fever struck

Thanks for the suggestions yesterday on the boy’s room and the ladder. That ladder is actually longer than any wall in our house. It stretches from the downstairs all the way to the ceiling of the stairwell! We’d have to cut it into thirds to hang on a wall or prop against in wall in our house. It is crazy long!

It started with the youngest boy…sick.

Shortly after his fever struck we got word that our youngest daughter might be sick too. Another family visited her orphanage and requested to see her (for us), but they were told she was sick and couldn’t be around others. My heart sunk when I read that news. It is a different kind of helplessness than I’ve ever known.

He remained sick all day. Before getting out of bed the next morning I read a blog post by the family that had visited my daughter’s orphanage. This is what she wrote about the visit:

“The room can best be described as looking like a hospital room but smelling like a potty. It was bright white with at least 32 small metal beds…. they had blankets/thin mattresses on them for the winter but in the hot weather they are wooden planks. The beds almost look like baby doll beds… very very low siderails. There was precious baby after precious baby in bed after bed…. Row after row…. enough to break your heart. And it was strangely quiet for that number of babies… some were asleep but many were laying there simply staring. The saddest part was a mentally challenged boy in a baby bed that had to be 7 years old. I had to look away for fear that I might lose it. Missing from the room? TOYS. I literally did not see a single toy or colorful decoration… it was just so sterile and white and I don’t even know how to characterize the smell…. maybe urine with vinegar? Not good for sure.”

Wow. How do you move on after reading something like that? My daughter lives there. She might be sick. I can’t physically care for her like I can the sick little boy that was laying next to me. The weight of it all rendered me incapacitated. I didn’t want to face the day. I just laid in my bed with a sick little boy in my arms. Then the doorbell rang – forcing me to get out of bed. A friend stopped by to bring me flowers and tell me how my Little One weighs heavy on her heart and how she is praying for my girl. I am so thankful for those advocating for my girl…for those advocating for any child without a home.

As the weekend wore on my oldest son, FireCracker and Chris all came down with whatever it was my youngest son had. I tried to joke about how families pass illness around…even when they are on opposite sides of the world. The reality was…4 of my 5 kids were sick. One was a world away and I could do absolutely nothing to comfort her. I think that knowledge made my patience and endurance multiply with the sick ones here. Usually caring for sick ones wears me out pretty quickly. This time I had renewed gratefulness to be able to meet their every need.

As I passed out medicine, woke up all hours of the night, held feverish kids and filled a million glasses of water…I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude to be physically able to care for them. I’ve heard wonderful things about the caretakers at my daughter’s orphanage. I’ve heard they are warm and loving with the kids, but there are a lot of babies and only a few caretakers. And a caretaker is not a mom (0r dad). So, I held my 3 little sicks ones here a bit closer as I prayed for their baby sister and felt overwhelming gratitude I could dry their tears and hold them as fevers broke.
3.12sick-11It feels forever away right now, but soon my baby girl will be home.  And she has older siblings that provide countless hours of laughter in our home even in sickness. In the midst of the long weekend, I found this:

Turns out my oldest son thought his grapes were too cold and he wanted to heat them up a bit – then forgot about them.

I’m grateful for warm grapes to bring a laugh when I sure didn’t feel like laughing. I’m grateful for kids…and their crazy ingenuity!


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  • Erin @ Sew Abundantly - I just love the grapes! What creative kiddos. Praying you *all* are returned to full health.

  • Danielle - Oh dear me, dear me… this was a hard post to read, I can only imagine how you are feeling. Thinking of you and your little ones hoping they are all better soon. The grapes was just what this post needed at the end… perfect bit of comedy. How kids think is awesome!

  • drea :: dre of white stables - It makes me so sad to hear about your baby girl, I’m so sorry…but what a blessing to know that the same Lord who formed her is there with her even now.

    Thank you for this post. All 4 of mine are sick with what looks like the same thing your kids had. I accidentally turned my alarm off this morning so my daughter missed the bus…and now I have to get them all out to take her to school. I feel bad about that…
    I needed this perspective, because the constant whining wears me thin. Thank you.

  • Jana - Good words of reminder for frazzled moms. Sick time is exhausting but there’s also a forced quiet that’s worth experiencing. I’ll be praying for you and for all your babies to be well and together soon.

  • jennifer - this post hurts my heart. It also stirs my heart stir to do something to help. praying for the babies of china.

  • allison - Thank you for the warm grapes. 🙂

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - This morning in my Bible study I was thinking on the act of letting go. And how hard it is to let go of fear and control as a mama. Our adoption journey is teaching me so much about this. Because I can’t control what our birth mom eats or “uses”. I can’t make sure that she is thinking loving thoughts towards our child. And it wrecks me. So I pray for you- you have a face and name of your sweet little one. I can only imagine how much harder that is. Praying for the sweet peace of Jesus to hem you all in as He gathers you as chicks beneath His wings. Praying that for me too…

  • Molly @ mixedmolly - We’ve been passing around sickness here and I’m feeling worn out already…but it’s only 9:07 am. This post just gave me a renewed perspective and a good chuckle at the end.

