Friday, December 6, 2013


Wow am I really 21!? Where on earth is time going? I still feel like I should be about 16 and in high school. My birthday was amazing this year. I am truly blessed with some of the most awesome people.

My day started out with homemade pancakes that my awesome roommate made for me. Yes I am very aware of just how wonderful she is. Hard to believe we were almost random roommates, I say almost because we met and agreed to live together, but didn't really know each other until move in day. She is amazing though and I am so lucky she agreed to live with me. After that she had presents, she knows me too well to have only lived with me about 4 months. My day was fairly normal with the exception that I was super happy all day long.  I went about my normal schedule, went to class, turned in everything I had due and even worked on some homework.

My parents had made plans weeks earlier to come up and have dinner with me on my birthday so that only added to the wonderful day I was having. My mom tried to be sneaky and plan a surprise party with my friends, but nothing ever gets by me! I totes knew what was going on but did try to play along (lol). My parents brought along some of my closest girlfriends all of whom I love dearly and I am so blessed to call friends.  I really have nothing bad to say about my birthday it was an all around wonderful day, with the exception it was on a Tuesday which meant I couldn't stay up late or put off the homework.

Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday, it truly meant a lot. I also received some hilarious ones along with ones that about made me cry. Thank you everyone!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Orphan Sunday 2013

This past Sunday I presented about the need for orphan care at my church. Below is the speech that I gave.

Orphan care is not something that God asked us to do if we felt like it. He commanded us to care for the orphan and the widow in their distress (James 1:27). Caring for the orphan is one of the most heart breaking experiences because they are truly the least of the least and the cast away of society. In the United States alone there are over half a million children waiting for someone to tell them that they are loved and cared for. Worldwide there are over 149 million children classified as orphans. These number and statistic are heart wrenching but they are the reality
·         Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but…
·         Every day about 5,800 more children become orphans
·         Each year over 14, 500, 000 children grow up as orphans and age out of the system by age sixteen
·         Each day over 38,000 orphans age out
·         Every 2.2 seconds another orphan ages out with no family to belong to and no place to call home
·         Of those children that age out studies have shown that 10% – 15% of these children commit suicide before they reach age eighteen
·         These studies also show that 60% of the girls become prostitutes and 70% of the boys become hardened criminals

These are not statistics anyone wants to hear but the need for orphan care is great.
             Institutions are not places children are meant to grow up. They are dim and dull places where children are raised more like cattle then the children they are.  There is typically 15 or more children per adult worker and there is no individual care. In many cases the children that have special needs are left to die, In China alone one orphanage can have 4 or more dying rooms with 100 or more children in them and they are simply placed and forgot about as if their life does not matter. In Eastern Europe children with medical needs at the age of 4 are sent to adult mental institutions, heavily medicated and never given a chance at a life. The vast majority of them will die within 6 months of their arrival due to neglect.  No child asks to be born an orphan, God designed children to be in families not institutions. Institutions are places that diminish the hope of a child and steal away childhood, they are places where unthinkable abuses happen and the perpetrator goes unpunished. The majority of children who die in institution die from preventable causes. I have personally experienced the horrors of institutions and they are places I hope no one ever has to see. I have held a child who 6 hours later died from a virus that was 100% preventable and curable here in the states. They are places where 500 or more little ones look at you and their eyes are saying love me and tell me I am worth it. Institutions are the homes to so many children who are craving for the affection that is being denied to them. Imagine going to bed without a hug or being tucked in at the age of 3, no one checks for the monsters under you bed and no one tells you how loved you are, every tear hits the ground and no boo boo is kissed better, they are places where children grow up too fast and miss out on the importance of love.  However there is hope for the Orphan because God even says in the Bible that he will come to them. I truly believe that God’s heart is breaking when he looks and sees what is happening to his children and how so few individuals are doing anything to change their current situation.
            Adoption is the ultimate goal for every orphaned child, but it is not a reality nor is it for every family, but adoption is not the only way an individual or a family can care for the orphan. Giving to organizations that sponsor orphan care, sponsoring a child, hosting an orphaned child, volunteering with foster children here in NC, volunteering in institutions abroad, and praying are other examples of just how one person can make a difference in the life of a child. No one can do everything but everyone can do something to make the life of a child easier. No we cannot help every orphaned child in the world but everyone can help someone and those ones add up to a lot of children in the end. Adopting or helping one child will not change the world but for that one child their entire world will change. I am not asking all of us to save the world and adopt every orphan but we can change the life of one.
            I want to introduce you to Amanda De Lange, Amanda was a normal person like all of us, but she was vastly different. She gave up her life and the comfort she lived in to move to China and to care for the least of the least. She started out on her own caring for 6 babies and within 5 years she had founded a non-profit that was caring for 50 Chinese orphans at any given time. She lived on faith that the needs or her babies and herself would be provided and never saw her children as a burden but rather a blessing. She did not take the prettiest or the healthiest babies into her care but rather the children who everyone else had given up on. 90% of her children were days from dying had they stayed in the institution but with the help of the nannies and volunteers most of them were saved. She risked the heart ache to save the one because she knew that the one life she saved was worth it. Because Amanda believed and answered her calling there are 100 lives in the world today that would not be here without her and there are 60 families who have met their children because of her. Her children were the children that should not have survived because someone in an orphanage deemed that their life was not worth fighting for. Amanda was one person that changed 100 lives.  All it takes is one person to make a difference and to change the world
            Currently I work with 3 organizations that help orphan children in a verity of way and I know of several more. If you would like more information on adopting or helping these children please feel free to see me and I will be more than willing to talk to you. The sad news is that the majority of the orphaned children worldwide will never know the love of an earthy father, but they should not go an eternity without knowing the love of a heavenly father. The only way to truly care for the orphan is to love them like Jesus loves us and to spread his love to those who may never experience it. My goal of this message was to break your heart for what breaks God’s heart, and I know that seeing so many of his children without families or their basic needs being met is breaking his heart.

