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For Elizabeth and Luke

Friends.  Tonight I’m sharing someone so dear to my heart with you.  I’m inviting her into this space to tell her story, but first I’m putting down lots of pillows and blankets and asking you to come and sit and listen with open hearts and minds. 

I don’t know that I can type an intro that is worthy of the love behind my friend, Elizabeth.  The way she loves her children is magic, but the way she loves the world around her makes me want to be a better person every day.

I met Elizabeth through my blog.  I don’t even remember exactly how it happened, but sometime after Nella was born, someone connected the two of us, we started e-mailing which then led to texting and phone calls, and now here we are a few years later, good friends.  To me Elizabeth is defined by her heart, the way she loves her children, her faith, her wit, her brilliant medical advice, her passion for orchestra, good yarn, teaching Sunday school and exploring the world around her with an open mind.  She also happens to be the mother of five children–one with CP, one with Down syndrome–and she’s been fighting breast cancer for five years.  Five years of surgeries, radiation and chemo. 

I asked Elizabeth last week if she’d be interested in sharing her story here.  October is both breast cancer and Down syndrome awareness month, and I knew if anyone could beautifully represent both of these, it was Elizabeth.  She lives both of them every day.

There’s another thing about Elizabeth that’s important to know.  She is a woman of strong faith.  She talks about it a lot, she loves her church, she breathes her faith into every e-mail, every conversation.  In fact, I was certain I wasn’t “faithy” enough to be her friend at first and thought maybe we wouldn’t be the best match (my judging, not hers).  But she never treated me like I needed to be saved.  Ever.  She knew we shared the same God, and she respected me and my differences.  I told Elizabeth recently that she’s a big part of my faith journey.  She’s loved me through every bit of it, always treating me like my truth was just as right as hers even though it was different.  That acceptance, that spiritual equality, that love–it’s restored a lot of my belief in church. 

I’ll stop rambling because Elizabeth’s words are more important here.  But more than that, I’ve asked her to pick a child who needs help and told her I’d ask you all to be a part of this.  You see, anyone who knows Elizabeth knows that one of the ways she’s made it through the past five years is by helping others–specifically children with Down syndrome who need families to adopt them.  So you’ll meet Luke at the end of this post.  He will melt you.  We can help bring him home.

The story of my friend Elizabeth with the Very Big Heart:

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My name is Elizabeth, I am a 47 year old wife, mama, fiber artist and retired MD living in North Carolina. The current chapter of my story sort of started when we lost our fifth child, William, about seven years ago. William had Down syndrome, orthopedic issues, prematurity, a precipitous, complicated breech delivery, and we never even got to bring him home.

We were beyond joyful when we got pregnant again the next year. In early ultrasounds we saw some signs of Down Syndrome. I was totally fine with that. We had lost a son, and God was giving us another one. I just wanted a baby we could keep, and hold, and love, and bring home to our other children. We named him George and did everything possible to keep him (and me) healthy as long as possible. The preterm labor got serious at 30 weeks but we hung in there until he stopped thriving just past 34 weeks. Because our fourth child has CP and a metabolic disorder, I was pretty desperate to avoid a C section (how do you care for a non-ambulatory tube fed child on oxygen and monitors after a C section???) so we had a long talk about risks and benefits and decided to try an induction. We had a few scary moments, but our OB never left my side for 15 hours and we had George a little after midnight on December 19, 2007. He did indeed have Down syndrome, and we immediately fell in love with our son.

George was small, weak, jaundiced, unable to figure out how to suck swallow and breathe at the same time, and we all thought he was the most amazingly wonderful baby EVER. There were some really tough times. For example, I wanted more than anything to be able to breastfeed him. I had nursed all my others at least through toddlerhood, several well into preschoolhood. George deserved that, too. The lactation consultants all gave up. But we found a speech therapist who specializes in infant oral motor issues, and after months of pumping, he finally figured it out. By 6 months of age he was exclusively breastfed and gaining weight beautifully. I sure was tired, though. Four other children, including one who is VERY medically fragile and complex, homeschooling, way too many outside activities, other challenges too numerous to mention, and a husband who worked a zillion hours a week… it was hard. But we all loved George to the moon and back.

