Today I have a special privilege to tell you about my friends, the Estes family. Several years ago I “met” Kate Estes on an email group for Christian self-publishers. In the summer of 2006, several of us were expecting. In July of 2006, I gave birth to our 6th child.. And a few weeks later, Kate gave birth to her 7th child, Noah. Her delivery was nothing short of miraculous. God spared both her life and Noah’s life. In February of 2007, I was honored to meet the entire Estes family in person in the Western North Carolina Bookfair in Asheville, NC. Even though we were both vendors that day, we found time to talk and get to know one another. Noah was this sweet little baby in a hand-crocheted sweet pea baby bunting. One thing that struck me then was how small Noah was compared to my own baby.
At that time, the Estes family had concern about Noah’s size, but it was not until he was being considered for a feeding tube in April of 2007 that they found out that Noah had serious medical issues. His internal organs were not in the normal placement for organs. He was not a candidate for certain feeding tubes due to anatomical issues. Further testing over the course of months and years eventually gave the Estes family a diagnosis for their precious son. Noah was diagnosed with a progressive and ultimately terminal condition called mitochondrial encephalomyopathy. Since I do not have a medical degree, I will not go into a medical explanation of mitochondria. As a mother, I cannot fathom hearing that my child has a terminal condition. My heart has been heavy for Noah throughout his journey. I have prayed for him and his precious family for a long time.
Noah’s condition would be considered fragile. He has had many, many hospitalizations during his little more than 3 years of life. He has seen many doctors and specialists. And his parents have learned how to do many medical procedures at home in order to keep him at home as much as possible. Their family has been blessed with another child since Noah’s birth, so their family now has 10 members. It is very important that Noah’s parents are available to take him to the doctor or hospital on a moment’s notice.
A few years ago, Noah’s dad, Jeff, was working for a company and his position was downsized, and he was laid off. In this economy, most of you know how hard it is to find employment. He was able to do more with their home-based business, Hands and Hearts. But there were changes to federal law last year that forced them to shut down their business for several months. They make hands-on history kits, and the kits are for children aged 12 and under. Since then, there has been a temporary stay on this federal law, and they are once again operating Hands and Hearts from home. But it has not recovered back to its former level of business. The economy has been hard on many homeschool publishers.
Noah’s condition is so fragile that he is often in the hospital with Kate caring for him and Jeff at home caring for the other children.. So while God has worked many circumstances out to provide financially for the Estes family. God has also used many of us to bless the Estes family. That is why I am writing today. The Estes family has been working with many Christian self-publishers to provide a special package for anyone who donates a minimum of $39 to the Estes family. This would enable them to take care of financial obligations and allow Jeff to continue to run Hands and Hearts from home while also starting an additional business that he can run from home. From personal experience, running a business from home requires a lot of time and attention. And Kate can do some of the Hands and Hearts operations, but her focus is to care for her children and Noah’s medical needs. Jeff is really the backbone of Hands and Hearts. They are both prayerfully seeking God’s will for their lives and the lives of their children.
There are few people in this world who have stood firm in the faith during trials as Jeff and Kate have stood. They have always given praise and glory to God even when the situation was dire. There were many times that I expected “the call” that Noah had gone Home. God has plans for this special child, and He has brought him back from illnesses that doctors did not expect recovery. There will be those who read this who have something negative to say to the Estes family. They really do not need that type of “attention.” You can leave any negative comments here on my blog, or you can email them to me. I know this family is the “real deal.” My life has been blessed and enriched from knowing them. And I know many, many people can say the same thing. Please prayerfully consider if God wants to use you to bless this family. While there is a suggested minimum donation, any donation is appreciated. For the special package made available by the self-publishing family, you are asked to make a minimum donation of $39.
For more details, here is the page you need to visit: