thank you. from the depths of my heart, thank you.

I am sobbing as I try to find the words to write this post. You know, the ugly cry. I don’t even know how to begin to thank you for partnering with me these past two days. What began as an idea to raise $1,400 for an incubator for my daughter’s orphanage exploded into something far bigger. As of this morning $8,000 had been raised and donations are still coming even after I shared that the incubator was fully funded. Wow.

I contacted Love Without Boundaries regarding where all the exceedingly abundant funds would be spent. We talked over many options and contacted my daughter’s orphanage. Last summer my friend Angie shared with me a photo of her daughter Emery. Since that moment little ones with cleft lips/cleft palates have had a piece of my heart that I can never get back. We are doing a special needs adoption and were open to so many different needs, including cleft lip/cleft palate.

So, I asked LWB if there was any work they were doing with cleft kids that we could help. Cleft lips and cleft palates are considered a birth defect. They are occur all over the globe. A cleft lip/palate is more than a cosmetic need. When a cleft is not repaired it affects the child’s ability to eat & grow. It affects speech.  And, obviously, they face challenges simply because we live in a world that places a crazy amount of weight on what “looks normal”.  Cleft kids often undergo numerous surgeries over the course of their lives. For those that don’t have a loving family to get them the medical treatment needed, surgery is not an option unless someone else intervenes. The surgeries these kids face are intense and highly painful. The recovery is hard and long. For kids in an orphanage, returning back to the orphanage after a surgery is a horrible option.

This is where Love Without Boundaries (and other non-profits) come in. LWB coordinates doctors & volunteers who travel and offer their time for the surgeries, but they also have a few “Healing Homes” where babies/children can come before surgery to get the nutrition and help needed to prepare for surgery. After the surgery they can return to the Healing Home where they get lots of personal care and attention while they recover and heal.

So guess what….that exceedingly abundant amount that you gave (and are continuing to give)….well it meant 9 kids have been sponsored for a full year. LWB is in China now doing a week of cleft repairs and 7 of “our kids” are having surgery THIS WEEK. That means because of your generosity, those 7 kids will return to the Healing Home to recover and all their complex medical and nutritional needs will be met over the course of the next year.

Want to meet “our kids”?
4.12myCLCPkids

Seriously, can you believe we get to be a part of their story?

You can read more details about each of them by clicking on their names below:

Asher

Bennett

Abby

Blaise

Emmerson

Jacob

Marieli

Christopher

(There is one more “Amy”, but I don’t have her link yet)

Asher had his surgery today. He is pretty swollen, but recovering well. You are a part of his healing care now!

Ashersurgery

Love Without Boundaries will be sending me updates on each of “our kids”. I think I will add a page on my blog dedicated to their stories over the next year so that those of you interested are able to follow along. This week Bennett, Abby, Blaise, Christopher, Jacob, Marieli will all be having surgery. You will be able to get updates and see their post-surgery pictures on the Love Without Boundaries Facebook page (click here to view it).

I am still sending out the prints. I will continue to do so for all donations sent in through this Friday. Once I figure out the best way to share updates on my blog, I’ll let you know that too. What a couple of days! In less than 48 hours we’ve changed the lives of some gorgeous kids and hopefully this will all lead to families adopting these little ones. Click here to read the post for more info on how and where to donate (scroll to the bottom).

Thank you….deep, deep, deep thank you.

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  • Nicole C - That is simply amazing what one person can do to help change the lives of others. What a great and inspiring thing you are doing and have done for these children. <3 much love

  • Erin - When I saw yesterday that the money had already been raised, I was overjoyed, but also disappointed that I couldn’t contribute to the incubator. I am so happy that I can now contribute to another cause with these children! I can’t wait to read their updates. Thank you so much for providing this opportunity for us!

  • Renae - Can we still donate? Where? Thanks Ashley! This is awesome…

  • Elizabeth Beattie - Crying! I can’t wait to donate on Friday!

  • inadvertent farmer - Crying happy tears at those helped…but my heart is so tugged by those not being reached yet.

    Ashley thank you for giving all of the chance to participate in this wonderful project. God bless you, Kim

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh my goodness. Crying happy, happy tears. My heavens. God is soooo good! All the time!

  • Candy - Simply beautiful!

  • Mary - Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You have made me cry many times in the last few days. Asher is from my daughter’s hometown, I run their foster care program. I love this boy like he was my own. Have I said thank you?

