Sweet Noelle {an unbroken heart}

Stories. Good stories are among my favorite things. While we were waiting to bring our youngest daughter home from China, I began reading the story of another family waiting to bring home their daughter. Their oldest daughter, Meredith, had spent a summer working at a special needs orphanage in China. On her first day there, she met a little girl – a fighter. A little girl born with only half a heart. There are so many beautiful parts to this story, that I can’t do it justice. Let’s just say that Meredith was head over heels for that little fighter, Brooke. Brooke’s heart needed healing and Meredith’s heart needed Brooke. In an amazing story, not long after Meredith returned home her parents adopted Brooke.

You need to just pause here; click here and go read Meredith’s words.

Brooke“People that I will never meet this side of heaven donated funds to give my Brooke a chance to live. They gave her a priceless gift that can never be repaid. She was given a future full of beautiful hope.” ~ Meredith

I followed Brooke’s story online, not knowing her family lived in my town. Seven weeks after joining her family, Brooke had surgery in the same hospital my oldest daughter spent a month the year before.  Even crazier, one of my good friends walked alongside Brooke’s family as a nurse in the PICU during Brooke’s surgery. I remember my friend telling me about an amazing family with an incredible story that I would just love. It was easy to put the pieces together and realize which family she was talking about in her stories.

Brooke is home. She was given a future full of hope. She was given a future when she didn’t have a family. Many donated to Brooke’s first surgery while she was in the foster home. They saved her life and now she is home with her family.


Now working hard to advocate and help other children born with heart defects, Meredith is passionate about providing hope and healing to children with CHD (Congenital Heart Defect). She is currently using her voice, her time and her talents to advocate for a sweet baby girl named Noelle.



“Sweet Noelle is a precious baby girl born in China with a very broken heart. Noelle currently lives at New Day South, a foster home for special needs orphans in Southern China. She is waiting for her second open heart surgery to give her a future and a hope. We are hoping to raise some of the money necessary to cover her surgery, which will cost $10,000.”

For those that would like more information about Noelle, here are some links:

a collection of blog posts from her New Day South foster home that feature Noelle

click here for Meredith’s blog

You can click here to donate towards Noelle’s surgery

with a $25.00 donation, you will also get your choice from several cute prints – click here from info about that


I get so excited and inspired when I hear stories about how passions collide with purpose…about how a volunteer trip to a Chinese foster home led to a family united and many children’s hearts being healed. It challenges me – I want passion with purpose and purpose with passion. When passion and purpose collide, beautiful things come out of the crash.

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  • Lizél-Antoinette Bertie - ‘When passion and purpose collide, beautiful things come out of the crash.’
    This is such a profound sentence, and so very true. Thank you for the inspiration from your blog!
    I think you are living life beautifully.

  • Katie - THANK YOU for sharing. What an amazing story of love and hope.

  • Sarah Roberson Martin - Just so precious… Mending little hearts is such a miracle…

  • amber - Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. I think I started crying after reading the title! Sheesh…and thank you for the chance to give. I love everything about this!

  • Somer - My own daughter has Down syndrome and also had a very serious heart defect. Watching her go through open heart surgery at 8 months old and just how quickly she recovered, I am just still in awe of her. A fighter. Thanks for posting this! Donation made!

  • Caitlin Weaver - My son has the same heart defect. He’s 6 months old and has had two open heart surgeries so far. I can’t even imagine having to pay for his surgeries (in most states, children with this defect automatically qualify for Medicaid regardless of income because it is so serious). I often think about adopting a child with a heart defect in the future. Thank you for sharing this story!!

  • CM - Thanks, Ashley, for sharing this! I was overwhelmed when I read this post.

  • Nicole C - I was in California for a few days and was behind on reading your blog. I sit here at work, every morning and read. Well today, and the past couple stories, has provided my heart and soul a peace that it needed. Much appreciated.

  • April - Ashley, we have never connected in any way. I think I randomly found your blog about a year ago through either another blog or instagram. So, it was just crazy to see my own sweet friend Meredith on your blog! Brooke’s story is full of God moments. I remember being blown away as Meredith would tell me each incredible update as they were bringing Brooke home.
    Anyway, thanks for sharing Meredith’s heart!

  • darcy - Such a beautiful post. I visited a special needs orphanage in China and was very humbled by the experience. Even though the orphanage was short staffed and the children had many health problems like the baby girls you wrote about, they were so happy and smiling. Way to go Brooke, for using your voice for children who wouldn’t have one otherwise. 🙂

  • Kristen - Such an amazing story. I have been following your blog for a long time and I recently took your phone photography course. Which was wonderful!) and was completely taken by your adoption story. I have a beautiful baby boy who has several complex congenital heart defects. I was dreaming of adopting a baby girl like you did and was wondering if there were babies with CHDs in the orphanages. And then, just like that, Noelle appeared. I ran to donate money and read more and more about her. I will try and see what else I can do to help. Thank you for sharing her story. My baby boy is now 8 years old and thriving. He has surgery at 5 days old and several follow up catheterizations. You can read about our story here:


    Your just an amazing giving person. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. xoxo Kristen

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