Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reading a book called More Than a Memory: The Candace Kate Story. It was written by a familiar name in the homeschool world, Nancy Fileccia, the co-owner of A Journey Through Learning. I feel blessed to have been able to review this book as a part of the launch team, and I’m here to share a little more about it today.
More Than a Memory begins with a quick overview of Fileccia’s life prior to adopting Candace Kate. She tells about how unremarkable her life had been. She had married a medical study, Randy, and they had seen each other through his long years of school and residencies. They had given birth to two young daughters and adopted an infant from Guatemala. They had begun to homeschool, out of necessity due to the side effects of medication that their older daughter had begun to take to deal with her Tourette syndrome.
God was already shaping their lives and preparing their hearts to be parents to Candace Kate. They just didn’t know it yet. They both happened to see the same email newsletter from an adoption agency that they had worked with before that resonated with them. It was a picture of a little blind girl, and they felt sure that they were called to bring her home. God worked out the details, and that little girl would become theirs.
Fileccia spends much of the first half of the book detailing Candace’s developmental delays and their struggle to bond with her. This is great information for anyone who has adopted or is going through an adoption. You’re able to compare the different experiences the Fileccia’s had with different countries, different aged children, etc.
By a third of the way through the book, things seem to be going smoothly. You really feel like the family is on the path to having a joyous life with all four of their children. Then, the doctor notices how much weight Candace is suddenly loosing and refers her to a specialist. The specialist puts her in the hospital immediately for intensive feeding and monitoring.
Two weeks later, the Fileccias are shocked to receive a terminal diagnosis. The diagnosis is adjusted, fine-tuned over time, but is always regressive and terminal. The remainder of the book spends time detailing their care of Candace, the progression of her Battens disease and even journals through the final difficult months of Candace’s life.
I found reading this book to be very painful and yet also very encouraging. Candace was always going to have Battens disease, whether it was in an orphanage in China or as part of the Fileccia family. God knew that. God knew the pain that she would go through dying, and he knew the pain that the Fileccias would go through watching their daughter go through this sickness and die.
Still, his hand was upon the Fileccia’s adoption, and he brought her home to them as part of their forever family. They didn’t have many years together, but they had great memories. They had great love. God cared enough for this child to send her to a family that would care for her and love her and nurse her through her illness until he took her home.
I think that’s the part that makes me cry. When I read Nancy Fileccia’s story, I see God’s hand all over it. I think about all the times we hurt and are in pain and he sends just the right person to encourage us and to take care of us. I think about how when we feel that we can’t bear another moment with the load that we have that then is when we feel God’s grace.
Then, instead, I cry tears of happiness when I think of how perfectly God put Candace and the Fileccias together. I am joyful that this precious child got to spend the last five years of her life feeling loved and cared for as she fought the disease that eventually took her life.
I also love a side tale that spins off of the main tale. The company, A Journey Through Learning, which is a place where I have bought many lapbook products, was born during Candace’s illness. Through the long days of being at the hospital with Candace, Nancy and her best friend Paula, began creating lapbooks that have blessed so many people’s homeschooling. I take that as an example of how God always brings something good out of all the experiences that you’re going through.
If you have a child you’re advocating for through an illness, an adoptive child that you’re trying to bond with or if you’re just wanting to read a beautiful story of God’s provision for a child’s life, this is a great book for you to sit down with and read. You can purchase it on the Candace Kate Story website. Printed copies are currently $13.95 and an instant download PDF is priced at $5.95. You can also purchase the book on Kindle or Kobo for $5.95.
Disclosure: I received this book free of charge as a member of the Candace Kate launch team in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review, and I’m disclosing this information to be in compliance with FTC regulations. There may be affiliate links in this post, but there probably aren’t because I don’t use them that often.