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People would ask me why I thought God would give our family such challenges, two handicapped children, losing William… and I was never sure how to answer them. I have friends who are really smart about theological things. They know huge chunks of the Bible from memory. They can answer complicated life questions with passages from scripture and quotes from important thinkers. They can dissect doctrinal issues and defend their faith with confidence. Me, not so much.

I believe that God gave us all life as a gift to be loved and cherished. I believe that all sacraments give grace, and that participating in the Mass makes me happy. I believe in the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. And you know what? I believe that the rest of it is pretty much just details, and I figure that God can manage the details. I think that’s why I have been teaching second grade Sunday school for almost 20 years. In our church, second graders usually make their First Holy Communion. And to teach second grade, you don’t need to be able to explain complicated things, you must simply share the beauty of the sacraments, the joy of the Mass and the miracle of the Eucharist. That’s sufficient. I can do that. The hard and complicated parts? Just details.

Then our family’s life got even harder and more complicated. When George was eight months old, I was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma. Just two months after finally mastering breast feeding a baby with Down syndrome, I would have to have a mastectomy and a big axillary dissection. They gave me six weeks to heal from that (and yes, I managed to continue to nurse George on the other side for those six weeks) but then we had to wean over just a few days for chemotherapy. My biggest meltdown ever was in the baby formula aisle at Target. Here I was, after pumping for months, working so hard to get my premature baby with Down syndrome to nurse, and now I had metastatic cancer and just had a major surgery and was about to start chemotherapy and then radiation and I still had five children to take care of, two of whom had significant special needs… and now I had to wean my wonderful precious baby when I worked so hard to get him to nurse?

That’s when I came closest to questioning God about all of this. I knew deep in my heart that I had so much to be grateful for. I could spend all afternoon bragging about my sweet husband. And my children. I have five children, who even though they all love George best, really like each other and are kind to each other. We have excellent health insurance, the best specialists around, and family, neighborhood and church support beyond what anybody could hope for. But still…. I struggled with the whole thing. Why a mama who obviously had so much to do to take care of her children – all of them, not just the special needs ones – would get this terrible terminal disease?

So then I started chemo. And I never figured out the why part , but I have gotten some amazing glimpses into how all the rest of it is supposed to fit together. Like this: God TOTALLY knew what he was doing when he gave me a baby with Down syndrome and breast cancer at the same time. There is NO WAY I could have been chasing a typically developing toddler while on chemo. Well,I didn’t have to chase George. Despite all sorts of therapy, he really wasn’t interested in or able to go anywhere. So we snuggled and and sang songs and spent countless hours on the sofa just loving each other. A few months later when I had to have another mastectomy and a hysterectomy, so we knew that we’d be unable to have any more children, we realized how nice it was that our last baby would truly be a baby for a little bit longer than the others….. See, God knew that I needed a baby to get me through cancer, and not just a regular baby. I needed the world’s most amazing baby… a very happy child who made everyone around him happy. An easy baby who basically stayed where you put him. A good sleeper. A baby who brought joy to his older siblings when they were under great stress because of my cancer and my surgeries and chemo…. There is NO WAY this was some sort of random accident. Even if I’m not good at the details, God was. So he gave us George. (Who is still everybody’s favorite, by the way…)

One thing that happens when you have a baby with Down syndrome is that you sort of realize that the world would be a better place if every family got to experience the blessings that we have because of George. So I was thinking about that one night, and talking to another blogging friend, and learned about Reece’s Rainbow.

