Monday morning the 8th I woke with a start at 6:30 after only a few hours of sleep, and immediately craved the Word. I don’t remember why I went to Isaiah, but I ended up here in chapter 25:
“He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces;
The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth;
For the LORD has spoken.
And it will be said in that day:
“Behold, this is our God;
We have waited for Him, and He will save us.
This is the LORD;
We have waited for Him;
We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”
I read it over and over again, tears streaming and heart aching.
I emailed my dad. I read the Isaiah passage again. I sent a separate email to my siblings. I read the passage again and emailed the other families in our home fellowship. I read the first few of the outpouring of responses that my friends were giving to my news from the night before, but it was too much for my overloaded emotions. I was not prepared for the pure love that poured through those dear friends into me.
And there was a household that needed me to keep functioning, hurting or no hurting. There was work to be done. There were many little faces that showed they didn’t understand why Mommy’s eyes looked different. There was the littlest boy, Stephen, who is scared of me when I blow my nose.
Our oldest son, Joseph, had trouble understanding why I was grieving. He said maybe it was because he had dreamed several times that we would have a baby girl, and that she would have some problems. Once he even dreamed that she had Down syndrome. He had been prepared, and this was not sad news to him.
Someone had sent me a link to a blog (start reading at the bottom of the page) with a story of a baby girl named Esther, born with Down syndrome and a heart defect. I had opened it up when I received it that morning, and read every word of it little by little as I was able to throughout that day. It was just the right thing for me to read. It took away some of my fear of the unknown and gave me a glimpse into the world we were entering. It helped me to be able to start describing this world to our children. It was very healing to me to read about the kindness of the medical staff who had helped little Esther. When Joseph voiced his fears that some of the doctors might hold the Darwinist views about “useless eaters,” and believe that she should be euthanized, I was prepared to encourage him that the first impulse of most doctors and nurses would be to save life, not end it. And if we did encounter medical staff who were cold-hearted, the God we trust in is sovereign over all. His power is not limited. The power of doctors is under the sovereign Hand of God, whether or not they acknowledge it.
My sister had gotten our email and called me. She told me this may be the first child we have who is outgoing. <Smile>
That afternoon a friend came over to be with me. That day for her marked three years since her little boy, Christopher, was born, and they discovered that he had Down syndrome. The Lord sent her. She answered many questions and explained things I was too ignorant to ask about, folded my laundry and kept me sitting still long enough to eat my lunch. It meant a lot to me that she was not judgmental of my tears. She remembered how she had felt exactly three years before, and she understood.
That night when Joe got home from work, we spent some time alone, connecting. He said that the hardest thing for him to face was going to be the possibility of losing her. He told me that for all the years that we’d had the name Verity, meaning “truth,” chosen for our next daughter, he’d had an idea in the back of his mind that this child’s story would not be ordinary. He wondered if it would be a picture to us of how Truth and this present world cannot peacefully co-exist. He said that while we have talked about adopting children that nobody else wants, God knew that he probably would not ever have had the courage to take the first step. Maybe this was God’s way of preparing our family to do that someday.
Before Laura and Jane went to bed that night, I showed them the blog with little Esther’s pictures, and explained some things to them about her story. They ooohed and aaahed over how cute she was. I explained that Esther’s mother was glad when they could finally feed her without having to keep a feeding tube in her all the time, because it scared some people to see it. When she heard that, Jane asked in utter puzzlement, “Why would they be afraid of a baby?”
Later that night, with all the children asleep in bed, I finally read through the pages of responses my online friends had written to our news. It felt like many loving arms reaching out toward me, many loving hearts feeling with mine. But now I could read their words without tears, calmly, peacefully, drinking in the truths they spoke, being humbled by the many who said they would pray, writing down information they gave me for support and other help. Some spoke words of understanding to me from their own experience as parents of children with special needs, letting me know that the emotions I was experiencing were completely normal, and would not last forever. Many had sent me private messages as well, with several even giving me their phone numbers and offering me a listening ear. I had never in my life before felt the love of the Body of Christ in such an enormous way.
What I really wanted to do was to tell each one individually how much I valued the words they chose and the love they expressed. No matter what I said, it would not be enough to let them know how much they had ministered to me. I tried to thank them, and catch them up on how we were processing it all, ending with these words:
“I am thankful for God’s mercy on me in giving me this time to process and learn and accept and prepare and look forward to seeing this little one. We already loved her, and that love has been seamless. As I lay awake last night, I kept thinking that I am so glad that she is safe in my womb, and not in the womb of one of the 94% of mothers who would abort her.”