February 20th, 2010

I hate math, but I love reading statistics.  (As long as they are about people.)

Statistics have a limitation, though.  They only tell us what God has caused to happen in the past. They cannot predict what He will do in the future.

We believe that God is alive and presently working His sovereign will in His world.  We do not believe that He is sitting helplessly in Heaven, wringing His hands as He watches statistics play out before His eyes.

When I heard the medical folks on Tuesday describing some of the other trisomies our Verity could have, a little memory glimmered in the back of my mind.  The doctor described a child with no ability to recognize or respond to people.  He said such a condition was incompatible with life.  But…

On the way home that day, talking things over with my father, that memory came to the front of my mind.  Didn’t we have a documentary about special-needs children born to Christian parents?  It had been about three years since we’d last watched it, but I was almost positive that at least one of the children profiled had one of those rare trisomies.  The children I remembered from the video did not fit the description the doctors gave.  Maybe the doctors didn’t tell the whole story?

We watched “Every Day a Gift…from God” as a family on Thursday night (our copy of it is on the 2006 Best of the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival DVD set).  Joe and I were thinking of the benefit it would be to our children.  I was unprepared for the sobs that welled up within me throughout that hour, witnessing the affection between the parents and their special children, listening to them try to put into words how God had used their children to change their lives.  Two of the five stories are about children with more rare trisomies.  Trisomies that the doctor told us were incompatible with life.

You know, any of our healthy children could die at any time, although statistics would say that the chances for that are small.

Our sovereign God is in charge, not statistics.

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3 Responses to “Statistics”

  1. Kim Stokes says:

    Hello. I am Kim Stokes and I’m friends with Marilyn Osborn (actually I grew up with her husband, Randy — he was my prom date!) and she asked me to look at your blog and possibly to send a word of encouragement if I felt led.

    Well, of course, I felt led after reading about what you all are facing in the next few weeks/months/years! I have a son who is 5 who has Down Syndrome. He was born with no heartbeat and not breathing. His APGAR score was 0 at birth and 2 at 5 minutes. He was one sick little boy. He also had AVSD & an Endocartial Cushion defect. He had to have open heart surgery at 4 months old. It was absolutely the HARDEST thing I’ve ever had to endure…handing my baby over to doctors knowing that there was a chance (though it was slim) that I’d never see him alive again. It was ONLY the strength of the Lord that carried us SO peacefully through that day and the days to follow. We had our surgery at Cook Children’s hospital in Ft. Worth, TX. (we live in Midland, TX) and it is an AMAZING place. I don’t think you’re in this part of the country, otherwise I’d recommend going there. For some reason, something I read led me to believe that you might be in the northeast. If so, the Mayo Clinic is in Rochester MN and is a PHENOMENAL place…we toured it while we were there once…the have the original heart/lung machine there on display and it made me CRY to see it and so very thankful for the medical community and all the knowledge that the Lord has allowed them to obtain.

    Anyway…those were some hard, HARD days and as I look back on them I wonder at the Lord and His goodness to us to get us through. We didn’t know Adley’s diagnosis before he was born, so it caught us completely off-guard. However, the Lord had already prepared our hearts to receive our precious gift. Shane (my husband) and I both have a number of friends/family who have children with special needs. We both already had a place in our hearts for those children/adults. God, in His bountiful goodness, chose to bless us (for some reason, but one I don’t ask because I know the answer is “it’s not because you’ve done anything to deserve it, but solely because I love you and wanted to bless you”) with our son, Adley.