  • Leslie - Thanks for hosting this and thanks for your advocacy! I’m so glad to be able to be a part of it!

  • Emily - I haven’t had a chance to donate! I will, I’m just waiting for my husband to figure out if this charity is one that his company matches donations for – and what the protocol for getting that done is. Even if I don’t make your friday “deadline”, I am so glad that you’ve introduced us to this charity. Foster children have a place in my heart that feels so deep – I can’t even explain it. The opportunity to help out before we are able to open our home is tremendous and my heart swells. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Natalie - tears are flowing down my face as I write this. what has been done here is nothing short of a miracle. thank you for using your blog for good. not many are willing to do what you have done and now the lives of these beautiful children will be changed forever. thank you times a million.

  • Melinda T - Ashley-you’re one amazing woman! Its exciting to hear that you+us=we raised $8000! And that we’ll be able to make a difference! God is sooo good!

  • amy jupin - music.
    sweet music.
    what wonderful, goosebump making, tear inducing, smile bringing, news!!

  • Crinkled - Beautiful. Thank you for making this opportunity possible and for keeping us updated.

  • shelly coulter - I am a faithful reader that just got behind by a few days….and wow! You have changed the world through this for so many people….its really unfathomable and I am blown away. I love your crafts and great photography skills but your heart is what keeps me reading this lovely blog. Wow. So happy and reset and those pictures are beautiful. Thanks for spurring me on towards Christ and becomig more like Him!

  • Amanda - This is absolutely overwhelming and beautiful. I have been following your blog for a few weeks now and I am taken back on how much you have inspired my life. I am so moved with the LWB project! All these amazing and gorgeous little lives are so lucky to have been given a much needed voice by you.

  • Katie - So excited “our” money is going to something concrete. I love that we will be able to watch the amazing work the money will do! That little Blaise has just about stolen my heart along with all those other beautiful babies! And wow, look at Asher and the difference his surgery has made. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Anne - We brought home our little guy with repaired CL/CP a year ago June. I am teary, knowing personally how wonderful organizations are able to help and take care of these kids at a time most important when their parents cannot. While our boy still has a road of recovery, the progress he has been able to make because of the organizations who initially started his healing have been beyond helpful. What a blessing for these kids who are being helped!

  • Elena - Thank you so much for listening to your heart and helping the most needy in the world. I work/volunteer for LWB in the True Children’s Healing Home and am the mom to the most wonderful boy in the world from China who was born with cleft lip and palate. LWB Healing Homes offer warm, safe, nurturing homes for the most fragile of babies, especially babies born with clefts. I am so humbled by the generosity of your followers. Thank you to each and every one of them for reaching around the world and bring healing and hope to babies in need.

  • Kelly Rasmussen - this is amazing! what a awesome thing you + your readers have done.

  • Jeannette - Praise God!!! I just love to see you do what God calls you to do and the results He brings!!!

  • Lauren - Your little Song has filled the hearts of SO MANY, and will forever be in the hearts of these children. Bless you. I can’t help but wonder from your post… what happens after the children in this post heal? After that year? Do they then return to the orphanage? I hope that you can address this, as I’m sure others are wondering the same about their fate. Again, thank you for beginning this nd making SUCH an impact!

  • Miss Yvonne - One little idea from a good person has blossomed into an amazing gift for many.

    I haven’t donated yet, am I too late? I would love to contribute, even if it is just a little something.

  • Jenny - Simply and truly, amazing. Thank you for opening my eyes to this. I’m humbled to be a part of these sweet angels stories.

  • Jacci in Ohio - This was God, Ashley. I know you know that, too. But, I just wanted to say it. GOD DID THIS. And He used you. I’m crying with you. Because of your posts, I started following Love Without Boundaries on Facebook. SUCH precious, precious children. I am so thankful you chose to share this with us, to invite us to be a part of these little ones’ lives. Praise God.

  • Sandy - Thank you, Ashley, for this opportunity and also for sharing with us the follow up on these precious babies! God’s plans and purposes are so much bigger than we ever can imagine! Look how He is already using your sweet baby girl to bring healing to others! WOW!! Our God is an awesome God!!

  • Lisa Box - Wow! God is able to do so much more than we ask for or imagine!!! Thanks for letting us all be a part of this!