That’s about when I started blogging. The basic concept was that I was blessed with this HUGE support system of family and friends who were all afraid to call me on the phone to see how I was doing lest they perhaps wake me or George up from a nap. We thought that if I blogged about this cancer journey, everyone could stay up to date, and besides, it would be a record of our family’s story for my husband and children for the future. Little did I know that my blog would connect me with the most amazing mamas ever…. some T 21 club families, some faith-filled homeschooling mothers-of-many, some ladies who are as passionate about spinning and knitting and fiber arts as I am…

But anyway, back to the story. One thing that happens when you have a baby with Down syndrome is that you sort of realize that the world would be a better place if every family got to experience the blessings that we have because of George. So I was thinking about that one night, and talking to another blogging friend, and learned about Reece’s Rainbow.   Reece’s Rainbow is a non-profit organization that finds families for international orphans with Down Syndrome and other disabilities. In many other countries, when a family has a child with Down syndrome, they are strongly encouraged – some say forced – to never bring their baby home, but to give the baby up, to put them in an institution. And this institutional life, in many cases, is very brief and very grim. Reece’s Rainbow also helps with advocacy and fundraising for families who are trying to adopt children with Down syndrome. I was amazed at what a perfect idea this is! Only certain families get to have a baby with Down syndrome, and this isn’t fair. So Reece’s Rainbow fixes this by matching up families with children. And then, not every family is ready to adopt a child with DS, or maybe they just can’t, for whatever reason. That’s not fair, either. So Reece’s Rainbow helps them by letting everyone participate in saving these lives, by advocating, or praying, or contributing financially.  No exclusions.

We obviously can’t adopt. I would give anything to welcome more babies with Down syndrome into our family, but these children need a mama without metastatic cancer. There are, however, healthy mamas with so much love in their hearts who don’t have the spare cash to fund an adoption. So it’s time to confess about my secret. We call it the DeHority Distraction principle. Late at night, when I am feeling really bad, or scared, or worried, like when they have to cancel my chemotherapy because my white blood cell counts are going down, I get on the Internet and go on the Reece’s Rainbow website and find beautiful children. Some already have families working to save their lives, some without families yet. And then, after reading about them, saying a prayer for their health and safety, and learning about their family if they have one, I anonymously make just a little donation into those children’s sponsorship accounts. It’s especially fun when they have a family trying so hard to raise money to rescue them, and all of a sudden this cash appears in the account. So they post about it on their blog or on Facebook, and often it inspires other people to contribute, and instead of watching my numbers go down, I can watch beautiful children’s numbers go up.

This is Luke.  He is currently living in an orphanage in Asia.  He has been matched with a wonderful loving family, waiting to raise the funds to bring him home.  We’d love your help in bringing this beautiful boy home to his family sooner.  You can read more about Luke and donate to Luke’s fund here.  Can you help?  Can you give even just a little bit or share Luke with others who might be able to give?

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I want to hug him.  I want to tell him that soon, soon, he will have a mommy and a daddy and a place to call home.  I want to watch from the sidelines when this boy is held in the arms of his family and finally brought home to where he will be loved and nurtured for the rest of his life.  Our family is making a donation to support Luke, and I hope you will consider giving anything you can to bring him one step closer to home.

Elizabeth is one day past chemo.  I know what that means.  She’s waiting and watching for numbers to go up, up, up while she rests. 

As always, thank you.  Thank you for being a part of this space.  For listening and contributing and caring.

Love to you all tonight.
And Elizabeth.  I know you are reading.  I love you so.

Comments

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  1. I “met” Elizabeth years ago through a Homeschooling and Down Syndrome group. She is one of the strongest people I know…thanks for sharing your space with her today. sending love and healing energy, and many prayers her way.

  2. Thank you for sharing Elizabeth’s story and for openly letting her share her faith (which I share–it’s hard for me to stifle something so central to who I am–and I let it ooze out of me and season (not dump!) salt on my life and my struggles). Praying for this family and for the precious boy!