    Let me just tell you briefly about him. He wakes every morning with a smile on his face and his response to the question that I ask him every morning of “did you have a good sleep?” is always an emphatic “yes!!!” We spend a few minutes snuggling/hugging EVERY morning before we get our day started which ALWAYS starts mine out on the right foot!!! He gets himself dressed for school, feeds himself breakfast (sometimes he likes mommy to do it still, but it’s because it makes us sit close enough so that he can rub my arm or leg affectionately while I do it!), gets his own shoes/socks on, puts his coat on by himself and goes and gets in the car for the ride to school. We do everything the same way almost every day because he thrives on routine. He typically has the same thing for breakfast and one of a few things for lunch. He likes to know what’s coming. He attends a “typical” pre-k 4 class and is reading, beginning to write his name, knows all the sounds the letters make, counts objects to 20 or so, does simple addition/subtraction, processes at a 4 or 5 (meaning he can do 4-5 tasks in a row or recal 4-5 things either visually, verbally or actions), he has friends, he is delayed in speech, but with work that is improving daily. He was fully potty trained at 4, he walked/ran at 22 months (delayed, but hasn’t stopped since he “got it”!!). He is the DELIGHT of most peoples that he meets lives. When we go to school, there are people that say “good morning Adley!!” and want a morning hug, waaaay more than they say “good morning Kim!”

    He has brought JOY into so many people’s lives. He is a LOVELY child and is our little bridge-builder. The night before we left for his surgery in Ft. Worth, friend organized a prayer time for us and there were people in our home that night who had been at odds with one another who were united in prayer over our sweet boy…we felt like part of his “mission” here is to build bridges. We don’t know exactly what that will look like, but we DO know it’s pretty cute!!!

    He has brought so much joy to our families…extended and immediate. His sisters care for him in such a beautiful way and he returns their affection 10-fold (at least!). We have a 16 yr. old foreign exchange student living in our home this year and Adley has smitten Lukas with his charm and they are inseparable. It’s an amazing thing to watch our child as he works his way into the hearts of so many.

    Why God chose us to witness this blessing on a daily basis, I don’t know…I’m just so thankful.

    I don’t want to lead you to believe that there aren’t hard times. Potty training nearly did me in. It’s frustrating that we can’t understand Adley all the time and it makes me sad that his friends can’t understand him always either. We get tired…he’s full of energy and his learning delay makes it difficult to discipline him effectively sometimes…but you find the way that works for each child…just like you haven’t handled ALL of your other children the exact same way. There is no such thing as a “typical” child…because God made each one specifically unique and special and gifted and talented. So, you just have to learn how to do it differently for this one too!!!

    If you haven’t read this before, google “trip to Holland” and read the beautiful description of one mother’s journey to the unexpected. It’s a perfect analogy.

    I would love to talk to you if you have the desire or time. We have found that talking to parents who are expecting or who have just found out a diagnosis for their child is part of a new ministry for us. One we probably wouldn’t have chosen, if given the option before we had Adley, but one we have humbly accepted as an extra blessing that came with him to us.

    I have lots and lots of resources when the time comes and you’re ready, should you desire to talk about all that. There is SUCH hope for our kids and for their bright futures!!!!

    Blessings, to you as you prepare yourself for the BIGGEST blessing you may ever receive. (not that all your kids are not special and bring blessing, but this little one will bless your entire family in a way like none other!)

    Kim Stokes

  2. Susanna says:

    Thank you so much, Kim! I got your info before posting your reply publicly, and I look forward very much to talking with you!

  3. Kim,

    I am so touched, that was such a beautiful post. :)

    I am a Mom to nine with no special needs that we are aware of. I was surrounded as a child by my mother’s love for the people at her work she cared for. She would regularly bring them home and share our home with them, we also took them to Mass regularly, and of course out to dinner afterward, which was the highlight for me! ;) Most of them had cerebral palsy, so they needed a lot of care.

    I was so blessed as a young lady of 21 to get to work as a student at my mom’s work, I got to care for several young people with down syndrome who came as respite guests. They were my brother’s and my own favourite friends who came that summer. He worked several summers there and we remembered them and looked so forward that they were coming. You are so right, what a life giving joy they were to us! And a beautiful impression they made on two young people. :)

    Love and hugs,

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