the Angels are singing to her today.

  12. April Z. says:

    Your blog made me so emotional this morning! When I saw the picture of Poppy smiling I couldn’t help but smile too, but when I saw the pictures of Esther and read the tidbits about her daily life it brought a tear to my eye. I’m sure today must be very bittersweet for you as you continue to bond with Poppy and think about Esther’s birthday and how she should have been with you now. I’m praying that God gives you comfort and joy!

  13. Stef – by now you probably realize that you guys will always have a place in our family – and a place in our heart.

    And so will Esther….always.

    hugs – aus and co.

  14. LOVE YOU little Essie Monster!


  15. She sounds so smart! What a precious girl. Happy Birthday baby Esther!

  16. What an emotional roller coaster for you! Thank you for sharing another snippet of your Esther’s life.

  17. Such a precious, precious girl. What a treasure to have those tidbits of her to hang on to.

  18. What precious memories they shared with you. Thinking of you and your Esther today….

  19. How precious, the last note from this April is so sweet! She knew her papa and mama, and knew she was loved! Beautiful little Esther you are “So Loved”

  20. That was so precious! Thank you for sharing that with all of us. That was so special to see those parts of her life. I so wish you had been able to hold her. How wonderful that she knew she had a Mom and Dad before she left this life.

  21. Precious Esther was So Loved and is being loved still by her Heavenly Father. I just ordered a t-shirt too, to honor her memory…

  22. Thank you for sharing, Stef. My heart breaks for you still and my prayers continue to be with you and your family. Sweet Esther. She was and still is So Loved. Hugs to you my dear!

  23. aching heart for you. love.

  24. Stefanie~

    Thank you for sharing your sweet Esther with us. Thank you for sharing the intimate details that are such a treasure to you and your family.

    May God give you exactly what you need today to help you celebrate her life.


  25. oh beautiful girl…she knew she was so loved…and still is

  26. praying for you- I know this is hard. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  27. Oh my goodness, I had no idea. I just commented on your most recent post that I’ve been away from blogging for a while and the last I remember was you naming her. No, I was wrong…I’m sorry, you were finding a middle name for Esther. My heart hurts for you. I didn’t know. Praying.

  28. Esther will never be forgotten and her story brings light to other little ones still in need of “mama’s and papa’s.” Thank you for sharing Esther’s story. A very special and loved one indeed.

  29. Hi Stefanie,
    We remember Esther daily. Our son had a similar heart condition so in that way we feel connected to her. In honor of her B-day…..I bought another So Loved t-shirt for a friend. Precious little girl. I love how she was proud of her hair clips. I wish she could have shared that with you in person. Thinking of you guys.

  30. She knew she had a mama and a papa and was Loved!

  31. I am sorry Stefanie. She is so loved.

  32. She was loved, indeed. What a wonderful gift, and what a blessing to know – she was loved.

  33. Thank you for sharing Esther’s sweet life with us. We have a bio son who has had six heart surgeries and we recently adopted a ten year old girl who needed heart surgery, so your story touches my heart very much. I will be ordering a SO LOVED shirt as soon as I can! Thank you for raising money for such an important cause!

  34. Okay now crying sad tears. I know she is in heaven but this story makes me so sad. I love that you have turned your grief into something good with your So Loved heart fundraiser. I plan to spread the word about it.


  35. Happy Birthday sweet girl and God Bless You!!

    Love that the proceeds will go towards a heart surgery for a precious little child!

    I want ALL of the children to feel “So Loved”!

    Hugs to you!

  36. Oh Stephanie….my heart hurts for you. I am so glad that you posted this so we can get to know sweet Esther a little better. She will never be forgotten and I know she is dancing around heaven waiting for you. So wonderful that the t-shirt sales will help another little one in China get heart surgery. Big hugs!!!

  37. Oh Stefanie ~ I am just now catching up on the posts I missed while I was out of town for 5 days. This one just has me in complete tears. Oh how I know the ache your heart must be feeling right now. I hurt for you. It breaks me when I think of her life being cut short, before she even got to know her mama and baba and all those beautiful siblings waiting for her. But it blesses me when I think about just how deeply she was cared about by so many and to know that she was and forever will be SO LOVED! I think of her and of you EVERY time I wear that shirt or see it on someone else. I love that you have added the shirt in honor of Sweet Esther’s memory and will be donating the proceeds towards the surgery to help save the life of another.

    Sending heart-felt love and big hugs your way!


  38. Beautiful…

  39. Hi Stefanie – Just found your blog through a post on fb that recommended your blog. We also adopted our daughter from China – a child with special needs. And when I saw a picture of your Esther and her Chinese name, it made me do a double take. Our daughter’s Chinese name was also Yichen! I haven’t seen any one else with that name and thought what a neat coincidence. I am so sorry to read your story about Esther but can feel how much she was loved through your writing. So difficult to understand but some day you will meet her in heaven. Our daughter, Marisa YiChen, was 2 1/2 years old when we brought her home. She is now 5 years old.

    I am glad to have found your blog. I’ve enjoyed reading what I’ve read so far.

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