  • colleen from alabama - “He is writing her days.” I have a daughter in my home, arms and daily life. I carried her in my tummy. She is almost 12. A friend reminded me of the Author of our story (especially hers)the other day. She is in middle school and the world seems scarey to me. I am sure your little one’s world seems scarey to you. HE is writing her story. TRUST. Simple but never easy. Psalm 139:16 “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Praying for you and her right this minute!

  • Sarah Pratt - I know how it feels to be helpless at times. My heart prays for you and your sweet family as you long and ache for your precious baby girl. much love to you!

  • annie - What a sweet post. Great reminder of the GIFT being a mother is. SO many times we just get WORN OUT but it truly is a GIFT to be able to meet their every need. I pray someone is that GIFT to your youngest right now. You will be her gift soon enough!

    Grapes- HILLARIOUS!!! LOVE IT!

  • Christen - thank you for that post. A reminder of how good we have it here – how God’s love is so far reaching and to be thankful for not-too-cold-grapes. What a treasure you share with the rest of us!!!

  • Kristi Schaefer - What a start to my day!!! Already in tears!!! Aidan was sick this weekend too, and I hate I had to miss the final service of “Facing Your Giants”. Luckily, I was able to watch it online!!! I am praying for you, your family, and your new bundle of joy!!! I can’t even imagine how hard the “wait” is! I am sure you just want to wrap her up and bring her home just so you can LOVE on her and take care of her!!! In God’s timing you will be able to do so and I can’t wait for You!!!

  • Abigail C - Awww, poor kids. Poor mom! :/ But your perspective is a good reminder. And the grapes are hilarious!

  • amanda torres - This really puts things into perspective when I get frustrated over the lack of sleep I get sometimes at night. I have been given a gift to not only have healthy children, but a means to care for them. I have plenty of baby items to make my little on comfortable. You are so right. There is no way you can just walk away after being exposed to something like that. Praying for your girl and the others at the orphanage.

  • Lauren - Ashley Ann you are so brave! The story of the children in the “hospital” room just breaks my heart. I can hardly let myself think of it. Praying for you.

  • Molly - The grapes cracked me up!! Praying for your little one and all the little ones without homes. They weigh heavy on my heart.

  • Jennifer - Praying for your baby girl and all those in situations like she is in. My heart breaks for all of them. Like you do I’m sure, I have to hold onto the fact that a loving heavenly Father uses caretakers or strangers to show them rays of His love. What a blessing to know that soon she will be where He has planned for her.

  • Shannon - This brought tears to my eyes. I hope your daughter comes home soon. I can’t imagine how it must feel. And I absolutely loved the grapes at the end. I laughed out loud, this is something my kids would do!

  • ashley heilaman green - Reading this as I’m holding a sleeping, sick baby. Can’t imagine not being able to cuddle my child when he wasn’t well and what that would do to me. Praying all of your kiddos and Chris are well soon.

  • amber - Praying for you. I can only imagine how hard it is to not be there for that baby girl. Yucky yuck. But…God knows where she is & is her constant companion. At least we have hope in all that He is. Can’t wait until you get that girl home!!

  • Amanda - Your daughtersn blanket. Where did you get it? Or the fabric?

  • Shannon - To be reminded what an honor and privilege it is to care for our loved ones. Thank you.

  • Amy Beachy - I am sitting here reading your post and listening to “I Will Lift My Eyes” by Bebo Norman. and praying for your sweet girl and the other children at the orphanage

    HE cares for her and HE holds her in HIS hands. What a blessing….

  • jenny - Praying for sweet baby girl and all of the other children there with her….and for you.

  • Bonnie - Thank you for your amazing reminder that through the good or the bad it is such a wonderful gift to be a mother! Our girl just feel asleep on our brand new couch and had an accident! I will never again complain when cleaning this up! It would be heartbreaking not to be there when she needed me! Your blog is amazing! Thank you!

  • Cassie Allen - I was the one who commented on Instagram that you are so blessed to be able to be with your kids when they are sick. Then I read this. And my heart sank for you. Then I immediately thought this: No matter who gave birth to your daughter, God made her a Campbell. And thus, He made her strong. She will get through this. And when she comes home to you, her world will forever be filled with color.

    My prayers are with you! We are all waiting on the edge of our seats to see your daughter’s face…then to see pictures of your family. Complete. Keep on keeping on, my friend! He’s got this. He’s got you.

  • Allison - Those grapes at the end – perfect. that happens to me a lot. whenever i think i jut can’t handle any more crazy, sadness, heartache…. something like that happens. smiling or laughter really is the best. hope all are well!

  • heather - all i kept thinking while reading this was “thank God we can pray!”
    i feel so helpless for your baby girl and all of the babies sharing that room with her, it’s almost paralyzing. i’m so thankful for a God that knows our hearts, watches over each and every one of us, and listens to our prayers. i’ll be praying my heart out for all of them ashley. thank you for sharing this with us! xoxo
    p.s. those grapes are rad.