            To conclude my time up here I have a short personal video of the children that I have worked with over the last few years. These are children that I have watched grow and change and children in which I have seen the difference love can make. For these children all it takes is knowing that one person believes in you and your will to fight and live grows stronger. Most of these children were on the brink of death and a little bit of food and a lot of love brought them back. Now most of them are home with their forever families all because someone cared enough to help.

Friday, August 30, 2013

College Take 3

I cannot believe my junior year of college has begun. Where in the world has the time gone? I am however loving this year so far. My classes are probably going to kick my tail but I will survive. 18 hours is not fun no matter what you are taking, especially when all of your classes are paper based. Bring on those 15-20 page research papers, said no college student ever. However, it will all work our and come final exam time I won't have to go take a test but rather hand in a paper and leave, so I can't complain too much about that.

I am still getting adjusted to my new schedule, thankfully once again I have dodged 8 am as everyone knows I am not a morning person. My earliest class is at 9:30 on Tuesday and Thursday so I am happy about that. The class isn't too bad but Psychology is still not my thing. I also have the 2nd Econ this semester and that class will be my biggest struggle. I have still yet to figure out why it is even required for my major, but whatever ASU I will learn about these stupid graphs if I have too. At first I thought it was in case I ever taught Civics and Economics, but this class is so far from anything I would ever have to teach it is not even funny.

I'm in love with my living situation this year. I have finally upgraded to the apartments on campus and I am in love. Not having a meal plan is the best thing in the world. I love being able to cook my own meals and eat what I like and not the gross stuff that is in the dining halls. On the plus side I have only burnt myself twice, it has been a learning experience for sure, this oven is much shorter than the one that is at my house so I am always knocking the top of it. It is probably a miracle that I have not broken a dish yet. I do love cooking though, so it has been wonderful and I cannot wait to get a little more creative with my meals.

My roommate this year is AWESOME! I was so nervous going into this year, as we were kind of random. We met once last year and agreed to live together, but we did not know each other at all. We get along wonderfully though and she has quickly become a great friend. Lily is so much fun to live with and we laugh all the time. I do not think there has been one night we have not been complete goof balls and had so much fun in our nightly ramblings. We also have many of the same interest which is so nice. She loves coffee and makes some just about every morning. I am one spoiled person right now! Lily and I share a room this year but I also have two other roommate, Hannah and Jocelyn. They are equally as wonderful. I have not been able to spend as much time getting to know them as I have Lily, but we all get along great.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A year ago....

