The Incubator Project {a final update}

A little over a year ago, I wrote these words:

“Over the past month I’ve been thinking about my daughter’s orphanage, about all of you sweet readers that have asked for ways to help, and about how I want to not waste this time of waiting. I’ve always wanted to use my blog for good, you’ve heard me talk about social justice issues in the past. Well, this time I’m not talking about a social justice issue. I’m talking about my daughter and her current home. I contacted Love Without Boundaries (LWB) and asked if they could find out if the orphanage had any large needs. They were so kind to do a little research for me and let me know there is a great need for an incubator for tiny newborns in their care. One incubator costs $1,400.00. $1,400.00.  A lot of money, but it sounds manageable.”

And The Incubator Project was born.

I was dreaming of an incubator.

Sending out a hope for $1,400.

Feeling so helpless with my daughter so far away. Aching to be able to just do something.

In less than a week’s time, not only did you guys fund an incubator, you bought diapers and towels for my daughters orphanage. When we visited the orphanage, we were able to see the incubator. What a humbling experience.

When the diapers and towels were delivered.

the incubator when we visited during our trip

If the story had ended there, it would have been one of the greatest stories of my life. But it didn’t end there. You guys took an incredible story and made it beyond extraordinary. Miraculous.

Instead of $1,400 donated. You guys gave to Love Without Boundaries. Over $25,000.

I am a complete mess when I think about the lives you guys changed.

You sponsored cleft surgeries.

Heart surgeries.

Hernia surgeries.

You provided foster care.

Healing care in LWB healing homes before and after surgeries.

Formula and basic nutrition items to dozens of kids.

You stood up.

You used your voices to collectively be one giant voicing screaming for these kids, saying “You are worthy! You are beautiful! We care!”

You became advocates. Defenders. Supporters. Love. You stood in the gap for these…

 

A few pictures of some of the changes that took place in ‘our kids’

 

I am completely undone when I look at all those faces. Not in a million years could I have dreamed, prayed or hoped that together we could have been a part of the lives of these kids. I did a terrible job keeping everyone updated on the progress of the kids this year. Honestly, the number of kids we were sponsoring just kept growing and I was overwhelmed trying to find time to do all the updates. For that, I apologize. What prompted me to finally get my rear in gear and get this final update for you this week is that Love Without Boundaries is the charity for this week’s Sevenly campaign. Seven dollars from every purchase this week goes towards Love Without Boundaries. I thought that would be a great way to wrap up this story and series on my blog. Here are a few of the Sevenly items this week:

I also want to thank several people that made The Incubator Project possible:

Suzanne Damstedt of Love Without Boundaries did all the coordinating and logistical stuff for the whole project. She is amazing.

And my following friends who gave of their time and talent to create beautiful Song prints for the project:

Julie of Joy’s Hope

Lesley of Recipe for Crazy

Heather of Life Made Lovely

Megan of Contended Sparrow

Sarah of Sarah Jane Studios

I can’t begin to thank you all enough. Dreaming is scary and risky and hard….and it is really scary when you throw it out there online while being a desperate mom for her baby! I heard a quote a couple weeks ago from Brene Brown. She said, “You can chose comfort or courage, but you can’t have both.” Her words have been ringing in my ears for weeks now. I want to be brave. To be courageous. To dare to throw my wildest dreams up to God and see what He does with them. I would have never even thought to dream about this little blog being used to partner with countless selfless people to be a big voice for those that have none. This week the Parents magazine issue came out recognizing my blog. As cool and humbling as that was, this….this getting to partner with you all for these kids….is so much better. So, from the deepest parts of my heart ~ thank you.

P.S. I’m dreaming about the next thing we can do together!

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  • fran luxton - Seeing all those lovely little smiling faces has made my day ..which hasn’t been a good one but their little faces has lifted my spirits ..I work voluntarily for a military group supporting soldiers out in Afghanistan and also raise money for many military charities and one thing I have learned …when you get people together ..you can make a difference !! xx

  • Ruth@GraceLaced - Thank you for this update. It does my heart good…it sets my heart and mind on eternal things, and it enlarges my heart. Hugs to you, friend!

  • Elizabeth Stewart - What an amazing, amazing work done through you!

  • Emily @ I Love Farm Weddings - Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful!

  • Holly - What a joy-filled post! It is awesome what was accomplished, the lives that were changed, and the love that shown!

  • Barny - such a beautiful post! you have me crying everytime and thinking about what fundraising i could do.

    Barnicles xx

  • Paige - I’m so glad for this final update! Thank-you Miss Ashley! ?

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh – what a blessing you are to me! I’ve felt so uncomfortable asking for help with funding Little Guy’s adoption, but you are right – I can be brave or comfortable – so with that, I will hold my head high and admit when I need help with big dreams!

  • emily - It makes me teary every time I read about this project and everything you accomplished. We were inspired by you to start our own little project to raise money for Compassion International. We didn’t raise anywhere near as much, only $100 but I wanted to let you know that your influence and example is far reaching!!

  • Kristi - Wow. Thank you for using your influence for something amazing.

  • Midwest Magnolia - Melissa Lewis - I just don’t have the words. Just blessed by just watching what God is doing here. Stay courageous!