  3. Beautiful.

    A beautiful post from a beautiful soul.

  4. Xoxo

  5. Thank you. Quite possibly my most favorite post on your entire blog. Wow.

  6. Oh goodness, this post… this beautiful mama… I have tears. Elizabeth, thank you for your heart for your family and for these children. Thank you for connecting and caring and continuing on to share your story. It touched me deeply. Lifting you, your family and these precious kiddos up in prayer tonight!
    Thank you!! :)

  7. Oh how I love this post. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this beautiful woman with us. I found myself tearing up through out the whole thing. I absolutely love children with special needs. One of my bridesmaids has Down Syndrome and she is an absolute delight to be around. I love her more than I can express.

    The cancer side of this also made me want to burst out into tears or reach through the screen and hug this sweet woman. My husband has brain cancer and he is going through chemo and has finished radiation. I am scared to death of the possibilities, but I too put my faith in God. I know He is watching over us. I know that my husband and I are going through this trial for some reason.

    Thank you again.

    http://makingmemoriesofus2012.blogspot.com/

  8. Thank you for sharing Elizabeth with us, such a beautiful story.

  9. I rarely read any blogs in my feed inbox anymore, but I found myself reading this one (now I know why) and ended up crying. I keep feeling a spiritual nudge, hearing a sacred echo to foster/adopt (my husband has mentioned it, too). I’m so thankful for Elizabeth’s comforting words, which seem to ease the many fears that I’ve been harboring. …a beautiful post. Thank you.

  10. What a post. Elizabeth, I will be praying for your continued strength and health. My family will be giving to help that sweet boy get home!

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  12. Amazing, simply amazing! A little over a year after I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl with Down Syndrome, and I have read so many inspiring stories. You have inspired me! Thank you!!! Elizabeth and Kelle you are both very special woman!!!!

  13. Thank you Elizabeth for sharing your beautiful story. My Natasha (Carlene on RR) and your George share the same birthdate but Natasha was born 2 years earlier. I have been feeling so sorry for myself lately and wondering why on earth God would put me on a journey to adopt a sweet little girl from Russia only to fail and have her grow up in an institution instead. So I appreciate you sharing your story and trials to help me remember to press through my pain and be grateful for all God has given me. I am looking forward to the day when I get to figure out the rest of our story. I am praying for you as you continue to fight your cancer.

  14. Wow, what an amazing story she has. I love her perspective and her love for being a Mommy. The world needs more people like her. I’m so inspired to love my kids even more and to enjoy everyday, after reading this!

  15. Thank you for sharing. Looking through the pictures of all the children on RR, I can’t help but cry. These kids….it breaks my heart! My Aunt has DS and has taught me so much about life, and imagining any of these kids without a family and a place to call home is just heartbreaking. Praying for all these kids, Luke, Elizabeth and her family tonight.

  16. We love you Elizabeth! We love your faith and your friendship. We pray for you and your precious family.

    We are another RR family, Katie and Paul, trying desperately to bring home our “Rose” from Latin Anerica. Elizabeth has blessed us and so many other adoptive families!

  17. What an amazing woman you are Elizabeth. Praying for you!

  18. Wow. Elizabeth, you are one incredible woman. I’ve been looking at Reece’s Rainbow and can’t help but keep asking myself… where are all these children’s mothers and fathers, uncles and aunts, grandmas and grandpas? I want to scoop them up and take all of them into my home! My heart is breaking just looking at their pictures and reading their stories.

  19. I loved reading this post! I also have five children, my fourth has Ds and life can be tough sometimes. But what I loved reading the most was about her faith. I have been given many gifts from above, but still,my greatest gift by far is my Catholic faith. I love being Catholic and receiving sanctifying grace through the sacraments. Thank you for sharing your story, Elizabeth.

