On December 12, 2010, I saw a face that would change our lives forever.
On April 7th, we shared her sweet picture, and very-much-wrestled-over middle name, here on the blog for the first time. And the next day we launched So Loved – a fundraiser to bring our girls home.
We even created a t-shirt especially for the occasion.
On April 29th, we received the news we had been waiting for – our LOA had been issued for both Poppy and Esther.
We were so. incredibly. happy.
Just weeks away from holding our girls in our arms.
But, we never did get to hold Esther. On May 9th, the day after Mother’s Day, we received a phone call that Esther had passed away. She had caught a virus and, because of her complicated heart defect, could not recover.
Today is Esther’s birthday. She would have been 3 years old. I spent the morning looking over the reports we received from her orphanage, detailing her time there – from the time she was a newborn to the time she passed away at 21 months. Tiny hand prints. Pictures of her smiling. Descriptions of her emerging personality.
And a conversation with her nanny in which the nanny talked to Esther about her new hair clips, sent by her new mama and baba.
To which Esther replied, “Mama.” “Baba.”
Big, uncontrollable tears fall in front of me.
I’m not gonna lie, y’all. Losing Esther broke me in a way I’ve never experienced. And it is still so incredibly difficult to grasp it all.
But God is so much bigger than my pain. And He made a way to honor Esther in a way I could never even imagined.
Just over a year ago, we began offering So Loved in the Wild Olive store, with a promise to donate 100% of the proceeds to fund a future heart surgery in China. And, despite the fact that we set the price higher to raise more funds, so many of y’all stepped up and purchased a So Loved tee.
And in doing that, you have done this…
Sweet Kate resides at New Day Foster Home in Beijing, China. She was born in October 2011 and has unrepaired Tetralogy of Fallot, the same heart defect that our precious Esther had.
About Kate, written by her nanny:
Kate is an adorable, chubby little girl with big eyes. She doesn’t like strangers and enjoys being held by her aunts. She can stand on her own two feet with her hands supported by others. She enjoys playing in her walker and walking from one side of the room to another. She is very happy to greet me and enjoys being cuddled. It is a privilege to love this little girl each day.
And now her surgery is fully funded. Thanks to y’all.
$6562 was raised from the sales of So Loved for surgery to repair Kate’s heart.
I cannot tell you how much it blesses me to be able to share, on Esther’s birthday, all He has done and is doing to honor Esther’s life and to impact the lives of orphans everywhere.
Like sweet Kate.
And it makes this day, the day that we celebrate Esther, so much more than a birthday. It’s a celebration of redemption.
It’s a story of beauty rising out of sorrow.
It’s a story that could only be written by God. And there is nothing more beautiful than being a part of that.
When I consider Your heavens,
the work of Your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which You have set in place,
what is mankind that You are mindful of them,
human beings that You care for them?
~ Psalm 8:3-4