  • Valarie - Ashley, I feel like you and your blog were brought into my life (and I’m sure many others’) for the express purpose of helping these babies. I have a Bennett of my own, a big strapping 7 year old who has never missed a meal (or a snack!) and has never wanted for anything a day in his life. I see this other sweet Bennett in your post, and I read in his profile that he is a tiny little guy, I’m sure at least in part because of his cleft palate. I wish I could get on a plane and bring him home with me today. What I will do instead is sponsor him on a monthly basis. I showed this all to my husband, and we have decided to talk to our Bennett about this other sweet Bennett, and make helping him our family mission. I can’t thank you enough for bringing this to us. It was meant to be. So much love, Valarie

  • Ko - Oh Ashley! How good is God!?!? Tears of joy. What wonderful news, what wonderful actions, what wonderful sweet children!!!

  • Jenny B. - Wow! I am amazed that less than $8,000 can provide for NINE children for an entire YEAR! That is HUGE! It encourages me that even a small amount that one person can give will actually do GOOD. Our Sunday school lesson this week was about the five loaves and the two fish. God takes our small offerings and multiplies them to help those in need all for His glory. AMEN! :)

  • amanda - Blessed be the name of the Lord!

  • Laura @Ms Smartie Pants - What a beautiful story of how powerful we can be when we come together, we are at our best then! I mention blogging to my non-blogging friends, they don’t get it, they never understand the depths of this community. I am so glad I am a part of this community! Blessings to you!

  • Megan H. - Wow, that is amazing! God is good! I love how you use your blog to serve the Lord. I pray we can bring those kids home, to a forever home.

  • Christen - How humbling to get to be a part of this! Thank you Ashley for posting – thank you everyone for contributing. Mostly, thank you God for inspiring us all to love like You!

  • Debbie C - Ashley, wow, I am speechless. Amazing what God is doing, just amazing.

  • Mindy Harris - this makes my heart feel so full and so burdened…all at the same time. those sweet beautiful faces just tug my heart strings.
    each a gift from heaven.
    what an overwhelming thing that a few blog readers could trade in their starbucks cash and collectively provide the funds needed to get these sweet ones the care they need and deserve.
    blesses my socks off.
    thank you for being the liasion.
    some of us just don’t know where to start, ya know?
    xoxo

  • jessibee08 - This is amazing and totally made my day!!! Praise God; who works all things together for the good of those HE loves. HE loves those children, and each of us. HE spurs our hearts to give and love and serve. What a joy to see how God can use a blog and 1 person to turn it into His plan, His overflowing joy and love. Thank you Jesus

  • Rushton - So amazing ashley!!!

  • Mandy @ Sugar Bee Crafts - I love how you’re spending the extra funds – - I have a cleft lip and pallet and can’t image not having the care I received as a child…. I blogged about it some here recently: http://www.sugarbeecrafts.com/2012/04/campus-book-rentals-and-operation-smile.html

  • ashlee - Its amazing what God can do when His people simply say yes. Ashley, you said yes to bringing your little one home and through your obedience, we were able to say yes and help these other sweet children. I am so blessed to be apart of such an amazing work. Thank you for allowing us to join you in this tremendous blessing.

  • Stephanie - Oh my goodness, how wonderful is this! What an impact this is going to make on these sweet kids.

  • Paige @ The Spotted Fawn - Praise the Lord!!! Lord you are good and your mercy endures forever!

  • kL - i am speechless.
    i haven’t been online in over a week to check blogs and i am so overwhelmed by what all of your amazing readers have done for these littles.
    these beautiful, beautiful littles.
    my daughter was born without her soft palate and i know exactly what kind of life these babies could have without this surgery, as i’ve lived the before and the after with our girl, who is now 9.
    we have always known how lucky we are to have access to an amazing team of craniofacial doctors at stanford for her.
    you are working miracles ashley.
    your beautiful blog readers are working miracles.
    off to help…
    x0x
    kL

  • drea :: dre of white stables - I wasn’t able to contribute, but clefts have a special place in my heart as well. My oldest daughter was born with a soft palate cleft. When she was 6 months old, we went to a “cleft palate clinic.” It was sobering to say the least. Many of the children looked much like the pictures you posted. To look at her, you couldn’t even tell my daughter had a cleft palate since it only affected the soft palate…it was repaired when she was 14 months old. I am so happy to see these babies get a chance like this.

  • TracyDQ - wow, that is amazing. so inspirational and heartwarming. it’s a good thing you’ve done!