A year ago today the world lost an amazing women. It's hard to believe it's been a year since Amanda left us here on Earth. Oh how I miss her. I miss being able to shoot her an email and hear about all the craziness of China. I miss her Facebook post and seeing her daily ramblings. There are still days that I do not believe she is really gone. The legacy she left is absolutely AMAZING. There are 100+ lives in the world today because of her. Amanda's last days were not what any of us imagined. No one thought her life would be cut short and that she would leave so soon.

Amanda to this day still inspires me to be a better person. She selflessly gave her life and wants for the needs and wants of the children and people of China she served. She left her comfortable life to be the mom to about 30 babies at any given time. She set aside her needs to make sure her babies were cared for and sought out the best care China could provide for them. She was their mom until their moms got to them. She cared for them like a mother would and provided for them, even though she was only their temporary mom. She knew her role was to care for them until their families came. Granted she missed her babies after they were adopted she knew a permanent family could give them the things she could not.  Because of her selfless love for the children she cared for her heart and legacy lives on in the lives of the children she cared for.

The world needs more people like Amanda who are so willing to give selflessly and expect nothing in return. Amanda truly lived a life no one could ever repeat. Her babies were not the babies most people in China wanted to care for, they were the challenging ones, the ones no one wanted, and the ones left to die. However, within their tiny little bodies Amanda saw a child worth the risk of a heart break and worth every penny she could scrap up. There were so many times Amanda walked in to the orphanage with only enough funds to take on one more child, but she could never say no to a little one who needed her and most of the time she walked out with anywhere from 2-10 babies. I believe there was only one time she walked out with one baby. She never knew where the funds to care for the extra children would come from, but she believed they would show up. Each child to her was an individual whose life meant so much. She took the sickest babies and nursed them back to health, even if that meant spending hours feeding them with a dropper. Sometimes the babies she brought home were so close to death no one thought they would make it, but as Amanda said a little love and a good meal or two can go a long way to save the children. So many times she told me that it was not the food that was saving the babies but the love, care, and a simple human touch that was saving them.

The little 6 from my first year at Starfish. What a difference just 10 days made

"You have never really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you."

Oh how true is this quote. I know that everyone who knew Amanda knew that she loved the babies and never expected a thing in return. Amanda gave out of her heart to the babies. Her reward was knowing that the children were healthy, cared for, loved, and eventually home with families who loved them. 

I miss Amanda so much as do many other individuals. She changed this world for the better and no one can ever be her. Her legacy is living on and new and great things are on the horizon for her foster home. Things have greatly changed for those that run baby homes in China, but no one is giving up on Amanda's dream. Children are still being saved and cared for because of her. I can only hope that one day I can do half as much for a child as she has. We all need to let the Amanda's in us show, because we can all save at least one child and make a difference to that one.

Amanda and I Memorial Day Weekend 2012. How I miss my dear friend!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Freedom School Partners (FSP)2013

If you would have asked me last year what I was doing this year I would have told you I would have been in China, for about a month by now. I had every intention of cuddling and cooing with precious orphans in Xi'an at a foster home that I love dearly. I would have been loving on them and helping change an endless amount of clothes and diapers. I love my China babies so much and I had every intention of visiting them again this summer and meeting the little ones who had arrived since I had last been. China and the children of China hold just about every inch of my heart. There are children world wide from the not so little town that hold a piece of my heart and really and truly love knows no boundaries with those kids. Obviously, China did not become a reality this year due to many reasons and at first I was totally crushed. I could not believe I was not going back, but then I begin to realize that even though I wasn't doing what I was planning on doing I was going to be doing what had been planned long before the love of China had been put in my heart. It was a shock to me that I was not going to China but not a shock to the Lord. He knew all along I was not going to be returning, but instead of just slamming the door in my face he gently closed it for this summer and reviled his plan. 

The start of Freedom school is just around the corner. I am so excited to meet my babies for the summer. Training is over and all the classrooms are ready for Monday morning when our kids walk through the door. Never in a million years would I have thought I would be back for another summer. As a second year I have all the excitement of a first year along with all the nerves as well. I am at a new site this year with kids I have never met, many returners are back at their old site with the same children again. I wish I was getting my babies from last year again, but FSP is no longer at my old site as a new program took its place. I miss my children from my first year so much and think of them often but I cannot wait to meet my new little ones. Big plans are in store for this summer, I already know it. 

