Friday, August 4, 2017

Elynn's Celebration of Life

Did you find one of the balloons from Elynn's memorial service?

Please comment here and let us know where you found it!

I just can't say enough thank yous to all of the people who helped to make Elynn's service perfect.

To God be all the glory!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

A tribute to Elynn by Gary Clark

Did you find one of the balloons from Elynn's memorial service?

Please comment here and let us know where you found it!

A personal note from Gary Clark

{my sweet dad emailed this to all of his clients and it is just too sweet to not share}

Financial planning and investment management are important. Work is important. Providing for your family…. very important. But we need to check up on a regular basis to make sure we are not neglecting some very important things that money can’t buy.

A little more than ten years ago our daughter, Jenny was pregnant with her second child and going through a divorce. So, we agreed to move in together to share expenses and so that my wife, Emily could help with the children. About four years ago Jenny, along with a commitment from Emily, me and the two children, began her ministry of serving special needs children, including those with significant health challenges. I now have two grandchildren who are natural-born and two who are adopted. The two adopted ones have Down Syndrome. JoJo is quite healthy but the other one, not so much…two heart surgeries along with a lung disease are the major challenges for Zee. Zee spent most of his first year of life in the hospital. His future was dim until Jenny brought him home, along with lots of medical equipment.

Jenny, along with Emily’s help, has taken loving care of quite a few foster children for various periods of time. About a year ago Jenny agreed to take responsibility for the care of a two-year-old baby with Downs and with very fragile health. Elynn's heart and lung condition was severe, his needs were many and his life expectancy was short. He didn't have much hope for having a family or even for having a good place to live. Jenny brought him home and, along with the help of Emily, gave him a family, a good place to live, good medical care and all the love and affirmation with which any any son could be blessed. He   spent a lot of time in the hospital, including two heart surgeries as well as other surgeries and procedures. He never gained the strength to walk—in fact, he never even crawled. He moved around by rolling and by scooching. However, he didn’t go far because he was attached to oxygen. He never took any food or liquids by mouth. No ice cream, no candy, not even a bottle. Anything swallowed went into his lungs due to a deformity that apparently couldn’t be fixed. Of course, he took food though a tube directly into his stomach. He suffered a lot of pain and discomfort. He struggled to breath.

Thursday morning, June 29, Elynn’s frail little body finally gave out. He went to be with our Lord Jesus….

Jesus wiped every tear from his eyes.
No more pain, no more discomfort.
He doesn’t need extra oxygen, he can breathe just fine now.
No more trips to the hospital.
No more surgeries or procedures.
He can now laugh normally without having to take a breath between every “ha”.

I was influenced by Elynn. Even though he was very weak physically, he was mentally strong. When he felt relatively well, he would be smiling, happy and playing as best he could. He was very liberal with throwing kisses to anyone who would give him some attention. What he wanted most was expressions of our love…hugs and kisses. When he felt neglected, he would sometimes be quite vocal about it but all we had to do was to pick him up or lie down beside him on the floor—just look at him and talk to him and be close enough for him to touch us.

In human terms, Elynn got a very bad deal in life--but he didn’t do much whining. I often wondered why he didn’t cry more, especially when I would notice a grimace from some internal pain. I have had a very good deal in life but I have spent too much time whining, complaining and feeling sorry for myself. I think I will be a better person due to the influence of my foster-grandson Elynn. His first word that I remember was, Papa. I like that.

Someone may say, “he is only a foster child”. But, he is family…I can assure you that we love him accordingly.

To everyone who is still reading, I want to thank you for caring. Please show your concern for someone who is less fortunate than you—especially children--especially family. I can assure you that no one wants be alone when death is imminent. Too many times, I have made up an excuses for attending a funeral...I'll bet you have too. Our conditions are terminal too--it's just a matter of time. They need to be remembered and we need to be reminded. 

Love must be sincere.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
Honor one another above yourselves.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction.
Share with God’s people who are in need.
Practice hospitality.
Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.
Do not be proud but be willing to associate with people of low position.
Romans 12

May God bless you richly,
Gary Clark

{memorial celebration will be held on Monday July 10th at 1pm at The Church at Brook Hills}

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Story of Brighten Storie

Me, T (birth mom), Jessica and brand new Brighten

I have been trying to write this down since September, but haven't quite been able to find the words.

Now that Mother's Day is upon us again, the time seems right to tell this awesome God orchestrated least my side of it.

Last Summer I was contacted by Jojo's birth mother. She was expecting a baby and she didn't feel like she was in a good place to parent this child. Jojo would have a full biological sibling very soon.

I can't quite express the range of emotions that I went through when I heard that news! If I'm being totally honest, I actually toyed with the idea of adopting the new baby although I was not prepared to "start over" again so to speak. But gracious this would be Jojo's SIBLING.

I prayed a lot and God made the answer crystal clear. Biology doesn't make family, love does.

With so many families waiting to adopt a baby, I knew helping Jojo's mom find the perfect family for his sister was the right thing to do.

I thought this part would be easy. I attend a really big church and I feel like the families who don't have adoption as part of their story are in the minority! I truly thought that I would toss the info out there to a handful of people and BAM the obvious perfect family that had been right under my nose the whole time would appear. But God....

The baby was due in September....and it was August! So I was tasked with finding a Christ following family that was already paperwork ready to adopt, who lived near me (so Jojo and baby could know each other as they grow up), who was willing and able to up and go to Texas when it was baby time AND stay there for at least 2 weeks. And that was all the easy stuff. It also had to be a family who was wiling to "roll with" the craziness of this particular adoption situation.

Most adoptions take place through an agency and those are the people who walk you through all the paperwork, all the uncertainties, travel plans...everything. Well we didn't have time for all that, plus it would make the adoption significantly more expensive for the family that God chose to parent this baby. So it had to be a family who could find a way to TRUST GOD big time, and in a way to trust me as well.

And of course, God provided just that.

I had a handful of God fearing women who walked with me through these weeks, and I will be forever grateful to them. Because of them, I found my way to Jason and Jessica. We spoke on the phone about the craziness of the situation and they didn't seem too terrified, so we decided to meet for dinner a few days later. I knew after talking to them for a short time over Thai food that they were the ones. And the rest is history {which Brighten's mom has documented beautifully with tons of pictures in the posts below! When she refers to"C" that is me ;-)}

Brighten's Storie: Part One
Brighten's Storie: Part Two
Brighten's Storie: Part Three
Brighten's Storie: Part Four

So, this Mother's Day I feel compelled to tell our birth mom again how much we appreciate her. I can't imagine life without Jojo, and I can't imagine not being Brighten's "Auntie Grandma". You made the most selfless sacrifice not once, but twice, and we are forever changed because of your choice.

This is the letter I wrote to "T" three years ago for Mother's Day:

Dear Birth Mom: Happy Mother's Day

I just love the way God knits families together don't you?

Brighten on left. Jojo on right.

Brighten and Jojo meet.
Me, T and Jojo


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Beauty from Ashes- A review of "The Lucky Few" by Heather Avis

In her first book “The Lucky Few”, Heather Avis takes us along on her journey through infertility, adoption and the unexpected gift of having not one but two children with designer chromosomes.
I consider Heather a friend, although we have never met in real life. The Down syndrome community is just awesome that way. So when I was given the opportunity to read her new book before its release I was elated and honored. I expected a book about Down syndrome, but what I read was so much more.

This book takes us on the bumpy but beautiful road that ultimately leads Heather and her husband Josh to the adoption of their seriously gorgeous children Macyn, Truly and August.
I was surprised to find in the first few chapters that this book really reads like a work of fiction, in a “I can’t wait to see what is going to happen next” kind of way. The way that God knit this family together is so crazy, but in a God crazy kind of way, that makes it a page turner from the Introduction to the Acknowledgements. 

This story is not just about Down syndrome any more than it is just about the very real struggle of infertility or the seriously risky business of adoption. It is about a woman who, like me, knew she always wanted to be a mom, and a great big God who she chose to trust, sometimes through tears and gritted teeth, every step of the way.

Change the names, add a few kids, take away the supportive and handsome husband and mix in foster care and this is my story. But the amazing thing about this book? It will become your story too. Because we all have those beauty from the ashes times in our lives. Yes, they all look different, but the end result is the same. If we choose to trust our God (who’s plans are often different than ours, but ALWAYS better) then we can all find ourselves in some of the most beautiful and hard places, where His light can truly shine. This is the place where He will be glorified and we will be blessed in the most unimaginable ways. 

“The Lucky Few” will be released on March 21st, World Down syndrome Day. Please visit to read Chapter 1 today! You can also pre-order the book and get access to other fun goodies. Also, be sure to follow @macymakesmyday on Instagram to meet the beautiful family whose journey created this amazing story.