Once Upon A Prayer

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

It's a BOY!

I am accustomed to parenting girls.
Sundresses, hair bows, wiggly pants, tea parties,
princesses, baby dolls, nail polish, lip gloss...
did I mention hair bows?

I honestly never envisioned myself with a son.
Until, this little man absolutely captured my heart...

I have a fun way that we will reveal his name soon,
but for now we will call him "Noah"
since that is the name his foster home has given him.

Very similar to our Lily Grace, hundreds of families turned down his file because of the scary terminal diagnosis that came attached with each cardiologist's review.  Even though "Noah's" file was designated to a very large adoption agency, none of their families chose to proceed with his adoption.  His file disappeared, until an advocate friend of mine named Brooke found him on another agency's designated list.  Ironically, it was on Brooke's advocacy website that I first fell in love with Lily Grace.  This sweet lady is very dear to my heart!

After "Noah's" file had been found, Jacques and I had a prayerful decision to make.  At the time, Lily had been turned down by three medical centers to be listed for a heart transplant.  I was currently living in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit with Lily, and her future was extremely uncertain.  Our plate was already full and often times overflowing with the responsibility of just trying to keep Lily Grace alive.  We could have easily decided that bringing another critically ill child into our home was crazy, and I think that most of you would have supported us and agreed.  But three years ago, when Jacques and I started down the journey of adoption, we decided that we wanted to live reckless for Jesus.  We chose to put our comfort, security, and financial stability on the line and risk everything to give God the opportunity to show up.  And let me tell you friends, not only did He show up, He has blessed us abundantly in ways that we never dreamed possible.  Jacques and I are at a place right now where we have to rely on God for everything.  Even our day to day living is impossible without Him.  In adopting these children, we have taken on WAY more than we can handle alone.  

But His grace is sufficient, 
and His power is made perfect in our weakness!

Our little dude turned two years old this past February.  He has a combination of heart defects that are very familiar to Jacques and I.  "Noah" has a single ventricle heart just like Lily Grace, and a complete AV canal, which is the same heart defect our Addy Hope had before she passed away.  Unlike Lily, "Noah" has not had any heart surgeries in China.  As a matter of fact, China has deemed him inoperable.  It's hard to tell from the darling, smiling photos but "Noah" fights for his life with each breath he takes.  The medical reports we have on him state that his oxygen saturation is in the 50's-60's resting, and he is very short of breath most of the time.  Lily's cardiology team at the National Children's Medical Center has reviewed his medical file, and they are very anxious for us to bring him home so he can have a heart catheterization.  There are six factors that could in fact exclude "Noah" from being a candidate for the Glenn Procedure open heart surgery, but we will not know for sure until after his heart catheterization.  Due to the progressive nature of what the cardiology team believes is severe ventricular outflow obstruction in the setting of single ventricle physiology, we are desperate to get our boy home ASAP.

Yes sweet boy, that's YOUR Papa and Mommy!

Please follow along, as our family's love story
takes us to China and back again!

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, 
for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, 
so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, 
insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. 
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10


  1. I just LOVED him when we met him when we went to adopt our Corrie! He is a little spunky bundle of fun! He loved his book, and kept wanting me to look through the pictures with him again and again. Get ready for a boy, because that is what he is, through and through! :) We will be praying for you all as you start this journey together!

  2. praying with the world to bring him home....

  3. many congratulations!

  4. An amazing family with an Amazing God. Bless you as you care for these little ones. When in China the past 10 days we saw many that were like Lily and Noah. Their little faces say it all,"Please Help Me".

  5. So glad this little happy but sick boy is getting a family who can give him the love and medical care he deserves!

  6. What a testimony you have...reckless for Jesus! I love that share your testimony in those terms...our God is an awesome God. We will be praying for "Noah" to be here as soon as he is able in God's infinite timing.

  7. My daughter also lived at the same foster home as "Noah" (she has been home for 3 years now). I spent a week with Noah over CNY a few months ago. We all fell in love with your boy! What a little sweetie!! My email is: mcintirehouse@gmail.com. I have some pics of him I could share with you.