  20. Kelle – Thank you for sharing your space with Elizabeth.

    Elizabeth – I love your perspective, your heart, your words. Praying for you – because every prayer counts – and for all the other children. Thank you for connecting us with a wonderful organization that supports the concept that everyone deserves to be loved and nurtured.

  21. We adopted our daughter with cerebral palsy about 19 months ago through Reece’s Rainbiw from Ukraine. She is 5.5 years old and she has changed the life of every person who meets her!! I love that they advocate for children with so many special needs, changing the world one child at a time!!

  22. That should say “she was 5.5″ Now she is seven and has made amazing strides physically and emotionally from having proper care and the love of a family!!

  23. What an amazing and inspirational woman. Thanks so much for sharing.

  24. Thank you for your blog, and for this story. We’ve been praying for two other beautiful Reece’s Rainbow children to come home too! Now we can pray for Luke too. And, Elizabeth—I’m proud of you. Very proud. :)

  25. God bless you Elizabeth. You are a beautiful person and you have such love and beauty in your life. I especially love that you recognize the gifts you have in your children. Your passion and your devotion move me beyond words.
    Kelle, I love your blog so much. I love “meeting” the most amazing people you share with us and I love watching your journey through life. God bless you to.

  26. Kelle, I love that you’ve become friends with someone who was more “faithy” than you. I’ll be frank in saying that I’m often too scared to get to know “churchy” people because I’m afraid of being judged, but I guess I’m judging just as much and probably missing out on some great people.
    And Elizabeth, your story and faith are beautiful. Even through your writing your love of God and the sacraments comes across as just joy filled. It’s lovely. Blessings and best wishes to you, your family and little Luke.

  27. This makes my heart happy. Shortly after my son with DS was born I found out about Reece’s Rainbow and fell in love with the charity. And when my beloved boy died at age three, we asked everyone to donate to Reece’s Rainbow in his memory. The little boy we were helping to fund shared his name, Jameson, only spelled differently. But he is in Russia, so his funds have now gone to help other kids. I just know my Angel J is looking down on this little Jamison and we are praying for him and hoping for him.

    Elizabeth, you sound like an amazing person and I’m so glad I got a chance to read about you. Thanks for sharing your life with us.
    -Meghan

  28. Thanks for this amazing story and for the opportunity to pay it forward for a precious child. Donation made. Hope it encourages Elizabeth in her fight, and precious Luke and his new family.

  29. We adopted from Reece’s Rainbow, the two most wonderful children who have taught us more about love and God than anyone prior. We are blessed by Reece’s Rainbow, forever.

    Love you Kel!

    xo,

    Amy

  30. Welp, crying at my desk. Elizabeth, you are phenomenal and such an inspiration. Sending warm thoughts to darling Luke and hoping he will be home with his parents soon — off to donate.

  31. There are so many bad and negative things that get flaunted and attention in this world. I just love it when people highlight amazing people and the things they are doing! So much respect for the both of you! Thank you for sharing!

  32. What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing Elizabeth, George, and her sweetness with all of us. The world could also use more people like Elizabeth, with a big heart and more love to share. Praying God’s most wonderful blessings for Elizabeth, her health, and her family. Also, for the precious angel that she shared with us. A home full of love is waiting for him.

  33. I am a volunteer with Reece’s Rainbow, and this just fills my heart to bursting! Thank you SO much for blogging about this awesome organization and sharing Elizabeth’s wonderful story. What a lady!

  34. This is truly beautiful and inspiring. I have been feeling led to adopt from Reece’s Rainbow, and have been praying about it. I don’t know what God’s timing is , maybe were not quite ready yet ,but my heart is open to it. Can anyone maybe give me some advice on how one gets started with the process?

  35. Kelle, we found Reece’s Rainbow through your blog in February of last year. We brought home our daughter in January. Just turned in paperwork to start adoption #2. We wouldn’t have done it without your help! Keep up the good work!!

