Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Meet the Manuels

Y'all, look at this face!!!


This is Henry! Isn't he precious?! He has a forever family that hopes to have him in their arms by the end of the summer. They are the Manuels...


And here is what they had to say about their adoption:

"An international adoption was something I've always said that I personally wouldn't do.   Too much paperwork, the expense, the time and energy....but over the last 3 years,  adoption has grown stronger and stronger in the hearts of all our family members.   We hoped if we ignored it, the idea would just go away (and we prayed it would)   Then in September 2016,  we finally surrendered to God's continuous, persistent voice and took the first step of finding a local in-state adoption agency but all the doors were closed so we timidly and with extreme caution, checked out an adoption from China and the doors were thrown wide open.  And I can say that since that time in September, not one obstacle has blocked this path towards adoption.    We were quickly matched in November with a little boy, Henry Joshua,  who will be turning 2 in Fall 2017.  And now, we will be traveling in late summer 2017 to pick him up and we can't wait to meet him.

I chose the quote "Love is Brave" for our necklace, because I feel like my Christian life hasn't been very brave.  I have done a lot of ministry and taken risks, tried new things, traveled to countries but have never actually stepped out in complete scary faith, obeying God's voice and done something that didn't really seem to fit into my plans or make sense.  We've seen adoption to be extremely costly, painful, emotionally taxing to families, so it took us about three years to really submit and get over our fear and step out in faith and love, no matter what the cost will be.   However,  as we have stepped out in faith,  God has come alongside of us and eased our fear and reassured us every step of the way.   I can honestly say that I am not the same person I was last year at this time. 
  

Adoption is definitely a huge leap of faith.  It is challenging, but so rewarding.  We want to help Mindy & John with their remaining adoption costs, so we have designed this "Love is Brave" necklace.  Half of its proceeds will be donated to the Manuel family.  Would you please consider helping them bring home sweet Henry?  Just visit our shop to make your purchase with a purpose.  Thank you so much, and God bless you!

Also, if you would like to further support this family, please visit www.Gracehavenhome.com and specify that you are giving to John & Mindy Manuel.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Gibson Family Fundraiser

Hello friends! This next fundraiser we are launching is for a cause that is very near and dear to my heart.  We want to show support to The Gibsons, a local family whose daughter was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor towards the end of last year.


I recently had the privilege of meeting and photographing this sweet family.  I was very inspired by them and admire their strength and joy during this time.  I asked them to share some of their story, and here is what they had to say...

"Emilie is our amazing 9 year-old girl and best friend to her big brother, Alex. She began to have headaches over the summer while swimming and we eventually made our way to a neurologist who ordered an MRI.

On September 9th she had her MRI and within an hour we got the results no parent should ever get and immediately headed up to the hospital. Emilie had a rare brain tumor called a DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma).

We quickly learned that pediatric brain tumors are now the #1 cancer killers of kids and DIPGs are the worst. 50% of children with DIPGs do not make it 9-12 months past diagnosis.  We were lucky in that after a biopsy at University Health in Shreveport, 6 weeks of radiation at St. Jude in Memphis, and 5 weeks of immunotherapy in San Francisco, her tumor shrank around 60%. 


In our every three week trips to continue immunotherapy, we try to make the shot experience as painless as possible through crazy hats that Emilie delights in making the entire family wear.  Due to this, she has accumulated a large collection and once received a few smiles while wearing a bunny eared hat through airport security.



San Francisco has become part of our drive to make as many special moments as we can through food trucks, a trip to Alcatraz, and multiple visits to the sea lions, and Emilie never disappoints with her sweet, witty, crazy, and dancing disposition.  She has held her brother’s hand all through wizarding at Harry Potter World in Orlando, has thrown the first pitch at Airline High School’s softball game, and has raced in a car simulator at the Bossier sheriff’s station. 

Then there is our everyday life which is filled with friends and family along with her competitive spirit during favorite card and dice games such as Qwixx. 
 A regular week involves mostly school and her greatest passion, swimming, which is where our family motto has evolved:  Just Keep Swimming

The shadow of DIPG hangs over our family, but Emilie’s name means “rival,” making her a fighter who will continue to fight.  We have all been forever changed by the events in this past year, and we keep moving forward with an additional reminder to “Never Tell Us The Odds” and to come out the other side swinging."  


The Gibsons are taking life one day at a time and making the best of each moment.  Having been through a very similar situation with my own family,  I know the financial struggle that can come during a time like this.  We want to try and help!  I asked them which necklace they would like for me to design for them, and they chose Emilie's motto "Just Keep Swimming".


