Hi! We’re the Kelley family...Josh, Laura, Harper, Hudson, Solomon, Amon, Everett, Winter & Leo...from Nashville, TN.
On September 14th at 8am here in Nashville the American Heart Association will be hosting yet again their heart walk in order to bring awareness to heart disease. Families and friends will gather and walk in honor or in memory of their beloved heart warriors. And we'll be there just as we have many times before and we'd love to see your face there too.
Our family of nine has three amazing heart warrior boys, Amon, Everett and Leo. Three guys with three different congenital heart defects and a collective six open heart surgeries under their brave belts. I will never forget watching out Amon's hospital room in 2012 as people walked and celebrated their loved ones who had battled heart disease while I watched our own heart warrior son fight his own fight after his open heart surgery. I told Josh Kelley that next year we'd walk...and we did. And we've walked many times since & set up fundraising pages for the American Heart Association & baked goods for bake sales to raise money & given blood & carried heart shaped balloons around with us on the years when we couldn't make the walk, but this year needed something different. This year we're still grieving the loss of our Everett while also celebrating Leo's successful heart surgery and Amon's good report that his next surgery is at least another year out. This year we thought harder about how we could celebrate & remember & honor & bring awareness for the three brave hearted boys we're lucky enough to call our sons.
In 2017, our sweet 3-year-old Everett lost his battle to heart disease. Just 11 days before his 4th birthday we said our goodbyes and I held his sweet body as his incredibly brave heart beat its last. We were instantly changed forever. Our family would never be the same and we're still grieving the loss of the most amazing son & brother. In 2018, we brought home our 3rd lion hearted boy, Leo. He and Everett were in the same beautiful children's home together in China and were connected in such a special way. Leo talks about his Shuai every day and it thrills our hearts.
While trying to prepare to bring Leo home we kept the process very quiet and mostly to ourselves. We were grieving the loss of one child so heavily, while pursing our next son. We were carrying and still carry grief and loss and joy and excitement so closely together and it's hard. These parallel feelings which bounce you back and forth so quickly. We decided to try and figure out how to pay for Leo's adoption completely solo because sometimes you just need space and some quiet and this was our time.
In the past we had to fundraise for our other adoption processes. This time it became like a full time job figuring out how to pay for everything. We applied for more grants than I could count and we sold things and I made things to sell and we scraped together every penny, but it was really really difficult...coupled with a house full of grief & sadness and missing our Everett boy. So this year in honor of larger than life heart warriors, we're going big or going home all in the name of love.
We know a really beautiful family...absolutely dear people to us...and we're going to try...along with your help...to fund their adoption process. A sweet little CHD love with a beautifully broken heart has rocked a world and family has been formed yet again. These hearts are the luckiest to have one another and we want to try and play a very small role in easing the financial burden that can be really heavy to carry alone. We want to join them as hope holders and help stand in this gap in a very tangible way.
We're asking you to join us by linking arms and hearts with this family. We're asking you to share and/or give whatever you can. No gift is too big, no gift is too small and we do not believe in over sharing. :) We're asking you to see the value and worth in brave-hearted children who literally make us the luckiest parents on earth. We're asking you to sing a really Brave Song with us. We're asking you to see how lucky we are in being able to come along side one another in love.
So for the entire month of September, to celebrate and honor and bring awareness to hearts who fight so hard, we'll be singing our own Brave Song and trying something that feels a tad outlandish together along with you. All funds raised will go directing to the family...it will never cross our hands...and their adoption expenses. (International adoption fees, post placement fees, in-country fees, etc.) The family has an account set up specifically for adoption funds & all money will filter directly into it from here. I'm excited to honor some of the strongest & bravest hearts I've had the privilege to love and so hope you will join us. I have a feeling...no matter what...it's going to be really good!!!
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