  8. I am so honored to be a part of your two heart angel's stories and journey to your amazing family! I love how God orchestrated all of this! Praying for Lily right now too- I think of her and your family all the time. -Brooke :)

  9. Nightly prayers for your family. His character jumps of the screen - he is a joy! You do realize that he may very well need a brother to help balance things out being surrounded by all those girls at home.....just saying! xox ;-)

  10. Congrats! Will be following your journey!

  11. Are you sure you're living recklessly for Jesus? Do you know there is a psychological disorder called M√ľnchausen by proxy where mothers make their children sick for attention? Obviously you are not making these children sick, but you are garnering attention, love, sympathy and even fundraising opportunities through your sick daughter.

    And now you are adopting another boy who is also severely ill? As a former Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care RN, I am well aware what is involved in heart transplants and congenital heart defect surgery. It is very intense for the families and children physically and emotionally and even financially.

    What about your other 3 children? How much love and attention are you able to give them at this time? And now you are going to throw another critically ill child in the mix when your youngest has just received a new heart and is barely out of the woods? I'm confused as to how this is "living recklessly for Jesus". Your husband is a pastor? I imagine having a such a sick child brings all kinds of attention to your family. Are you sure it is up to you to continue to save children from China with severe heart issues? Isn't God big enough to provide? Don't your "healthy" children need a Mommy too? What about their emotional health? How will they look back on their childhood and the decisions you made? Please prayerfully consider these issues before you bring another child into this situation?

    1. Emma, I sincerely hope you take everything Jacques to heart. As Respiratory Care Practitioner for 20 years and a Health Educator for 15 years I am in awe of the compassion this family has. Rhonda

    2. Emma James, do you really think someone would go through what this family has with their daughter to get attention? Or someone that loving would neglect their other children? Why assume the worst when all I have seen is the best, the most loving, the most caring? They are bringing home this boy to be part of their family and they are uniquely qualified to help him as well, a very big bonus for everyone. Everyone in this family has benefited from their adoptions, everyone wins. I do not understand judging someone in such a negative fashion when they have sacrificed so much and assuming such a terrible thing of them. I see nothing but love and devotion and sacrafice and following God's will.

  12. Emma James,

    My name is Jacques. I am Emily's husband and father to our beautiful girls and boy on the way. I appreciate the questions you raise in your post. They are good questions. However, the tone of the questions and the assumptions you make are alarming.

    The assumption that this is something my wife and I are doing because through it we are "garnering attention and love and sympathy" is a judgement that is not your place to make. Only God knows the heart of a person. It's not our role to point out or assume someone's motives. That is reserved for God alone. It's one thing to ask an honest question to someone about what their motive is behind something they are dong. It is an entirely different thing to make an accusation about someone you don't even know. You don't know my wife, me, or our family. You know "about" us, and that is not the same thing.
    I respect that you have been a Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care RN. I am thankful that you had the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those children and families along the way. And while being a nurse may give you insight into taking care of these sick children from a medical standpoint, it does not give you the frame of reference to speak into what it takes to be their parent. And it does not give you the insight to judge a family you do not know, and their ability to raise their kids.

    Yes, we have children outside of Lily who do not require what Lily does as far as medical attention, time, and cost. Your inflammatory question, "Don't your healthy children need a mommy" is particularly troubling. They have a mommy. I understand the concern you have for them receiving the attention they need from their mommy. But the assumption that they are attention deprived from mommy is way off base. Do they miss mommy or papa when one or either of us is at the hospital? You bet. But they wouldn't trade the time they have at the hospital, loving on their sister, doing shows for mommy, making cards, etc. for anything. They openly express when they need one on one time with either Emily or myself, and it is a priority to us that they get it. Our family does not look like a prototypical 2 kids and a dog with a white picket fence in the suburbs family - but we don think it has to! Our schedule is different! Our priorities are different. Where and how we have our family time is different. But we love it and our girls love it. And the assumption that because we are pouring love and time into our sick child, that our healthy ones are somehow suffering psychologically and relationally is just plain wrong.
    This experience has opened the eyes of our "other" girls to a side of the world they didn't know existed. One conversation with our neighbors, with their school teachers, with their Sunday school teachers, or with their extended family would reveal to you that they are more sensitive, kind, loving, and giving as a result. As parents, we delight in what this has taught our kids and how it has shaped them.

    I also want to address your comment "Are you sure it is up to you to continue to save children from China with severe heart issues? Isn't God big enough to provide?" God is big. And he does provide! But guess how - he does it through people who are willing. He always has and he always will! James 1:27 tells us, "Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this - to look after orphans and widows in their distresses and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world". Psalm 68:5-6 says that God looks after the parentless by placing the lonely in families. How God provides is simple. We simply decided as a family that we want in on that. We want to be a part of God's plan for providing for these kids! You are right. We can't rescue all of the sick orphans in China - or across the world for that matter. But we will do what we can!

