When I asked my girls who wanted to go outside with me and my camera, wearing their So Loved shirt, Lula was the first to shout (and jump, with both hands in the air), “Me! Me!”
My hope was to just get a few new pictures of the So Loved for girls, since we recently switched from a unisex to a more girly fit.
But as I looked through these pictures – and thought about all that has happened since I first had the idea for So Loved four years ago – it struck me.
There is heartbreak.
I came up with So Loved while waiting to bring Esther and Poppy home. I even had two teeny tiny versions made – one for Poppy and one for Esther – to take with us to China.
But we never got to put that teeny tiny shirt on Esther. We never got to tell her she really was so loved.
I remember so vividly the way the Lord carried me after she died. I was overwhelmingly devastated and yet, His presence and comfort encompassed me.
I remember too, how I begged God to help me understand – I so desperately wanted to make sense of it all. If I could just understand, Lord. Why did her life have to end so early? Why did You fight so mightily to help us bring her home, knowing she never would come home? Why, Lord? Why?
There is beauty.
Sweet Tallula, looking so adorable in the shirt created to bring her big sisters home. The Lord was so gracious to bring this beautiful surprise into our lives just months after Esther’s death.
There is redemption.
Since relaunching So Loved as a 100% charity tee, we have donated almost $12,000 to support the care of these precious heart babies:
And now another sweet one named Kate.
$2200 was donated to Morning Star Foster Home in December and already another $2500 has been raised to fund additional heart surgeries in the future.
I grabbed a coffee with Meredith a few weeks ago (on Valentine’s Day, no less) and we sat and talked babies, heart defects, fundraising and God’s provision for several hours. I was once again awed at her commitment, passion and energy to do all she does for the little ones in her care. And deeply moved to be able to send her off with a bag full of So Loved tees for her, the MSFH nannies and a few way-too-big-but-the-smallest-we-had for those precious babies.
So grateful that He continues to allow me to be able to work on behalf of babies in China, like my Esther, who are waiting with broken hearts. And so grateful for all of you who have partnered with us in supporting the So Loved effort.
But there is still much work ahead. Heart surgeries are expensive, many children with complex heart conditions require more than one surgery, and new babies are being born into this world, and abandoned, because there are no funds to repair their hearts.
I hope that those of you who have purchased your So Loved shirts will continue to partner with us, and consider sharing with others how they can get involved, too:
— Pray for Kate, who continues to struggle with fragile health and a heart that will require additional surgery.
— Pray for all the babies at Morning Star Foster Home who all have complex heart defects.
— Pray for all the children in China, and around the world, who go to bed tonight, and every night, without a father or mother.
— Buy a So Loved. Give a So Loved. Share about So Loved – about orphans in China with broken hearts, about the fact that $15.50 of each purchase goes to charity – and be part of the healing these babies so desperately need.