  • Vénusia - God is clearly streaching your faith, and ours through you ! Thanks for the sharing !

  • Amy - Praying that your youngest daughter will smell sweet grapes as she breathes in and out, our God can do that! Thank you for such a personal peek into your world. Your faith is blessing all of us.

  • Jamie - Im so sorry your family has been ill, even more so that your sweet girl is still to far away for you to comfort her. I believe though that every time you thought of her, of holding her, drying her tears and loving on her through sickness that God was there with her, doing it your place.

    And the grapes? GENIUS! I love finding oddities like that…it just makes my heart smile!

  • rachelzana - I love your blog. I read it every single day. I am praying for your baby girl, and laughing and laughing and LAUGHING at those grapes taped above the heat vent. Because that is so something that would happen in my house. Thanks for bringing joy to my day.

  • Jackie - I hope your babies are on the mend. It is so tough to have sick kids but to think of our girls millions of miles away and not being able to comfort them is horrible. I want to cry everytime I think of that post, well lately I want to cry everytime I think of her. We are So close yet still so far.

  • Carolina - Love your Blog! Praying for you and your daughter to come home soon, and for those who haven.t had a chance to meet with their family. Higs!!

  • giozi - I hope your children are better today. About the grapes 😉
    I hope you can have your little girl soon with all of you and be together.
    Thing about the pretty anf funny moments that you are going to have with and how happy is going to be she with 4 siblings and a lovely mother.

    A big hug. Don’t feel sad.

  • Kimberlee J. - This turns my heart to puddle and at just the moment when I feel completely helpless for your daughter and for all of those other little ones I am reminded to keep praying. And I will.

  • Kristin S - Precious perspective on caring.

    Grapes. Awesome and creative.

  • mosey - wow, that was an emotion packed read! I’m praying for your little one so far away… I LOVED the sprinkle of laughter at the end

  • Alisa - I am thinking if you sweet wee girl on the other side of the world and hoping she is feeling better.

    What a weird feeling it must be to know she is unwell and just plain not be able to care for her.

    I hope all the wee germys in your home have packed up and left.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Praying Exodus 23:25 over all your family… near and far. “And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.”

  • Aaren - I will pray for good health, safety and love for your daughter. My thoughts are with your little angel.

  • Aaren - …and may God find home’s as good as your’s for all the other little angel’s with your daughter. Bless.

  • tina - oh my. oh my. just came off of weeks of illness circulating in my family. got me thinking about how grateful i am to have healthy kids, with colds/bronchitis/ear infections, high fevers that eventually become normal & healthy, while others face life-threatening illness. others have it worse. that description of the room. oh my.

  • Angela Jones - It broke my heart reading the extract of the blog post from the family that visited your sweet baby girl’s orphanage. It makes you want to rescue every child out there that needs more love in their life. I think you are doing a truly wonderful thing. I pray that it won’t be too much longer till you can hold her in your arms. I love your blog and eagerly await every new post. Thank you.

  • Jenny B. - Oh, Ashley. That room. I can’t fathom. Praying your baby girl is getting some extra love from her caregivers if she’s sick. I heard a radio broadcast tonight that talked about how that each child has a guardian angel fighting for them and that God is always in control. Her angel always sees the Father’s face in heaven (Matthew 18:10).

  • Heather Toller - Praying for your sweet littlest one. And all those babies at the orphanage.

    Firecracker looks so grown up all of a sudden! I guess it is because she is a big sister now!!

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Jen - I found your blog after seeing your littles holding the money sign on pinterest…let’s just say it has been an overwhelming confirmation to me. God has recently put the desire , strong desire in my heart to adopt. I too have 4 littles. 3 boys and a girl too. Please know that even though we do not now each other I am lifting you, your family and your sweet baby girl not home yet up in prayer. You are an inspiration and my family and I will be praying without ceasing!! Feel better!

  • NanaDoll - it is in that helplessness that true faith and trusting can take hold…so difficult to relinquish control (as if I am doing anything anyway)…completely remember going through our two adoptions and the emotions that wreak havoc…praying for your family–each of them

  • Liz Stevens - Your posts make my day so bright. I love hearing about your family and your little girl 🙂 Hope everyone gets to feeling better!
    Do you remember where you got your bed spread on your bed?

  • Bethany - Bless you for opening up your heart to your youngest daughter so much… even to the pain of it all. And your boy is hilarious and ingenious.

  • elizabeth - i *hate* it when my kids are sick…that helpless feeling; just w.a.i.t.i.n.g. for them to be well…seems like the sun is hiding..
    i cannot imagine how magnified that feeling was for your little one so far away. makes my heart sad.
    praying for health & that the days fly by.

  • Oh, International adoption…. | Our Fostering Adventure - […] but Vietnam is closed to American adoptions right now. AHHH!! & like many of you, I read Ashley Ann’s blog. They have 4 bio kids & are adopting a little girl from […]

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  • Agnieszka - I thought somebody was trying to make some raisins 🙂

    I hope with all my hearth that your little one won’t have to go through another illness without her mommy to comfort her!

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