    (continued below)

    1. As for the fundraising we are doing for our sick daughter. From hundreds of people we have talked to about this, people who have given - they love being a part of this. Not everyone has the ability to bring a sick child into their home. But perhaps, by supporting those who do, they can be a part of James 1:27. They can be a part of taking care of these orphans in their distress. And what they do as people who support is just as valuable to God and to these children as the ones who have the time and ability to raise them.

      There is nothing special about us. We are not after attention, I can promise you that. I can tell you one thing for sure about my wife. Every time I hear someone try to heap praise on her for what we are doing, she is the first to say that we are the lucky ones. That we are the ones blessed to be a part of something bigger than we could have ever imagined. There is no glory in this for us. We have 5 children who make our lives so incredible. That is no credit to us. But we are enjoying the adventure that is for sure.

      I hope you understand that my response is in no way intended to shame you. I think you ask some wonderful questions, and you have insight into sick children most do not. I would however, caution you as you make assumptions about the heart, motives, and lives of people you do not know.

      Peace and Goodwill,

    2. Jacques what a beautiful heartfelt reply I don't see as much attention brought to the family in any of your posts as much as I see this family glorifying God and what God does through families,this family in particular in these cases. If in fact any of the other children were suffering due to lack of attention or affection this family has always been open and honest through there sharing of what I believe would be hard for anyone to open their lives like this family has,that too would be included. This is a family who is open to heart of God and is showing the world the peace and love that God bestows on all people.

  13. Thank you Jacques & Emily for all you and your family does with God's guidance.

  14. I won't address Emma's comments since Jacques has spoken on behalf of his family. But I did want to send along two quotes which I keep very close to my heart.

    "If my life is fruitless, it doesn't matter who praises me, and if my life is fruitful, it doesn't matter who criticizes me." ~ John Bunyan

    The second from Author Lysa Terkeurst:
    "Saying yes to God isn't about perfect performance, but rather perfect surrender to the Lord day by day. Your obedience becomes radical the minute this desire turns into real action. Radical obedience is hearing from God, feeling His nudges, participating in His activity, and experiencing His blessings in ways few people ever do......your life will never be the same."

    Blessings to both the Rancourt and James families!
    In His Grip,
    Vickie Bennett

  15. You are the perfect family for little Noah. You have the knowledge and the resources already in place. If God brings him into your life, He will give you everything you need to meet his needs and those of your other children. God bless you!

  16. As the (in the next few days!) Grandma to "Noah's" foster brother, it breaks my heart that those that look on will sometimes be so critical - so judgmental. Should the Rancourt family - - - or my daughter's family - just choose to turn a blind eye to these children who deserve a daddy & mama just as much as any other child? Should they have been left in dying rooms in an orphanage? Had an organization like Morningstar Project not said "yes, we will take them", that would have been their fate. It's not about the attention! It's about love - and obedience - plain and simple. I am thankful for the opportunity to peek into the lives of the Rancourt's - to see the tremendous amount of prayer & help they've been given in this battle for Lily. I'm thankful to see their faith lived out - for all to see. I appreciate your response, Jacques. You have allowed the Lord to use your family to pave a pathway so that others can see what is possible. Praying for the hearts of those, like Emma James, to be softened by true love.

  17. Jacques & Emily - Your family is an inspiration in many ways. My wife has been following Lily's journey and we see what a loving, caring family you are. It is a shame that some people are so negative and accusatory. Your children, friends and family are lucky to have you in their lives. Thank you for allowing people that do not even know you to see what is possible with love and faith. We wish you all the best with continued healing for Lily and a new life filled with love and healing for Noah also.

  18. It has been a privilege to pray daily for Lily and her family, and now I can pray for a new brother! Emily and Jacques, you are shining examples of being Jesus hands and feet. Your light for Jesus shines (even over the internet). Blessings to all of you

  19. When do they think you can bring him home?

    1. We are hoping to bring him home within the next few months!

  20. God indeed uses people in strange and mysterious ways Jacques and Emily! Having know you for so long and being a nurse as well I have to testify that you, Jacques and Emily are not your "Average Christian," or for that matter - average anything! Thanks be to God! Continue on the path that the Lord has set for you!

