he knew

It’s been three years.

Three years since the phone rang, that Monday after Mother’s Day, and the voice on the other end asked me if I was sitting down.

Our precious Esther, for whom we had just received LOA, had suddenly passed away.


We were absolutely shocked. Horrified. Silenced. But God was not surprised. He knew the exact number of hairs she had on her head. And He knew the exact number of days she had on this earth.

He also knew how I would grieve. Oh my goodness, my heart positively broke. But how He carried me, loved me.

And one of the ways He loved me came in the strangest of packages.

It was a shirt – an ordinary t-shirt. One I had been inspired to create to raise funds to bring Poppy and Esther home. On the back was John 3:16. And on the front were two words…

So Loved.

I can’t even put into words the joy this shirt has brought me in the three years since that phone call. Joy in my own story – being able to wear it and see my girls wear theirs – and remember how very LOVED our Esther was and still is.

But the joy, too, that it brings me to see it impacting other’s lives.

…on the back of a brand-new mama, as she holds her child for the first time in a steamy Civil Affairs office.

…or a new, and much loved, little one – just home from China.

…or blessing an orphan (or three) in China with a heart defect. Just like my Esther.

In honor of Esther, Wild Olive was recently able to make a final donation of $3000 to help fund Noelle’s heart surgery.

From Meredith, who spearheaded the effort to raise funds for Noelle’s surgery:

Yes… Noelle is doing fairly well. The surgeons are hoping to do her big heart surgery soon. I actually got to meet her in March… she is absolutely precious and has the sweetest smile. She recently learned how to wave bye bye and blow kisses.

Thank you for doing this. Such a beautiful way to honor your sweet Esther! Brooke just pulled on her “So Loved” tee this morning. What a legacy of love Esther left behind her!


God is so good, y’all. He knows. He blesses. He loves.

Thinking of possibly reprinting So Loved and continuing on to donate 100% of the proceeds to other precious orphans like my Esther, who need life-saving surgery for their broken hearts.

Trusting Him to let me know. I can trust Him with Esther, and I can trust Him with everything else.

He heals the brokenhearted,
and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars;
He gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
His understanding is beyond measure.

Psalm 147:3-5



  1. You should reprint it. May God give comfort and healing to your heart! Hugs,

  2. I hope you do reprint it. Please message me if you do. I love what you helped do for Noelle.

  3. We would love to buy a few of the Loved t-shirts.

  4. LOVE!

  5. Ronda Nusbaum says:

    I would buy some of those shirts if you reprint.

  6. Janine Benslay says:

    I would buy some shirts….I have 4 precious children from China….our 12 year old is Esther…we are in the hospital with her . She is in halo and femoral traction..she will have her final spinal fusion this Wed. the 14th. Today she turned 12. Thank you for helping other children!!!

  7. I serve here at NDS and was just with Miss Noelle all morning, she is still blowing kisses and bringing joy to all those around her. Thankyou so much for bringing awareness Stephanie (((hugs)))

  8. Stephanie in NC says:

    Please let me know if u do reprint. We love the shirts we bought when you closed your shop. Hope and pray this baby has a family soon.

  9. would love if you reprinted it–

  10. (((hugs))) to you! oh, how I remember that time in your life……
    re-printing those those shirts is a wonderful idea!

  11. elisabeth says:

    Hugs to you Mama, I cant imagine how hard……..so glad so loved has brought you so much joy (me too!) and so many others! Would love to see it again!

  12. Yes!!!! Please!! Praying for you to sense how God would lead you.

  13. Yes!!!

  14. Lindsay says:

    prayers and hugs…I vote for a reprint.

  15. Yes please that would be wonderful.

  16. I would love to have a So Loved thirty to proudly wear in honor of so many sweet ones. :)

  17. I hope you will reprint it. Clearly the message and the power behind the words and the love involved in its creation have meaning to so many and truly give the gift of life. God bless you Stefanie. xoxo

  18. Would love it if you reprinted- so many people ask me about my Wild Olive Tees and now I have no where to send them too… I would love to buy them “So Loved” and know that the proceeds are going to another treasure with a broken heart…
    Praying for you today as you remember your dear baby Esther.

  19. Please reprint it! I never had a chance to order one before you closed up shop. I would love one. :)

  20. Christy Hammersley says:

    Please re-print them. My now 7 year old is wearing her so loved shirt today.It is way too small, but she still loves that shirt. Mine has holes in it, but I can’t throw it away. My 12 year old also still has her so loved shirt and it’s too small. We love those shirts and helping an orphan is always part of our hearts.

  21. Reprint it! Mine ‘a getting worn, plus I never got one for my girls and I’d like to — especially our soon-to-be 14-year-old daughter from the Philippines (hoping to travel in the next 6 months). I saw a woman at CAFO 2014 wearing it and it made me smile! I look forward to hearing if you decide to reprint. Just a thought: I wonder if could sell gobs more if you were able to get the price a little lower allowing you to make an even greater donation to life saving heart surgeries? Many won’t/can’t spend $35 on a tee shirt. Would love to see you sell THOUSANDS!

  22. What a wonderful thing to do in memory of your sweet Esther. I hope you are able to reprint them. I would love to buy the shirt… I’m hoping to bring our daughter home later this summer.

  23. Heidi Morris says:

    I need more So Loved shirts! Please reprint!! I’ve had people stop me and ask where I got mine and I love taking the time to tell your sweet Esther’s story.

  24. Julie Hand says:

    I have loved sharing the “So Loved” story/mission with anyone who has ever complimented me, while I am wearing my shirt. It is stained and has a a couple small holes in it, so I would be really excited to be able to buy another one for myself and to get them for others too!

  25. kate hawk says:

    Stefanie, my vote is to reprint! Didn’t get the opportunity before, but if you reprint, I’d buy some too!! Blessings and peace to you! And Happy Momma’s Day : )

  26. Please reprint, Stef! I want one!!! :) I love how God works differently for everyone…for you, it’s in a beautiful shirt, for me it’s words written in a book…all beautiful legacies to spread the Goodness of God!!! :)

  27. Oh, I wish you would. They are such a precious reminder of your girl, and they do such good for other waiting little ones. :)

  28. I need a new one and my girls each want one of their own. That’s five of us. :) Shall we start a petition on your FB page? 😉

  29. Rebecca says:

    We recently received the same heartbreaking news that our precious daughter waiting for us in China had passed away. The grief is overwhelming at times, but you’re so right, He carries us and loves us. Thank you so much for this post.

  30. Sweet Esther. So loved.

    I would love a new So Loved tee. I actually wore mine out I wore it so much. It got holes in the armpits that grew to the point I had to let it go. I also always had people ask me where I got it when I would wear it. I kept a slip of paper in my purse that I could hand them.

    And being the Momma to a little girl whose heart surgery was funded by many, including a Girl Scout troop who donated their cookie profits to our girl’s surgery, I say YES, ABSOLUTELY keep funding those heart surgeries.

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