{Review & Giveaway} More Than A Memory: The Candace Kate Story

Friends, I am pleased to share a book review and giveaway with you today. My friend, Nancy Fileccia is launching her new book More Than A Memory: The Candace Kate Story. I am honored to serve on the launch team for this special book.

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As some of you know, I work-at-home part-time with A Journey Through Learning. I serve as the Marketing and Promotions Manager and get to do fun things such as keep the social media updated, create blog posts and promotions, host and attend social media parties, and work with other fabulous homeschooling companies in cross-promotions. Paula Winget and Nancy Fileccia, owners of A Journey Through Learning are such a blessing to me and it is a delight to work with them.

I review many books and resources for my blog, but it is a special blessing to share Nancy's new book with my readers. I watched this book go from a hopeful dream in Nancy's heart to publication. It was such an amazing blessing to see the hand of God bring it all about. Thank you for joining me here as I share about this special story.

More Than A Memory: The Candace Kate Story is a gripping journal of the Fileccia family's adoption journey, story of Candace's life, and faith through difficult times. Nancy writes with such raw honesty that you are pulled in the story right from the beginning. I read it from cover to cover because I simply could not put it down.

Nancy starts out the story by sharing about her beautiful family. Nancy's warm conversational style makes you feel like you are chatting with a beloved friend. Nancy, her husband Rusty, and children, Lindsey, Lauren, and Cameron make their home in Shreveport, Louisiana. You can see a glimpse of the family's hopes and dreams as they seek the Lord's path for their lives.

In 2003, the Fileccia family traveled to China to adopt Xing Dan Nang (Candace), an eight-year-old girl with special needs due to total blindness in one eye and partial blindness in the other. The Fileccia's proceeded with the adoption as events unfolded which showed God's leading. They packed up their family, and traveled with their three young children on an eighteen-hour flight to China, to bring Candace home to her new family. Once they arrived, they realized Candace's condition was much worse than disclosed. She was fully blind and unable to communicate as she had mental challenges. They even discovered that she had been turned down by five previous families.

Who could love and care for this precious child?

At this point in my review, I must share it is difficult to write without being moved to tears. The Fileccia family could have walked away from Candace and left China. After all, they had a young family to raise and might not have felt fully equipped to care for Candace's needs. However, they did not choose the easy road and walk away. They chose to love Candace and bring her home to her forever family. This is such a demonstration of Christ's love. It overwhelms my heart to think of how the Lord sent the Fileccias to love Candace. Such a frail little girl was not forgotten by her Heavenly Father.

Nancy candidly describes the difficulties they faced before they even left China. This journey of adopting Candace was not a smooth path to walk. Yet, the Lord led and sustained the Fileccias every step of the way. God stretched them out of their comfort zones and called them to do a difficult work for His glory. As the book unfolds, Nancy shares of Candace's medical struggles, the difficulty of getting a diagnosis, homeschooling with special needs, support from friends and community, and the many ways God was present in their lives. In 2006, Candace was diagnosed with a terminal brain disease. In the fall of 2008, after many struggles, Candace was eventually diagnosed with Battens disease. Nancy and her family gave their all to love and serve Candace. Her health declined, her organs shut down, and by July of 2009, Candace reached the last days of her earthly life. Nancy shared entries from her journal and the heart-rending emotions of her journey. You will need an entire box of tissues to read the book to the end.

Candace was only thirteen-years-old when her earthly life came to end. She lived only five short years with the Fileccia family, but in that time she experienced a lifetime of love. Nancy writes in the book of how Candace asked if she were dying. Nancy had to face Candace with the difficult truth of her illness and coming death. I will never forget Candace's response as long as I live. Candace shared with Nancy, "I am glad I have a mom to take care of me while I am dying." Candace knew how dearly she was loved and she loved in return.

This story has touched me deeply. I only shared a brief summary because I think you need to read it yourself to see how much beauty, love, and grace can be found within the most difficult and darkest times. I finished Nancy's book around 5:00 a.m. one morning and it opened up a dam of grief in my life. I cried my heart out and they were healing tears in my life. I have known for some time that I carried unresolved grief issues in my life after my mother's three-year battle and subsequent death from metastatic breast cancer. Nancy's raw honesty in her grief helped me release some of the pent up emotions that were buried deep within my heart. When you struggle with deep grief issues, I think you just sometimes need the comfort of seeing how the Lord has brought others through difficult times, grief, and loss.

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Briyah really enjoyed reading The Candace Kate Story. From an early age, she has felt a call to missions and humanitarian work. Nancy's book touched her heart and helped increase her desire to work in missions in the future.

I heartily recommend The Candace Kate Story to all families. Even if you are not facing the extreme difficulties such as the Fileccia family walked through, you will be able to identify with the general challenges you may face in parenting. This book will especially encourage adoptive, special needs, and families facing terminal illness. I truly think all families can benefit from reading this book. It is a faith-filled account of God working in difficult times for His glory.
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Product Details:

Title: More Than A Memory: The Candace Kate Story
Author: Nancy Fileccia
Publisher: A Journey Through Learning
Format: Print version; E-Book version
Available at: The Candace Kate Story, Kindle, and Kobo

Publisher Description:
One Family's Story of Love, Pain, Loss, and Joy

The Fileccias did not consider themselves special; just an ordinary family. Yet in 2003, God chose them to begin an extraordinary life journey. Trusting in their faith, Rusty and Nancy packed up their three children and traveled to China to adopt Xing Dan Nang (Candace), an eight-year-old blind girl. Little did they know this trip would lead them through the deepest valleys a family could ever experience.

The challenge of teaching a blind child paled to insignificance when their precious daughter was diagnosed with Battens, a fatal disease, in 2006. The next three years became a roller coaster ride of deep despair, desperate hope, and searching for answers. Based on Nancy’s heartfelt journal entries of their journey, the story of Candace Kate unfolds, shining a light on God’s purpose to give this little girl a “forever family” and showing how she lived a full life in only thirteen years.

Life is short; no one is guaranteed eighty years. But during our time on earth we can inspire, love, and show God’s undying love for us, before He calls us home.


About the Author:
Nancy Fileccia is a fourteen-year homeschooling veteran and co-owner of A Journey Through Learning lapbooks with her best friend, Paula Winget. They create fun, hands-on learning products for homeschooling families. Nancy loves helping parents with their journey of international adoption. Nancy and her husband, Rusty, make their home in Shreveport, Louisiana, with their three children. Visit her website at www.ajourneythroughlearning.com

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Giveaway!

I am giving away two PDF copies of More Than A Memory: The Candace Kate Story. To enter to win, simply leave a comment on this blog post. On May 16, I will select two winners using Random.org.

Facebook Party!

Come join us next Tuesday evening for a Facebook party!

batten disease, Candace Kate
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Comments

Shannon Wallace said…
Oh wow...I really want to read this! We're considering adoption. And we've lost a child too. Thank you for your review. Happy Mother's Day Sharra...and all Mommas!