  36. Beautiful – I so resonate with Elizabeth’s faith! I love leaving the details to God :) So happy and sobered and awed to hear Elizabeth’s story. Love to you and your home from Michigan!

  37. Thanks for sharing this amazing story. I love how Elizabeth finds the good in the bad because that is just what God does, turns beauty for ashes. Many prayers for her. I have been a part of a few adoptions with friends, my best friend just adopted twin girls from Africa. I am honored to be a part of Lukes adoption too. My heart was touched and I donated. Luke I pray you may be with your forever family so very soon!

  38. Thanks, Kelle, for introducing us to this wonderful mom. As a grandmother of a beautiful five-year-old boy with DS, I am honored to make a small contribution to help get Luke home.
    Blessings and prayers for Elizabeth and her family. What an inspiration she is to us all!
    Love to your family as well.
    Judy

  39. We are leaving for Eastern Europe next week to adopt our little guy with Down syndrome (through RR). Thank you so much for this post! Exposure is key!

  40. Thank you Kelle for sharing Elizabeth’s story and for advocating for Luke!! Thank you thank you!!

  41. Oh how I love this!!! Elizabeth – you are blessing sooo many families and it means sooo much – as I can say from experience, as we are just finishing up our adoption of our beautiful Pipsqueak from Latvia, who we found on Reece’s Rainbow :) Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

    Kelle – I haven’t been by to read for ages – been a little busy with our new 3 year old 😉 But can I just say how beautiful your kids are – Nella has grown up sooo much since I last visited your blog – she and Lanie and your new baby (who isn’t so new anymore) are gorgeous!!!

  42. Hoping every little bit helps, because every little child deserves a loving family. Thank you for highlighting such worthy people and causes. Elizabeth’s story is inspiring.

  43. Thank you for sharing this story.

  44. Elizabeth-I am praying for you and your family as you walk through this journey that you are traveling. You are amazing and brave and inspiring. Thank you for your selfless heart and for being the hands and feet of Jesus to the precious children that you are advocating for. I have been reading Kelle’s blog for a long time, but this is the first time that I have left a comment. My husband and I were blessed to have a son Asa, born in 11/09 with Down syndrome. Before he was born, a friend of ours from church that also has a son with DS, shared with us that she and her husband were in the process of adopting a little girl with DS from Russia through Reece’s Rainbow. At the time, I remember thinking “Wow, that is a lot to take on!” Very soon after that conversation we learned that it was very likely that the baby that I was carrying would be born with DS. We had a great deal of peace about it and visited the RR website to help our children to see how precious the faces of DS are. At the time we did not imagine that we too would also become parents to another precious child with DS via adoption with help from Reece’s Rainbow! But God had other plans! When our son Asa was about a year old we made the decision to adopt a beautiful little boy from China with DS. Although we didn’t find him on RR, they happily set up a fund for him to help us raise money for the cost of the adoption and we traveled a year later to bring him home! His name is Abel and he is a loving and delightful little boy. He and Asa are brothers and best friends, brought together through the blessing of adoption and we are so grateful to have the pleasure of calling these two T21 dynamos our sons!
    Kelle-Thank you for your inspirational writing and for sharing Elizabeth with us! Sorry for the long message! Blessings!
    Nikole

  45. Just visited the Reece’s Rainbow site…all those beautiful children (I was looking at the other angels too). My God! I want to love and hug them all. You know, I sometimes feel that I can hardly handle the two I have now but I feel absolutely called to adopt one of these children. I wonder if finding your blog, Kelle, is part of that journey. We have the resources, the medical knowledge and love in abundance. My husband has asked that I give him a few years after the birth of our son and I’m counting the days.
    (It’s monicapeeper posting from my phone)

  46. What an amazing person. I am so glad you have her for a friend.

  47. In April of this year my mom died of a sudden heart attack. Within a month I was pregnant with my first baby. In the end of September we found out we’re having a precious baby girl, and a week later we found out my mother-in-law has breast cancer. We feel so extremely fortunate to have this little girl’s life to look forward to with everything else that is going on, and I know she’s giving my mother-in-law the drive and will to beat this thing. Whenever there is cancer in a family there should also be a baby. That’s what I get from this!