  • stephany - I just purchased a “you don’t need a reason to help someone” print! So excited to get it.

  • Joy - My heart is overwhelmed after reading this post Ms. Ashley. You truly are a blessing and inspiration to others.

  • Jill - So wonderful!! Love those little faces.

  • RachelC - Wow. Just wow. A wonderful reminder that the God we serve is so big.

  • Lynn - Beautiful children and wonderful smiles….what a great way to start the day!!
    Thanks for sharing this update and looking forward to what you come up with next….you are a special person!!!

  • Sharon @ Discovering Blog - What a powerful post. Thank you for sharing your story, and the link to Sevenly. I just bought the awesome print that says, “You Don’t Need a Reason to Help Someone”. It was a great price – only $24.99 and will be perfect to hang in my home. Thanks for giving us a way to help others.

  • Misty - Ah I love the “Give Your Life Away” poster! Totally getting that!

    I remember when you started this project and am so happy to see what has been accomplished. You are an inspiration, Ashley. May the Lord continue to work through you!

  • Alice H - I know I say this ALL the time (to the point I am annoying myself) BUT gosh she sure does look so much like your husband. Same round shaped heads, same eyes, same lips, and cheeks. They even have similar noses.

    Anyways, I am grateful that you have such a giving heart and that you gave your readers a chance to help bless those babies also.

    Have a great weekend!

  • Katie - you…this blog…all of your readers…

    this is truly God’s word being spoken…being shared…being lived.

    :) Amen!

  • amy jupin - so many tears of happiness reading this post. sevenly is so rad. and just so you know, this blog of yours has been changing lives for YEARS. the pic of little one in the sea of babies made my heart break. i love her. i love all of them. praying for each of them to know the love of a momma.

  • Emily - I love these updates but I can’t help but have my heart broken for all these precious ones without families. You truly have been an inspiration to me and have opened my heart to the idea of adoption, someday. Praise be to God for these miraculous blessings on these sweet little ones. And thank you Ashley for answering the call!!

  • Danielle - YOU facilitate these amazing things. YOU are so wonderful.

  • Ellenor's Mama - I clicked over and scrolled through this week’s sevenly shirts and am in love with the message on some of them …

    “Someone is praying for the things you take for granted”

    Something I so needed to hear today! Can’t wait for my shirt to come in!

  • amber - Awesome. And what a privilege to see those babies grow.

  • mandi@herbanhomstead - oh man! This is so incredible! I love seeing what God does when His people are just willing to open themselves up. “just show up” He seems to say, “I’ll take care of the rest”. Love it! Thank you for the update!

  • Michelle W - Ashley, this post is so touching…I now have the “ugly cry” out of pure joy for all the lives you have touched/changed. You are something special. So honored to know and be your friend.

  • Tami - You are inspiring! I love reading your blog. It makes me want to be a better person!

  • Rahel Menig - Hi :)
    I’ve been reading your blog for several months now and never left a comment. So yay for firsts ;)

    Your adoption story really touched my heart. I used to babysit a little boy from Columbia who was adopted, so the topic isn’t all that new to my ears. Anyways, why I wanted to write – I just found and watched the movie ‘Somewhere Between’ on Netflix. You probably already know of it, but the stories told were… Well, I’m kinda speechless to be honest. I very much recommend it to you :)

    Thanks for your courage in standing up. Thanks for sharing your story. I know it touches many hearts. It touches mine. Thanks.

    xoxo, Rahel

  • Nuria - Congratulations, what an amazing achievement! The world needs moms like you :)

  • Elisabeth - Perhaps God made your wait for Little One so long so that you could start this project. God knew that Little One would be blessed with a good life while in your care, so he allowed the wait to be long.

  • merry - Im so grateful you introduced me to LWB. I want to be brave too. Thanks for the inspiration and your vulnerability!! Peace!

  • Kimberlee Jost - Catching up on my reading this morning—this post hurts good!
    I loved this recap. I have been thinking a lot about how God calls us to “remember”.
    This was a good one for me think back on.
    I think I just got a shot of hope injected in me.
    ;)

  • Lisa M. - Loved your post. Your girls are beautiful! I just hopped over to Sevenly and purcahsed the poster “You don’t need a reason to help someone”. I cannot wait to get it and hang it in our living area. That’s been on ongoing theme of sorts in our house this past year or so. Serving. Because that is what Jesus modeled for us to do. Thank you for sharing and updating. How amazing it is to see all the changed lives for those children. God is good.

  • Stacy Dean - I cannot even begin to tell you how this post made my day, week, month!!! I am sharing this all over the place. I hope you don’t mind. ;) You are amazing, and every reader is amazing. I can’t wait to come along for this journey of your wildest dreams now that I’m on board :) Let’s buy another incubator! Or whatever else can make this world a brighter place!

  • Carolina - I think I know what we can do together. I’m not American and don’t live in US but the tornado new is in everywhere. I’m glad you and yours are ok. But the devastation in Moore ( I hope write right) is undescriptable. I think you know people or organizations. i found some but i don’t know if I can trust. Can you tell us how can we help? Thanks

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