    To those who may have concerns I can tell you Jacques is one of the most unique people you will ever meet. He has lived outrageous for the Lord in so very many ways - ways that I have witnessed and still can not believe I witnessed at times. Emily is a dear sweet person that tempers Jacques and together they are very open, honest and do live for God 100%. They are surrounded with a huge support network that would speak truth in love if there were any concerns. I believe that is a role of friends - not cyber friends.

    Time flies and I am thinking when I first met Jacques they were not married, they were engaged. I watched as each child entered their lives. I know folks like to believe they raise their children with love and teach them to love God and others - but Jacques and Emily put actions to their words in everything. In so doing all of their girls are wise beyond their years.

    The girls are all well adjusted, fun, precious, individuals, full of personality, love God and love others. I have been witness to this amazing family and hope that others will continue to support and pray for you all on this journey that you have set on. Are you two a little crazy for the Lord - absolutely! Would I be shocked to hear you moved to China to run an orphange? Nope, not at all. Would I believe that you two would adopt a "sports team of children?" Yes - no shock there. Would I do the things you two take on - nope that is not what God has for me. But am I the best nurse I can be? You bet!

    Hold stead fast my dear friends! I continue to hold you in prayer and back you up. I think you both know me well enough if I though there was ANY concern on my part - I have never been shy or bashful to speak into your life Jacques with love! So I still got your back - keep on the path the Lord has set for you two!

  21. We have nine children (all through adoption) at home, one who has a heart defect that may well lead us down the road that Lily is walking right now. I am also a Peds RN, and prior to Grad School, worked in the PICU at a large children's hospital, just like Emma. It actually taught me how MANY children there are out there who need families like Emily and Jacques, ones who fight the good fight and refuse to give up. I'm sorry it didn't do the same for her. Our daughter-to-be, yes, that will make TEN in our home has a large tumor that will require untold amounts of surgery in the future. Our eldest son, now 11, who was adopted at birth, is an amazing young man and advocate for kids all over the world who live without the blessings of a family or good medical care. It's possible that living in a family like Lily's or ours actually gives kids a unique perspective on how to live unselfishly. Don't judge until you've actually met the amazing families that are living this way. I have been blessed to meet so many families like ours. I wouldn't trade one minute of this life for anything, there is pain, yes, but the joy far outweighs all of it.

    1. FullPlate Mom, I LOVE your post. My bio son was 3 when we finally got to bring Riyan (age 2) home. Ri is now 3 and Gus is four. Ri had a cleft lip and palate and had to have two surgeries after he was home. This has impacted Gus on a fundamental level at an early age and is truely inspirational to witness. The compassion and kindness he shows other children who are "different" or who to have to have medical procedures is truely tear worthy. My two boys are changing their little corner of the world in an awesome way. I am sooo proud to be their mom and watch the amazingly positive impact our adoption journey of a "special needs" boy from China has had on our family and community!!!!!!!!

      I'm also pretty sure Mamma Daisy is going to need a little girl and Gus and Ri are going to need a little sister and...well... daddy doesn't know it yet but he definitely needs to say "Yup, she's a daddy's girl" :)

  22. I am rather amazed by the comments. All I have seen is the glory be to God and the work He is doing through this family in providing for sick children. I agree that no everyone has been called to care for such sick children and having an opportunity to support this family is a honor. They are not fundraising for a trip to the Bahamas. This is an opportunity for all of us who are praying for a child to be able to in some small way support what God is doing. God gives us abilities. For our family, he gave us a heart to adopt a child from China. She does not have medical issues but I am honored that through Facebook God has given us a way to support other children who have medical needs. I have never read a single post by Emily where she in any way asked "look at me and what I'm doing" - it has always pointed to what God is doing through them. This is an amazing lesson not only for their other children to learn but for all of us to learn in life. What is more important to do than to make a difference in the lives of children? I recall another family who chose to have their child even though the doctors said it will die right away instead of aborting the child. The other gave birth and through the experience her husband came to know Christ. The child was born, lived maybe one hour, and passed. We do things such as this not for any attention, but because we're called to by our Lord. Everyone makes choices in their lives on what they will do, what they can do, and what they are called to do comes from the Lord. I can only imagine while we see great progress for Lily here, the pain is unreal to watch your child in pain and it must make their hearts ache wanting to make Lily all better but knowing it will take time for her to heal. I thank God that they have opened their home to these children. May God Bless them all in many ways.

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