  48. Elizabeth – you are an amazing person!! Thoughts and prayers for your recovery.

  49. Elizabeth seems like an amazing person. Reece’s Rainbow has done a great job informing the world about these Lost kids and saving children. I pray for Elizabeth to be healthy and Luke to be with his forever family soon! I think this Sunday is “Orphan Sunday” I will be praying for Luke and all children who need loving families to be adopted and loved. Thank you for sharing this information.

  50. Elizabeth seems like an amazing person. Reece’s Rainbow has done a great job informing the world about these Lost kids and saving children. I pray for Elizabeth to be healthy and Luke to be with his forever family soon! I think this Sunday is “Orphan Sunday” I will be praying for Luke and all children who need loving families to be adopted and loved. Thank you for sharing this information.

  51. Praying for Elizabeth and Luke…and the writer of the rather incoherent rambling comments regarding RR.

    Happy to donate and learn about this wonderful organization!

  52. Wow, Elisabeth you are amazing and have such a heart. So sorry that you have had to battle this cancer. Cancer stinks and I wish we could all make it go away. When I had cancer…sarcoma’s in my leg…..we adopted a special needs little boy. Long story but never ever thought that would happen. We never know where our lies will take us, will we. I will be praying for you. ((((HUGS)))

  53. Just donated!

  54. Kelle-another awesome post as always!

    Elisabeth-I will be praying for you and your family!

    I do not have much but I made a donation after reading your post, I hope Luke gets home to his new family as soon as possible. *hugs*

  55. I wish you all the best Elizabeth. What an inspirational and beautiful post. I will donate too.

  56. I have been having a tough time lately health wise and this just filled my heart with so much love and so much hope.

  57. Wow. Just wow. What an amazing story Elizabeth has, as well as an amazing out look.
    We have three friends who have adopted through Reece’s Rainbow. It is an exceptional program, well worth our support.
    xo
    lynn

  58. Beautiful – sitting here in tears. xoxo

  59. I am sitting here in tears and in awe of this amazing woman, Elizabeth. Thank you both for sharing.

  60. Beautiful- but my very favorite words are these, “and instead of watching my numbers go down, I can watch beautiful children’s numbers go up.” If only we could all look at the good we can be part of in others instead of focusing on the hard stuff with us.

    So glad to ‘meet’ you.

  61. I have been reading your blog for years, ever since (like so many) Nella’s birth story showed up on my Facebook newsfeed. This is the first time that I have commented, but I just had to this time. Thank you so much for sharing Elizabeth’s guest post and story! Just a few short sentences into her story, I discovered a kindred spirit! I, too, am a Catholic homeschool mother, and the way you described her at the beginning is the way I would hope others would describe me. My relationship with God is the most important thing in my life, and I love the blessings He has given me in my Faith and in the Church with every fiber of my being. Enough about me though!
    I wanted to comment because her amazing attitude and love reminded me so much of St. Therese of Lisieux. We love her so much that we named our daughter after her (Marie Therese). Anyway, she became a saint, not by doing grand, big things, but by embracing the small things in life. She loved the little joys and offered up the little trials so much that she became a saint. And she was not only a saint, but this mindset earned her the title of Doctor of the Church (not many Catholic saints have been given this title – it is a tremendous honor). If you haven’t already found it, I would suggest her book The Story of a Soul. I think that her mindset and beliefs most definitely fit in perfectly with this blog!
    Anyway, I wanted to pass along that suggestion, and again say thank you for sharing Elizabeth’s story. If Elizabeth is reading the comments on this, thank you so much for being such an inspiration and a kindred spirit to a complete stranger!

