Sunday, May 11, 2014

More Than A Memory: The Candace Kate Story {review}


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More Than a Memory: The Candace Kate Story by Nancy Fileccia

About the Book

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

The Fileccia’s 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.

My Thoughts

When I was given the opportunity to read More Than A Memory: The Candace Kate Story, I was excited! Having navigated the journey through International adoption twice myself, I was intrigued with Candace’s story.

The beginning of the story tells of early beginnings of the The Fileccia family. They had two biological daughters and then adopted their son from Guatemala.

Their son’s adoption eventually led to adopting Candace from China. Candace was born totally blind in her left eye and only had poor shadow-like vision in her right.

During the flight from China and after Candace’s arrival home, it became apparent that there were some concerns about Candace that had not been detected while she was in China. While the family knew of Candace’s blindness, there seemed to be much more going on than just her blindness and the transition into a new family and culture. 

Nancy persevered teaching Candace to read braille, homeschooling her right along with with her siblings and encouraging to try new things and have new experiences.

Then after Candace had been sick all winter and an extreme weight loss, Candace was diagnosed with Batten’s disease. 

The book chronicles Candace’s life and her illness. Nancy has put her heart and soul into sharing Candace’s life and her illness and the devastation of a disease like Batten’s.

You know many times when I see people who have opened their hearts and homes to a child with special needs, I am amazed. I often have thought to myself that it takes a very special family to open their hearts to the unknown.  I have also thought that I could never care for a child with special needs. I am not equipped. 

Candace’s story has made me see that while I truly believe that God chooses the right family for all of our children, no matter how they join our family. I now see that God will also equip us to handle situations we thought we were not capable of ever handling.

I believe that it is also an act of selfless love that makes a family able to take on these seemingly impossible situations.  To become a family regardless of the outcome. To love in spite of the situation. Candace’s diagnosis of Batten’s was devastating and difficult. And yet God has a purpose even in the midst of fear and grief.

Nancy has shared her story of a love for her daughter. To be an advocate for Candace, to share about an illness that will help another family who may have to travel this same road someday.

I encourage you to read Candace’s story. It is one you won’t soon forget. Her beautiful life, while too short, touched and will continue to touch many lives as a result of Nancy sharing her story.

Thank you Nancy for sharing Candace with us, opening up your heart and pouring it into this book!

Where to purchase the book:

Website (print & PDF)

Kindle edition


Interview with Nancy:

When planning a new book, how do you go about planning for it? Do you have a method you use, or is each one different?

Well, this is my first. This started out as my personal daily journal. 

Do you have a certain writing space, somewhere you go *just* to write your books? An office, a lake cabin, a hotel? What do you love about that space? How does it inspire you?

This book (journal) was mostly written beside Candace's bed. During her illness, my family took a trip to Hawaii. I spent going and coming writing on the plane. Something about the hum of the plane helped me to think.

What would you say to a young person who aspires to be a writer? What advice would you give? Also, what would you tell his/her parents in order to help them be supportive in their child's efforts to pursue writing as a career?

Go for it! I think writing is a form of therapy. It is a great way to collect your thoughts. Parents LISTEN to your children's stories! Even if it is for the tenth time! Being creative, using their writing to really be "heard" is so important!

Would your advice be any different (from question #3) for an adult who would like to break into the business? How?

NOPE! I thinking writing is a great way to express ourselves. As moms, we are so tuned into handling others problems, that we can get lost in the "mess!" Writing down our dreams, prayers, wants, and even our blessings is a great release.

What was your goal with writing this book?

My prayer for this book is exactly what I DID NOT have, INFORMATION!!! When Candace got sick, I had never known another sick child. I had never seen a family struggle. I did not know what to do, who to talk to, who to question. I felt so alone. Then, during her illness, I had so many feelings going on. I did not know if they were "normal!" Was it ok to be mad? Who was I mad at? How much do I let friends really see me in pain? I pray that through this book, parents will now have the answer to these questions and more!

What other projects will you be working on in the near future?

Well, I run a full time business (A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks) with my best friend, Paula. My prayer is to travel around tell Candace's story. I want to help other moms who are struggling with the lost of a child. So, for now, be a help and a voice for Candace!

What is one lesson you learned from writing this book?

How hard it was to read through it from beginning to end. The day Candace died, I put the journal away. It was two years before I ever picked it up again. Even then, it was months before I could read through the entire thing. I guess the biggest lesson I learned was just how strong my family was. My husband and I survived what many couples don't. My children were living their lives for God, where many others turn to the world for answers. I realized just how blessed I really was.

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


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