Sabina {a girl who changed my life}


I was reading a friend’s blog and he challenged his readers to share how an orphan has changed your life. I love that idea for many reasons, but one of the biggest for me is to get to share about a little girl who never had a mom or dad go on and on about her to others. This might be a wordy post…

In the summer of 2000 Chris and I spent 8 weeks in Kazakhstan. It was the summer before we got married and we were there partnering with workers in that country to teach summer english camps. The camps were great, but in our down time we volunteered at an orphanage. My time with those kids was the highlight of my summer. It was amazing to watch Chris with the kids – confirmed in many ways he was the guy for me. From the first time we walked through the gate a little girl with a questioning smile caught my eye. She always stayed on the edge of the group and never demanded my attention. In the games she seemed to have a need to prove to the boys she could beat them – which she usually did. She was strong willed, quiet, and liked to take charge. She reminded me of myself in many ways and we just hit it off. Her name was Sabina and she became my little friend for the rest of the summer. I would have adopted her had the country allowed it. When our summer was over and we began preparations to leave my heart broke at the thought that I wouldn’t know how her story ends. The only picture I have of the two of us now hangs on my refrigerator. My boys know her story – which makes me happy that she is not forgotten. I still think of her all the time. She is probably about 14 years old now. Most likely she is still in a government home for teenagers. If that is the case in a couple of years she will age out of the system and be left to fend for herself in a very poor country. If she goes the road of many young girls like her it is likely she will find herself in the sex trade industry. If she is like many young girls she will sell her body to feed her stomach. As I look at her picture, I pray that she has found a different road. I pray that light in her eyes is still there. I pray that the fire in her would be used to change not only the course of her life but the lives of other girls like her. I pray that when she falls asleep at night she would somehow know she is not forgotten. I pray she is happy…and loved…and safe. And so I share her story with you, so again she is not forgotten….

We killed Chris and the boys at baseball – we had to prove ourselves and we did 🙂


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  • Aaron Hamilton - Ashley,
    Okay…so you said Kazakhstan and I had to comment. What a beautiful story and a beautiful little girl. Those Kazakh kids are all knockouts. Do you remember what city you were in?

    And…we adopted a baby girl, Lyla Dawn, when she was only 2 days old. We haven’t updated the blog yet, but will soon. She is beautiful and has totally got me (Aaron) wrapped around her finger at only 6 weeks. Your little girl is beautiful! God is good.


  • Trinity - Yes, I have tears in my eyes. What a beautiful girl, and I pray that God saved her from that hard road. I also pray that somehow you might get to find out where she is. I have 4 beautiful “used to be orphans” in my home that have totally changed my life! It makes me overwhelmed to think of where they could have been and where they can be now…….thanks for sharing!

  • alex himaya - Praying with you for her!

  • Rachel - Praying for Sabina — and hoping that one day you would meet again.

  • Stephanie - I will pray for Sabina!

  • christina larsen - What an amazing story. Thank you for sharing it with us. I also pray that she has found a forever family and she is sure of their love and that they embrace her strong spirit. She is beautiful.

  • Linda - Thank you for sharing!

  • Kirra Sue - Just read this and am in tears. Praying for Sabrina today.

  • Janelle Vano - Oh my goodness…I started to cry just reading this. I often think of the lost, lonely children of the world and my heart breaks for them. But, seeing the original date of this post…Aug 2009…I realized that little Sabina is the same age as my own daughter, Sabrina. Lord, please protect Sabina!!

  • Holly Andrews - Ashley, I just found your blog today from totally random link through pinterest and I have to tell you I was hooked! I love your quirky style, amazing photography and random posts! Looking over the time your daughter was in the hospital, I was wondering if you were a Christian and then I stumbled on your December post regarding the negative comments you’ve received. I appreciate that you present Christianity the way you do. You have a normal, very busy family, amazing God given creativity and you present a light-hearted, laugh-at-yourself picture of what life should look like with a sort of graciousness that is so uncommon. I don’t know why people think they can tell you what to post on your blog – hello! the whole purpose of blogging is to have a personal voice! But keep doing it! You’ve got a perfect window to plant those seeds on unbelievers that come to see what gifts God has given you. Good job! You sound like someone I’d love to have as a friend (you probably give the best Christmas gifts) and I’d love to have my kids play with yours (getting into good clean trouble). Good luck on your adoption, she’s one lucky girl!

  • dana - She is beautiful! I do see the light in her eyes! It must have been so hard to leave this little one there. Praying for Sabina that she is safe with her family and oh so happy. I hope you hear good news about her from someone soon. Thanks for sharing!