This necklace has recently been added to the shop and is available for PREORDER.  From now until June 18th half of all proceeds from not only this necklace, but ALL online sales will be donated to the Gibson family to help with their expenses as they travel back in forth from Louisiana to California.  Please consider purchasing a necklace and helping them!

Also, you can follow their journey on their Facebook page, "Friends of Emilie Gibson".  If you would like to further support them, you can visit their Go Fund Me page.

They have also been inspired to create the NWLA Childhood Cancer Awareness page on Facebook to help other families traveling similar journeys to not feel so alone.  

Thank you so much for your support!  Please keep Emilie and her family in your prayers.




Tuesday, March 14, 2017

On March 21, we will celebrate World Down Syndrome Day.  This is a day to create global awareness for people who rock an extra chromosome.  We want to show the world how valuable their lives are and how they are more alike than different!

Throughout our journey with Deacon, we have met some amazing people and families in the Down Syndrome community.  One of those families is the Job family.  This family has recently begun the process of adopting a little girl from China with DS.  I reached out to Sasha and asked her to share her story.  Here's what she had to say:

"We're the Job family - mom, dad, Annicka, Jericho, Liam, and Zoey!  A little bit about us:  we're a little crazy, we laugh a lot, and we love big!  

In January 2010 Zoey (our fourth biological child) entered the world, complete with a broken heart and an extra chromosome.  (She had a congenital heart defect and has Down syndrome.)  Parenting her has been life changing in ways we never could have imagined!  We get to see the world through her eyes, and let me tell you - the view is amazing!  Having a child with Down syndrome has opened our eyes and our hearts ... it's been an absolute blessing!



For years we have talked about adoption, always thinking it would be a part of our lives "some day".  That day came sooner than expected, when one day in November I saw sweet "Angel" on Reece's Rainbow ...  I can't quite explain it, but I knew immediately that I was her mama!



"Angel" (or "Little sister", as we affectionately call her - for now) also has Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect!



It has been incredible to see God's hand over this journey.  He was working on this before we realized, but looking back we can see it.  He put some pieces together ahead of time.  He opened eyes and hearts.  He provided peace as we grappled with how we would come up with the finances to bring our girl home to us, her family!  



It was a leap of faith, we knew we needed to just jump, so we did!  What a beautiful journey it has become, already we have been blown away with support of all kinds!  Prayers lifted for us, many rallying behind us with love and excitement, participation in our fundraisers, monetary donations!  We are climbing that mountain.  The big, scary financial mountain!  There will be stumbles, perhaps even falls - but we're halfway and that's astounding!  We still don't know how all the finances are going to come together, but we are trusting God that everything will fall into place!"

The Job family has been working very hard putting together online auctions and other fundraisers to help bring their daughter home.  This month we would like to support them and try to help lift some of that financial burden. We have just added this "Be the Change You Wish to See in the World." necklace to the shop and from now til the end of March, half of the proceeds from this necklace will be donated to the Jobs. 



This family truly is being the change, and you can too by supporting them! So head on over now and get yours!

You can also visit their daughter's page on Reece's Rainbow to find out more and donate extra.  Thank you so much for your support!!



Monday, February 6, 2017

Meet the Forbes

This month I am happy to announce that we are supporting Jacob and Allison Forbes as they begin growing their family through adoption.  

Allison reached out to me through a mutual friend, and here is what she had to say...
"During engagement and the early parts of our marriage, Jacob and I loved dreaming of our future together. We talked of adventures, shared hopes and dreams, and the desire to start a family someday. Adoption was always on our radar but we expected that we would have biological children first. In the midst of our fertility struggles, we talked more seriously about adoption and God shifted our hearts towards it more and more. I realized that my deep desire was to be a mother and that pregnancy wasn’t the only way for that to be possible. We prayed, had a lot of conversations, sought wise council and did a bunch of research and came to the decision to pursue adoption right now. We are excited about this opportunity and feel that adoption reflects the Gospel in a uniquely beautiful way. We are pursuing an infant, domestic adoption through Faithful Adoption Consultants. We are open to a little boy or girl and it will be so fun to see what God blesses us with! Through this whole process, we are seeking to trust the Lord fully with all of the pieces and we cling to the promises in these verses:
Psalm 37:3-7 "Trust in the Lord, and do good, dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him."

You can help this sweet couple by purchasing the "Delight yourself in The Lord" necklace pictured below.  



Half of the proceeds from this necklace will be donated to the Forbes to help with their remaining $10,000 in adoption fees.  Visit the shop to purchase yours and help support this family!

You can read more about Jacob and Allison by visiting their blogAlso, if you would like to make additional donations, please visit their YouCaring fundraising page.

Thank you so much for your support!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Waiting for Willow

This month I would like to introduce you to the Richardson Family.
 
