happy birthday, sweet one

Today we celebrate a most bittersweet day. Today would have been Esther’s 4th birthday.

We will make a cake today. We will think of her. Miss her.

But no candles will be blown out. No presents opened.

No squeals of delight.

Instead, we grieve the loss of a beloved daughter and a cherished sister.

But it is impossible to stay in that grief. Because God is so much bigger.

One year ago on this day, in honor of Esther’s birthday, I shared about a little girl named Kate. She was at New Day Foster home and in need of heart surgery. Because of the donations raised through the sale of So Loved, we at Wild Olive were able to donate the funds to cover the costs of Kate’s upcoming surgery. I was joyful at the way God had given us a way to honor Esther and the impact she had made in her all-too-short life. Another little one would have a chance at life.

But God’s plan was so much bigger.

Today Kate, now Grace, is at home with her forever family. A forever family that read that post one year ago and was changed from the inside out after seeing her picture. A forever family that, through nothing short of a miracle, was referred the little one they had been told would be impossible to find.


Although illness prevented Grace from receiving the heart surgery she needed while in China, she did have surgery shortly after coming home. And she is doing magnificently. Please take a few moments to read the beautiful post Grace’s mom, Amy, wrote to honor this very special day.

But the story doesn’t end there. Because Grace’s pneumonia prevented her from having heart surgery in China, there was an excess of funds from our So Loved donation. Karen from New Day contacted me and asked what we wanted to do with the funds. And I replied that we would like to bless another heart baby that was in the greatest need.

Enter Leila. We have been blessed with updates on this little one over the last months and her recovery from near death is nothing short of miraculous.


We look forward to continuing to witness as Leila blossoms and heals. And we pray that she will find a forever family of her own someday soon.

Feeling so blessed to be able to donate again this year from the proceeds from the sale of So Loved. And trusting He is going to multiply it in a way that only He can.


Our arms still ache that they did not get to hold you, Esther. But in our hearts, you are never far from us. We trust in His perfect plan and delight in all the threads we see Him weaving in your name. In His name.

And we rest in the promise that you are now in the arms of your Heavenly Father.

You are an orphan no more.


Esther Adaline YiChen – beloved daughter July 31, 2009 – May 9, 2011

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. — John 14:18



  1. Beautiful!!!

  2. Sweet Esther has certainly made a difference in this world.

    xo ellie

  3. I’ve been following your blog for a long time and I always love the stories and pictures, but today I am particularly touched by the difference Esther made in her short life. I followed your link to Grace’s blog and am in awe of how God works in such beautiful ways. Thank you for sharing this!

  4. jane klingenberg says:

    Dear Stefanie:

    Thank you so much for sharing beautiful Esther’s birthday with us. I remember you telling me about your beloved little daughter when we met on “the Island” while in China. Seeing her photo and reading your words made me cry.

    With a hug and prayers tonight,

    Jane Klingenberg

  5. God Bless you and your family. Esther is indeed SO LOVED and in the arms of her Heavenly Father. xoxo

  6. (((hugs))) to you on this bittersweet day!!!

  7. Does lifeline work exclusive with new day? There are a couple of children that are starting to get older and have wondered why they are not adopted yet when so many of the babies are getting their families? How would one go about finding their status?

  8. Love to you and your precious family, sweet sister!

  9. A bittersweet day Happy Birthday darling Ester – one day we’ll meet and I’m looking forward to that – in the meantime at least you know you are loved….

  10. beautiful…praise Him

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