My classroom was finished Thursday before lunch so after lunch and today I just reorganized and made sure everything was perfect for Monday morning. I am in love with my theme this year "Under the Sea", which I guess is a good thing since I am stuck with it for six weeks. Each of my kids has a sand bucket on the door with their name so they can collect as much love of learning and reading as they would like. Even though I am the farther thing from a morning person I have a feeling I will be up bright and early and super excited to get the day started. Below is my door for this year. It is not the finished product as a changed it a little after this was taken but you get the idea. 

I also have the world's BEST team this year!! We all get along so great and there are endless amounts of laughs to be had. The amount of energy and love between our staff is too much. We are all in it for the scholars and want them to succeed every expectation that will ever be set for them. I do not think I could have hand picked a better group of people to work with. I love them all so much already! (One member is missing from this picture as she could not go to national training. We still love you Erica!)

Friday, May 31, 2013

Where I Belong

As many people who followed my journey last year with Freedom School Partners know, I had a very rough summer with my kids. Granted I loved them all, they were a challenge to keep in line and to work with sometimes. I probably cried more days than I would like to admit because I was so stressed and I remember  after the first day coming home and thinking how in the world I was going to do this for 6 weeks. However, I made it though my summer and I loved every second of it. I was hard on my babies, no one got away with anything in or outside of my classroom.

Well today was the first day of FSP local training. We started out with how something that you say or do to a child whether positive or negative has a massive impact on their life and the summer director called out my name asking me to stand to be recognized. Obviously I was quite shocked. She went on to say she had visited the site that my old site kids would be moved to and that a little boy came up to her asked her if I was returning this summer ,She told him that I was, but I was not at his site, rather another one. She could see that he was disappointed and then the little guy went on to say that he was sad about that because he "really loved miss Taylor." She proceeded to congratulate me for making a difference for a child and to do what ever it was I did again for another little one.

Now here I am sitting down about to cry because I loved my babies last year, even the ones who have given me grey hairs. I had a very hard summer as stated above, and in no way did I ever think that I was doing something right and that my kids would remember me. I felt like I was the odd man out and could not get things right or my kids under control. I have no idea what I said or did for this little boy, nor do I know which child it was that said this, but hearing that a child remembers you for something you did for them made me realize I am right where I am supposed to be for this summer.

I had a hard time choosing to go back to FSP this summer, but after today I am so looking forward to this summer, and cannot wait to meet my new children at my new site. I will miss last years babies so much, I still think of them often and wonder how they are doing. Maybe one day I will have them in high school, who knows. This little boy will probably never know that I was informed of his comment, but I wish I could tell him how much it means to me to know that I impacted his life in someway to make him say that about me. It makes every hard day worth it.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Anderson and Allen Families

By the time this blog post publishes there will be two less.... Today one little girl and one little boy have learned the love of a family. April 7th may not be an important day in your family, but for two families that are near my heart, it is the day that they became parents again to new little ones. I am beyond thrilled for these little ones and their parents. I cannot wait to see them emerge and become everything that they are suppose to be. From today onward they will never have to face the world alone, they are now a part of a family who has loved them dearly for months. The song lyrics below do a pretty good job of summing up what these families are experiencing.

There's a child
Been abandoned on the street
Now she's waiting for someone to be her miracle

There's a wife
Somewhere halfway around the world
Begging God for a little girl she can call her own

Well, worlds collide, and colors fade
And a man and wife brought their little girl home today

And there's one less
One less
One less broken heart in the world tonight

We are called
To the widows and the orphans
But it's easy to ignore their silent cries

Oh, but every single time
Somebody reaches into the darkness
Makes a choice to help the helpless
They let mercy save a life

Well the truth is we are all the orphans
But love has left the ninety-nine
Just to find the one

One less night alone
One less child without a home
One less birthday gone forgotten
One more soul rising from the bottom

One less
One less
There's one less broken heart in the world tonight

Adoption is a beautiful and wonderful experience. My family along with so many others have been blessed through this miracle. There are really no words that explain it, you have to feel it. So many times people see the children as the lucky ones, but really and truly it is the family that are the lucky ones. Adoption has forever changed my life and I rejoice every time a little one comes home because there is now one more life that will not be forgotten and one more little one who knows what love is.

Please continue to keep the Anderson's and the Allen's in your thoughts and prayers as they still have several more days in China before they come home with their newest additions! I cannot wait to meet your children!


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