I connected with Brooke first through an online support group for parents of children with Down Syndrome and then through Instagram.  We realized we had lots in common and only lived about three hours apart.  Her family is in the process of adopting a little girl from China with Down Syndrome, and we want to help!  This month half of the proceeds from all of our sales will be going to this sweet family to help them bring their daughter, Willow, home.  I have asked Brooke to share her story with you, and this is what she had to say...

"Hi. This is the Richardson crew and counting. My name is Brooke and my husband’s name is Tyler.  We have 3 childrenAiden (7) Cooper (5) and Libby (2) and we live in our favorite city everMcKinney, TX.   We are in the process of adopting a little girl from China and are hoping we can wrap our arms around her sometime in March or April of 2017.  The wait has been tough but she is so incredibly worth it! 

My husband and I prayed about adoption for a while and then God really laid it upon our hearts to adopt a child with special needs.  More specificallydown syndrome. We knew how great the need was in China for children with downsyndrome and we felt confident God was leading us in that direction.  

Back up to January of this year when God had pressed upon my heart the name Willow.  I quickly looked up a Willow tree to see what the meaning was. 

 First off, its native to China but they are found in many other regions of the world today (including the United States).  They are very feminine, pretty and most of all they are extremely strong as they can withstand harsh weather conditions.  The branches can bend a great deal and not break.  After reading this, I knew our daughters name would be Willow.  It was perfect.  A beautiful little girl, from China coming to her forever home in the States but leaving everything she has ever known and going through major changes and trauma in order to find her forever family.  It would most likely be hard on her but she would be strong as she has already been so brave in the life she has lived so far. 

From then on, I dreamed of Willow and thought about her non-stop.  I wondered how old she was or if she was even born yet. SO many thoughts about her wondered through my head.  

On July 19, 2016, I was just scrolling through facebook one day and I saw the sweetest little face of girl who looked so incredibly familiar.  In China, they did not refer to her as Willow but as soon as I saw herI knew.  I will never forget the exact feeling I had when I saw her first picture.  Overwhelmed. Speechless. Tears. Excitement. Nerves.  She was Willow! That was her! I could feel it so deep inside that she was our daughter.  I didnt even realize it when I saw her picture, but I learned that she did have down syndrome.  The more and more I learned about her, the more I fell in love. She is 2.5 years old although looks much younger. It wasnt so simple though to just say Yes right then.  

My husband Tyler was about to leave on a medical mission trip to Zambia, Africa for a couple weeks so I knew we had to wait till he returned to really discuss and pray about her.  This was our first adoption and we did not have first hand experiencewith down syndrome so at this point we were still a little nervous.  We still are nervous in some regard,saying yes to adoption alone is a huge leap of faith.  There are a lot of unknowns.  With that said though, we are so incredibly confident that Willow is ours and we are already bursting out the seams with Joy!
 
Less than a week after Tyler returned home, we sent our Letter of Intent in for her and began our homestudy.  We did everything as quickly as possible and are ecstatic to have our Dossier (all of our adoption paperwork) sent to China. Thats such a huge step to get through.  Most of what we can control on our end is over.  Now we just pray for the process to keep moving along as quickly and as smoothly as possible.  We know God is in Control and we trust him through every step of the way.  There have been bumps but they just keep making us stronger and more willing to work harder to bring her to her forever family. She deserves to have all the love in the world from a family who will be by her side always. 

Our family and friends have been an incredible support system as well. To others whom barely know us, Im speechless by your generosity and encouragement as well. Thank you!  What a blessing social media has been to connect us with other families whom have walked these steps before us.  We are so grateful for everyone praying for our family. The encouragement and prayers are definitely carrying us through.  

To follow more of our journey you can do so at www.lovetherichardsonlife@blogspot.com "

If you would like to be a part of helping this family bring their daughter home, please visit our shop   We typically only keep available items in stock, but for a short time, we have listed the majority of our necklace designs and are taking PREORDERS.  These items will ship on or before December 17th. 
 
Our necklaces make great inspirational gifts, and what better way to Christmas shop than to make purchases with a purpose! 

 

Merry Christmas, Friends!

(**Brooke's local friends and family are invited to come shop her home show on December 11th from 2-4.)





Thursday, September 8, 2016

Meet the Glasgows

One of the reasons I love social media is the friends that I have made from all over the country.  When you have a child with special needs, having an online community full of people who "get it" makes you feel like you are not alone.  I have met so many Moms that have children with Down Syndrome through Instagram, and all of them are amazing.  I am so thankful for the relationships we have developed as a result of our precious children.  One of those friends is Mollie Glasgow.  Mollie is the mother of three beautiful girls and has a precious son named Fox waiting for her in China.