  62. Wow, completely amazing. Her outlook is simply remarkable to say the least, my heart and soul are inspired.

  63. What an amazing story and an amazing woman. Thank you so much for sharing, this is what is really important in life! I started reading your blog, Kelle, shortly after Nella was born when I was expecting my first. My eyes were opened to a whole new world and I realized the preciousness of each life, no matter who you are. God has given me a love of people with Down Syndrome, when I used to be fearful of what I didn’t know. Maybe someday I will get to adopt a baby with Down syndrome, the statistics I’ve heard are so horrible, and I am so thankful I’ve come across this amazing group of women that speak for these children. And thank you for being so open about your faith journey! God is going to keep showing Himself to you when you keep asking Him to.

  64. This is my favorite guest post you’ve ever had. Precious precious mama and family. And little Luke.

  65. Sooo beautiful. I don’t know why I read your blog when I’m at work. I’m about to lose it. Thank you for sharing difficult but beautiful things. It is a gift.

  66. Kelle – thank you for inviting Elizabeth to write this amazing guest post!

    Elizabeth – we are lifting you up in prayer. Thank you for sharing your journey!! Thank you for sharing sweet Luke!

    As a mom with 10 children, 5 who have Ds, 4 who were adopted through Reece’s Rainbow, we will be lifting Luke’s family up in prayer as they continue their hard work raising the funds needed to go get their son!

  67. Beautiful, beautiful and beautiful. What a moving and inspirational moment out of my day. My prayers are being sent your way and I’m visiting the website for Luke. (I’m a fiber artist too and was secretly hoping for a photo of your yarn! I know you get that. Us yarnies just get it.)
    Best wishes, love and prayers,
    Judy

  68. Thank you for this beautiful and inspiring post. It has truly touched my soul.

  69. I love earth angels like Elizabeth. I will certainly donate to help bring Luke home. Thanks for sharing friend.

  70. Wonderful story and pictures!

  71. This left tears in my eyes. I wish there were more people like you guys in this world.

  72. Thank you both of you – for sharing your hearts and encouraging me that even ‘small acts of kindness’ can change lives in big ways. I needed that encouragement today. Praying for you and your families!

  73. Thank you for sharing the story of such a strong Mom and advocate. I have the pleasure of having a brother who was adopted through Reeces Rainbow. He is such a joy and I cannot imagine our family gatherings without him.

  74. Thanks so much for sharing Elizabeth’s story. I had read about her years ago and lost the link to her blog. So glad to find her again.

  75. Thank you Kelle for sharing Elizabeth with us. After going to Luke’s page, then looking through the list of other DS babies in need of homes….it just broke my heart. If only more of us were in a position to bring those babies home. Makes me so sad.

  76. Thank you for sharing her story! As a special ed teacher I had the privilege of having a family with 6 adopted children with special needs. Haiti, Boston, and local children have been saved by this sweet family and there are so many more waiting for families to take them home. Wonderful post!

  77. Elizabeth, I love you and your story. I am
    always amazed when God puts one of his angels like YOU, here on earth. Sometimes when Life seems unbearable I want to ask, Why? But I’m realizing with time that I actually need to answer Why, not ask. Keep fighting that honest, beautiful, gorgeous fight. Your message is like GLITTER, baby. It sticks everywhere. I too want to make the world a softer, kinder place – for all kinds of different. I have two babes on the autism spectrum. Thanks for the inspiration to help me through this week!
    And Kelle- you are so good and amazing to use your platform for so much good.
    http://www.lifewithgreyson.blogspot.com

  78. I’m just… Really touched. And astounded by the Good of People.

    Feeling Fortunate to have connected, here. Gives me so much to think about and yes, makes me want to be a better person, too.

  79. Kelle, Kelle, Kelle. First Davion and now Luke. My heart is aching and breaking and I don’t know how or where to start. :o(

  80. This has me bawling… what a gorgeous post, lovely person.

    Thanks for sharing.

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