~ Please Help US Bring Cadence Home Safely ~

My morning started like any other, my alarm trilled at promptly 6:30am and I grappled with my covers to retrieve my phone to end the nightmarish music resonating from it. It couldn’t possibly be 6:30am already I thought as I was finally able to locate the phone and cease the shrilling notes. As many of you probably do, I checked my email and missed text from the comfort of my cozy bed. Next I checked my Facebook accounts to see if there was any impending messages or notifications that needed my attention. After taking care of that, as is customary for me, my curiosity got the best of me and I went to my news feed. As I was scrolling through the tirade of rants and soapbox heroes I came across a post that Darrci Ashlock shared. It was a post that her husband Ben Ashlock had posted about a GoFundMe titled “Please help us bring an orphan home”.

I’ve known Ben professionally for many years. Ben Ashlock, for those of you who don’t’ know him, is the General Manager of Colton’s Steak House in Elizabethtown, KY. He has supported many of my efforts as well as hosted and catered several events and meetings I’ve attended. I’ve followed him and his family’s adventures, adoptions and births. Celebrating along with them silently, trolling through their numerous posts and pics on social media. Each one more endearing and emotional, so when I clicked on the link it took me to their GoFundMe page where I read this plea ~

 

It all started here, with the birth of Jade. Darrci wanted to be a mom. I wanted to be a dad. Shortly after this picture was taken, Darrci fought for and got a minivan. I didn’t think we were ready for all that. She knew it would be filled fast. After all, we planned on fostering, adopting, and having biological children along the way as well.
Years later, and with ten kids at the house, a daughter and even a granddaughter outside of the house, we wondered if our time was nearing the end for births and adoptions. And then our eyes were opened…
Through friends going through the adoption process and through a documentary we can never unsee, we found out about the plight of orphans in Eastern Europe. Our hearts broke as we realized that as bad as it is in America for children in the system, it’s literally a life or death situation elsewhere. We have to act. (James 4:17)
We have been able to provide for our family over the years without asking for much help along the way, but pride is going to forever have to take a backseat. The child were looking to adopt that we would name Cadence doesn’t have the time. And as her name suggests, we have to become disciplined. We are cutting expenses wherever we can and will forever change our lives to bring her home. We fear we won’t be able to move fast enough, though, and we humbly ask for your help in getting our little girl home. In addition to the cerebral palsy she was born with, she’s now in an institution that doesn’t have the ability to keep her healthy. She has lost significant weight in the last months from the pictures we’ve seen, and frankly doesn’t have much time.
So if you could partner with us and help us get a little girl home, we’re asking for your help. Anyone that knows us knows we wouldn’t ask for a dime usually. This is not about us, though. We expect fees, travel, and various expenses to be in excess of $20,000. Possibly up to $30,000. We don’t have that kind of money, but she doesn’t have time for us to save. Will you help us?
In the event we are not able to save her in time or if something goes awry in the process, money will be going towards helping a different child or children from Eastern Europe. We are going to do anything and everything we can to bring a child home to safety, and we are grateful for any help we can get. We’re officially starting the process today. Please pray for us as well and most importantly. Thank you!

As you can imagine this message pulled at my heart strings. This is a family who is willing to not only take on another adopted child but a little girl, fighting for her life in wretched conditions with cerebral palsy. Ben and Darrci Ashlock have 7 biological children, the youngest, Presley, only 7 months old, 2 adopted children, 2 they are fostering, one amazing young man they raised and a grandbaby. I asked Ben to give me the names and ages of all of their children. He did and the most noteworthy part is that he never once mentioned which were biological because in their eyes it doesn’t matter, all of these kids are their children!

Blake(21), Kristen(18), Katelynn(18) Ashley(16), Shelby(16), Jade(12), Aaidan(10), Skyler(6), Tanner(5), Willow(3), Monroe(2), and as I mentioned Presley(7mo).

“Which means I’m severely outnumbered” Ben says with a laugh. With nine females, including his wife Darrci and 5 males, including Ben means when little Cadence is able to come home, I think he’s accurate in that assessment!

Many of us are blessed as they are with the ability to have children. But what of these children near and abroad that have no one to love them, nurture them and give them a safe haven to call home. I commend the Ashlock family’s courage and fortitude to embark on this quest to save a child and bring her home!

Ben recently wrote about a young man who donated his last $8. “Today a young man gave me $8. I trembled knowing it was the equivalent of the widows’ mite. I wanted to tell him not to worry about it, but had to remember that God will repay him way more than I ever could. He heard my story and wanted to help. I’m pretty sure it was all he had. It broke me to see such concern and encouraged me to the core. That $8 will multiply again and again, both for a Ukraine orphan and for the person who gave it to me.”

I’ve visited the GoFundMe page now multiple times in preparation for this article and I too wondered how could one family be so generous as to take on such a journey, then I read this update from Ben ~ Looking at this picture of all my kids, you would think I would believe I have my hands too full to take care of another child, especially one with special needs. That’s not what I see at all in this picture, I see partners in ministry. I see loving siblings ready to step up to the plate and selflessly give their love and share their lives with a child in need. I see a strong and willing family unit ready to take on the challenge with joy and determination.”

What I see is an amazing couple with an amazing family ready and willing to take on any diversity that stands in their way when it comes to loving and helping the children most in need. If only we could all be so selfless, this world could certainly be a better place for all of us!

Our hope here at HEMMAG is to help the Ashlock family spread the word so they can raise the much needed money to save Cadence! Every dollar counts, if you find it in your heart to donate please visit gofundme.com/please-help-us-bring-an-orphan-home