  • Tammia - Thank YOU! Our daughter was lovingly cared for in foster care, thanks to LWB. We were able to receive precious pictures and information about her life in China before she joined our family, thanks to LWB. We are forever grateful for this organization. Thanks for helping LWB touch many more lives.

  • heather - this is AMAZING!
    i can’t wait to follow along with our little one’s!!!!!
    you are so inspiring lady.
    and so are your readers!

  • Bonnie @ A Golden Afternoon - That’s so incredibly awesome. How cool is it that you can do stuff like this with one post? Pretty awesome, I’d say.

  • Liene - Wow, goosebumps … $8,000, unbelievable! And even more astonishing is what you can do with $8,000, help nine children for one year! It is great that we all, readers of your blog, Facebook and so on, have put that amount of money together, I am so happy that I could contribute a tiny little portion! Ashley thanks, for opening your big loving heart to all of us!

  • Alyssa - This is so great. My husband was born with a cleft lip and had it repaired when he was young. We are newlyweds but have discussed adoption in the future. I have a heart for these children. Thank you for leading the charge in helping them!

  • devon - this is so beautiful. there arent many words to describe how wonderful what you are doing for these children is. adoption as a whole is an amazing gift you are giving these babies.
    i was born with a cleft lip/palate and have had many, many surgeries. my first was when i was a few days old and my last one was when i was 17. i am now 32. although i am an american and was fortunate to be born to a family that could ‘afford’ my surgeries, it has been no easy road. the physical part of having a cleft lip/ palate is, in my opinion, the most grueling. you know you are different – you know you look different than everyone else – even if you had fantastic plastic surgery and people tell you ‘they cant tell’. my point is, these babies were unfortunately born with this defect – but they are beyond blessed to have you take them into your lives and give them the chance they so deserve.
    god bless you all.

  • Tanya@TakeSix - Praise God \o/

    Ashley it is such a privilege to be a part of this. Guess who’s doing the big ugly cry now!

  • sarah - such wonderful news!!! God is good!!

  • tracy a - oh friend, this is so, so great. I am so glad to be a part of this! thank you for paving the way…

  • Jules - So amazing! God is good.

  • Holly - From the Coordiantor of the Anhui Helaing Home thank you so much for raising these extra funds for the cleft babies in the healing homes! LWB provides such an important service to help get these kids the right nutrition and feeding and eventually thier surgeries. You will be amazed at the difference in these kids in a short period of time. I look forward to having you follow along with Asher and Emerson our newest admission to our home!

  • Amy Beachy - WOW!
    God is good. All the time!

  • Moriah - How great is this! I love that you have shared this and I am so excited to be a part of it. Thank you and I wish the babies a speedy recovery from there procedures! Tears of joy!

  • Kaite - Thank you Ashley for doing this!! While I personally can’t financially contribute, my parents sponsor a little girl “Emma Grace” through LWB. She’s so precious and I LOVE what LWB does! (my sister is from China so they do anything they can to help!)
    Also, my brother was born with a cleft lip & palate, and I saw the dozens of surgery’s he had to go through. Now he’s a confident 26 year old who is quite the ladies man ha! But it also puts my husband and I at a higher risk than the general public to have a baby with a cleft… so this is huge on my heart. We will be praying for all those BEAUTIFUL babies.
    I am SO happy for you and your family, I feel like I’m reliving my parents journey 7 years ago to adopt my sister. I can’t imagine my life without her.

  • Marcy - I have tears rolling down my face. This is amazing! THANK YOU for what you have done. I’ve volunteered for Love Without Boundaries for several years now and have seen firsthand what an incredibly efficient, capable, loving organization this is. Everone who has donated can be absolutely certain that every single dollar will be put to its very best possible use for the children. Children’s lives WILL be greatly changed because of your generosity. Bless you all.

  • Amber McGinnis - This is beyond amazing! What a wonderful story of God’s people coming together to do his work! Absolutely a great blessing!

  • living eventfully - GO JESUS! GO ASHLEY!! I have to ask….who “named” these little blessings?? I have a Bennett and I was just so tickled to see one of the babies with his name!

  • Donald White - I am the Chairman of the Board of LWB and on behalf of our over 150 worldwide volunteers I want to personally thank everyone of you for doing the most selfless thing in the world – helping a kid you will never know! This is so amazing but I see it a lot! The truest form of charity is when you give with no hope of what you give helping you. Blessings to all of you. You are warriors for these little guys that without you would have no one supporting them.

