My eldest sister said it best: “We all talked about the adventure Dan was embarking on and how it would change her life. None of us could have pictured this tragedy ahead of her.”

Dannye Reigh went to China with the idea of helping her dear friend, Melodie, in her home of 25+ special needs foster children.  It was hard for her to go, but she knew one thing – she could not stay home living her Starbuck’s-loving, care-free single life while knowing that she should go. As shown in my last post, she did go.


Many suspected Dannye Reigh might fall in love with this new experience – so much so that she would want to stay. Dan did fall in love, but not so much with the experience as with one certain part of the experience – Baby YanZi. It wasn’t long before Dan was telling me on our daily chats that she wanted to look into adopting 9 month old YanZi. There were difficulties, of course. YanZi is special needs, as all the children there are. YanZi was a Downs baby with a cleft palate, several holes in her heart, and congestive heart failure. To compound these problems, in order to adopt a Chinese baby, you must be younger than 55 if married (which took Bill and I out of the equation) and at least 30 years old if single, which put Dan’s adoption plans off for about 9 months. So Dan collected information, began making a plan of action, and spent her days and nights loving on YanZi!

In the meantime, YanZi desperately needed surgery on her little heart. In China, you don’t just call up your doctor and plan surgery – not if you are an orphan. There is a waiting list, and it is not based on need.

So our little YanZi got worse, and on Friday, August 24, 2013, she went to be with Jesus. I can’t go into details of the lack of care given to orphans at the hospitals there, but I will say that the Lord gave Mel and Dannye a huge gift of a Chinese doctor who was sympathetic to them and to YanZi; who gave orders for them to be treated well. Even amidst the gut-wrenching grief my Dannye Reigh feels, she thanks God for this, and some other details that could have made this horror even worse.

As a Mom, I can scarcely bear being away from Dan during her grief and pain. As a Mom, though, I can praise our Heavenly Father that He is with her, and that she KNOWS He is!  The road of grief is long, but Dannye is staying in China until her time is up, in October. I am longing for her, but I know this will aid in the healing process. I am so grateful for such a daughter as our Dannye Reigh, and I am eternally grateful that YanZi knew her, too. This granddaughter of my heart knew a Mommy’s great love during the last month of her short little life – the unconditional Mommy-love of our Dannye Reigh!

As a matter of prayer, please lift Dannye and Melodie up during this time of grief. Mel is Mommy to all of these children, and had already lost a little love last year. They have another little one ill even now, and without the care he needs, he won’t get better. As Dannye told me, money is not the big problem, but bureaucracy and lack of love for orphans is. Mel prays for a forever home for all of her babies, and for some, that is their only hope.

YanZi means Little Bird, and Dannye was reminded of the song, “His Eye is on The Sparrow” for the life of her little girl. It is especially poignant now:

“Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,   Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,   When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:   His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;   His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me….
“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,   And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;   Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;   His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;   His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,   When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,   I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;   His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;   His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
I sing because I’m happy,   I sing because I’m free,   For His eye is on the sparrow,   And I know He watches me.”

God bless your day!


About Petty Bunch

The Petty Bunch is what we have called our family since Bill and I (Janina) began our family back in the early 1980s. We have gone down many roads together - homeschooling our kiddoes, enjoying the freedom of entrepreneurship many years, working at "real jobs" other years. Through it all, we have been loved with God's everlasting love, and have found that underneath are His everlasting arms! We are blessed to have been married for over 36 years, and have 3 incredible adult children, a wonderful daughter-in-law, an amazing son-in-law, and SEVEN grandchildren: four precious granddaughters, three handsome grandsons - so far. We are empty nesters, still enjoy the life of an entrepreneur and the freedom it gives us to continue enjoying our kids and now, their kids!
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6 Responses to YanZi

  1. Jeanne says:

    I didn’t realize the meaning of YanZi’s name. I’m so glad you decided to write, though it brought more tears. Love you.

  2. Donna says:

    As you know, I have been and will continue to be praying. The best part of the story, while YanZi was still here on earth, is that YanZi knew a Mommy’s love for the last month of her life. Praise God! She went to be with Jesus, knowing that someone loved her.

  3. Jenny says:

    Oh, such a sweet, sweet realization, to think that God send little YanZi a special mommy in Dannye Rae for those last weeks of her life. such a precious song too. I am in tears, and will be praying for your dear daughter, Melodie, all those babies, and you too.

  4. amber says:

    this just breaks my heart! i’m so so sorry.
    love to you guys~

  5. It would have been much easier to just stay home and drink Starbucks! But think what she would have missed! What a severe mercy has been granted your Danny Raye! To love as a mother, to give to a child that would have missed that kind of love if she had not gone, to be able to grieve for that child the way no one would have if she had not gone. Yes, the sorrow is excruciating, and she wouldn’t have had it if she had stayed home in her safe little home, but she is so much the richer for going — so much the richer for loving — and even so much the richer for losing. You must be so proud of her! This makes me cry, and I don’t envy her the pain. But I do envy her the sweet, sweet comfort of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing like it when you have so deep a sorrow and no where to go with it. Danny Raye will come home stronger, deeper and softer if she lets God do His work in her heart. She will never be the same again, and that is good. God wants to make us more and more into His image, and so often that happens through the hardest experiences of our lives. May God give you wisdom as you continue to love, support and pray for your faraway girlie. Sometimes I think that the Mom’s job in situations like this are more difficult than the adult child’s. And we have to be so careful not to get in God’s way as we try to help. I love you, Nina. So often I see myself in your posts, and it is a blessing to me.

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