If you follow us on Instagram you have seen his sweet face come across our feed.  This month we want to help them raise the remaining funds needed bring Little Fox home.  I asked Mollie to share some of her story, and this is what she had to say...

"We are the Glasgows! Jarrod, Mollie, Willow, Wren, and Pippa. We are in the process of adopting our son, Fox, from China. Adoption has always been something our family has been drawn to. After the birth of our second daughter, Wren, who was born with Down Syndrome, we felt God specifically calling us to adopt a child with special needs. In many other countries, children who are classified as “special needs” are often abandoned, neglected, and even left to die, simply for having what are considered to be less-than-ideal health conditions.

We began the adoption process in November of 2015. At that time, we had a 7 month old baby, debt from medical bills, and zero extra room at our house. A crazy time to begin the adopting process right!?! BUT we did not choose to adopt because the timing was perfect, or because we were financially prepared... we chose to adopt because God’s calling on our lives felt urgent. God was calling us to trust His plan for our family and join Him on an incredible and scary journey. We have had zero regret since saying yes to adoption.

Fox was brought into our lives through a crazy series of events. From the first time we saw his face and heard his story, we felt God speaking to us that this child is SO WORTHY. Fox was born with a complex heart condition and has had to fight so many battles, including two open heart surgeries, in his short two years of life. Never before have I known someone more worthy of life. More worthy to be loved. More worthy to have a family. More worthy to have someone fight for him. More worthy of happiness. Fox is WORTHY and wanted. 


We feel incredibly honored to be Fox's forever family. We are going to do everything in our power to give him the life he deserves."

Every child is worthy of love and worthy of a family.  Let's help Fox get to his!  You can do so by purchasing a "Worthy" necklace. They are $25 and will ship within 3 weeks of purchase.  Half of the proceeds from this necklace will go to the Glasgow family.  They will be traveling to China in the next few months, and these funds will help with their remaining adoption feesClick here to visit our shop and purchase yours.  




You can also visit www.adoptinglittleglo.com for more information and a link to donate more if you wish to do so.  

Thank you, and God bless!! 
Andrea

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Dickey Family Fundraiser

This month, we are selling "He Makes All Things New" t-shirts to support the Dickey family. 


We knew that Amanda and her family had been through a lot this year, so we reached out and asked her to share their story.  Here is what she had to say...

"JC and I met the summer of 2001, I had just graduated high school and he had just finished his 1st year of college at LA Tech.  Neither of us were looking for a relationship at the time, but things fell into place and we have been together ever since.  Early on in our relationship we discussed our desire to adopt.  Once we were married, in 2003, the desire grew stronger as we struggled for over 2 years with infertility.  Little did we know what the Lord would have in store for us at that time.  After struggling with infertility we were finally blessed with our 1st child, John, who just turned 9 and shortly after came our daughter, Ava, who is 6.  Although our family seemed complete, we still had a desire to adopt, although we didn’t know how or what that would look like for our family.  We began to pray about this decision and ask God for his guidance.  Shortly after, God began to lead me to the idea of fostering.  I didn’t tell JC about it for a while because I thought he would shoot it down.  So, one day I worked up the courage and told him how I felt and to my surprise he was completely on the same page!  We began taking classes and about a year later had our 1st placement!  Even though it is tough at times, fostering is an amazing ministry for our family. 

As if beginning this new journey in our lives wasn’t difficult enough, the Lord began testing us.  In November 2015 JC’s dad was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. He began chemo and made many trips to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL.  He fought hard!  Then, in April 2016 we received one of the most devastating phone calls, our home was on fire!  We had just left to go to work. By the time we returned, it was in flames. Even though that was a horrific day, the Lord showed Himself faithful to us! We ended up losing about 95% of the content of our home, however, one thing remained intact, a picture that my daughter and I made about a week before that read, “You make all things new.” Rev. 21:5 and it was hanging in the kitchen, which was the beginning source of the fire.  I had no idea at the time why that verse stood out to me.  Now, looking back, it is perfectly clear!  Out of complete devastation and disaster the Lord IS making things new!  JC’s dad passed away shortly after the fire and he now has a new body in Christ, our home is being rebuilt, and our family is stronger."



Wow.  We greatly admire this family's strength and faith during such difficult times.  Thank goodness He really does make all things new! 

The Dickey's have dedicated their lives to helping others, and we want to give back to them.  The proceeds from the sale of this shirt will go towards helping them as they work to rebuild their home.  Please click here  or select shop in the menu above and purchase yours and support this family! 



**Also, please contact us at Contact@bethelightproject.com if you would like to make additional donations to this family.  Thank you!!**