  • Sarah - WOW Ashley. Love seeing these faces and hearing your heart. Thanks for blessing me. Thanks for blessing them. As a mama of 2 cleft effected treasures from China, you have no idea the huge impact this will make on their lives both now and once they’re placed in their forever families. Awesome idea. Just beautiful. Look what God can do!! Way to go, lady.
    And now, on to bringing YOUR precious one home!

  • Tammy - I would like to thank you for letting me be a part of this. It is such an amazing thing, and the best $20 I have ever given/spent on anything. I wish I had more. You don’t normally get to have such personal knowledge of how donations help an individual(s), and this has touched me more than you will ever know. I have just posted a link to my facebook page, as well, so hopefully others will be inspired to participate further. I love this. Again, thank you!

  • Heather - Bless you, and your big heart!

    I gave away a couch and loveseat on Monday, and the recipient pressed two $20 bills into my hand as he got into his truck. I tried and tried to give it back, and he suggested that I donate it to a good cause. And then I read your blog a few minutes later, and I knew exactly where it would go. I volunteer for LWB, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  • Patti Kellett - My name is Patti Kellett and I coordinate the Love Without Boundaries Henan Healing Home where 5 of the babies that you are all helping live. We focus on helping some of the most fragile babies with cleft lip and/or cleft plates. These babies require more time to nurse their formula and special bottles since they often can’t swallow. The nannies at the home have a special way of loving unconditionally and helping failure to thrive babies quickly turn around. We love them for their selfless work! Check out the LWB Blog about the cleft trip to see the story of Maireli’s and Michael’s surgeries! Thank you to all of you for giving to help them!!!!!!!

  • Jane in Canada - Ashley, as you can imagine, I often look after babies with cleft, lip and palate (CLP). I meet with parents before babies are born because it is often identified during the pregnancy on ultrasound. After babies are born, I set them up with an extensive CLP team at Sick Kids hospital in Toronto. This team provides amazing care to children with CLP – plastic surgeon, orthodontist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, general pediatrician, hearing tests are arranged, etc. It always overwhelms me to realize what incredible medical care children born in North America are entitled to, just because of geography. So many children around the world do not have the same luxury. Thank you for making the care that these babies need happen through your wonderful blog.

  • Mischelle - Thank you for what you are doing!! We adopted a little boy w/ CL/CP from the Fujian Province about 1 1/2 years ago. The Healing Home in Fuzhou City was opening the week we were there, so we got to tour the home and see the amazing work LWB is doing! There was such a stark contrast between the orphanage where our son lived the first year of his life and the LWB Healing Home we visited!

  • Friday Delights « homely house - [...]  Under the Sycamore - now this is a blog worth reading.  This sweet mom of 4 (who is currently in the adoption [...]

  • Dawn - Ashley, this is incredible. What you’ve done is so beautiful.

  • Sharon Dalton - Hi Ashley,

    OMG!!! Seeing these lil babies with Cleft Lip/Cleft Palates brings back so many memories for me – my son was born with a bilateral cleft of lip and palate almost 23yrs ago….he is still having surgeries!!! There is a long road ahead for them, wish there was something I could do to support this cause from Australia!!!

    Please email me and let me know what I can do to help
    Cheers Sharon Dalton

  • Becky - I’ve just found your blog and have loved every minute of it so far. What an incredible story you have to tell. Your family is beautiful and so is your heart.

  • maria laura - love your story of life. This is awesome… God bless your family. wish you the best ..from Argentina.

  • Corene Goodenough - Hi there, simply was {aware of|alert

  • Kim - As a mom of a cleft girl. You and those that have contributed are giving these children a true gift. A lifetime of possibilities! Thank You!

  • Brooke W - Will you see this comment 2 years later?

    I am a new follower, and I live with my husband and 7 sweet kiddos in sunny CA. We adopted 2 boys (brothers) from Ethiopia in 2011, and 2 boys from China in Oct 2013, and we are headed back to China in 2014 for 2 girls this time. AND… one of them is sweet Marieli from Love Without Boundaries! I was sent a link to your blog where it shows that her Healing Home care was provided by your fundraiser, THANK YOU! We hope to travel by Nov or Dec to get our girls. We are also adopting a 10 year old girlie. <3 Brooke

  • AshleyAnn - Brooke – THANK YOU for sharing this with me. I can’t tell you how exciting it is for me to hear that she is joining your family. All of those sweet kids from the project are so etched in my heart. It is a treasure for me to hear from you. Thank you!

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