My Son was Dead, and is Alive Again

I remember equating our first time meeting William to how God must feel the first time we ask Him to come into our lives and make us new. The joy mixed with the grief of loving someone so much that you would do anything for them was tangible and it left me in awe of God and His plan for us. The first eight months of William’s life was pretty smooth sailing. We thought it was a bit difficult, but we had no idea what was coming.

When Will was diagnosed with his seizure disorder, my personal grief and depression was intense to say the least. William basically disappeared. We were left with a baby we didn’t know and memories and photos of the old Will that, although they should have been happy, increased my grief all the more. I was conflicted with the loss of my son coupled with the fact that I still had this stranger to care for. His care was so much harder, and I found myself slipping further and further away into my grief. At the time, I was so angry with God that I refused to talk to Him. I turned away. How could He love us and let us go through this? How could I love Him after He didn’t save my son?

William has been seizure free for two glorious months. This week, he began to roll over again and hold his own head up. His beautiful smile lights up our day. William is back. Just as God taught me about salvation when William was born, today He is teaching me about faith. About 18 months ago, I prayed that God would increase my faith no matter what it took, but I had no idea what that meant. I must be difficult to teach, because God had to take me through the deepest, darkest year of my life in order for me to learn to trust Him. I don’t believe for one minute that God makes bad things happen to us, but I do see that through the bad, He brings understanding and makes things new.
I have been pondering the story of the Prodigal Son for the last few weeks, equating it to losing who William was for a while and now getting him back from the brink. But something felt off. We didn’t actually lose him. We felt like it for a while, but William was always there. He was just too sick to reveal himself. Why did God keep bringing this story to the front of my mind?

I realized today that this wayward son story was mine, not William’s. When I asked God to increase my faith no matter what it took, He knew that I needed radical change in my life. The only way to increase my faith was to shatter it and to rebuild it from the ground up. I have been the prodigal child for the last four months. My anger with God was enough to make me turn my back on Him. But He was in relentless pursuit. As I grew angrier, more people told me that they were praying. As I tried to skip church on Sundays, my kids asked to go and I couldn’t say no. As William got better when the doctors said that he wouldn’t, God’s healing was the only answer that made sense.

As Will continues to get better and stronger every day, we are blessed and delighted by seeing his “firsts.” The first time he smiled, the first time he rolled over, the first time his beautiful almond-shaped eyes followed me across the room. The funny thing is, he did all of these things months ago. But God has been gracious to give them to us again. And after being told that they are unattainable, the second first time is even more amazing than the first first time. Does that even make sense? Not to me, but to God, absolutely! Seeing impossible healing right in front of you, in the most precious person in your life makes disbelief in God a ridiculous notion. Through God giving us this amazing time of healing in Will’s life, especially after all that we have been through, He proves Himself over and over.

It took a year of this special needs adoption journey, with all of its ups and downs to find my faith. I thought that after asking God to increase my faith, He had instead destroyed it completely. But looking back, He was there all along. I was the one who had left. The hellish months of worry and grief are over for now, but we don’t know if they are gone for good. What I do know however, is that if they come again, God is in the midst of them. Not only that, He is there now, preparing a way for us to make it through them if we must.

I am unshakable in my faith. I’ve seen so much proof that nothing can convince me otherwise. God granted my naïve yet sincere request to be changed, just not in the way that I expected or would have chosen. Will turns one next week. I don’t even know how to put into words how I feel about that. I have spent the last year trying to save his life in any way that I can, but he ended up saving mine. Thank you God that you give us what we need and not what we think we need. Hallelujah and amen.

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8 thoughts on “My Son was Dead, and is Alive Again

  1. withlovelexi says:

    Wow. This is such an inspirational story, I am so happy to hear about the miracles God has performed in your family. God bless 🙂

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  2. Hwey says:

    Hi. Pardon me for being blunt and I am not trying to be rude. But I’m really curious if you had ever, through the struggles of William’s health issues, regretted adopting him? It is one thing to adopt a Down syndrome child and adopting a child that drains you of your financial and emotional means, restrict your freedom to travel, etc. With the former you can still enjoy your time with your child and now you are laden with one that demands a lot of you. If you had not adopted William, another Down Syndrome child could have benefitted from your adoption. Did you ever wonder if the birth mother is silently thanking God for relieving her of this financial and emotional burden? I am really trying to comprehend special needs adoption because for the past six months I suddenly have a strong desire to adopt a DS child but the financial strain if complications arises scare me. I’m not from the states and where I stay, DS children are deemed uninsurable by insurance companies and schooling isn’t guaranteed for them. If they are fortunate to attend a school, fees are exorbitant. So I have to think through very carefully.

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    • Thank you so much for the questions. I appreciate your bluntness and I think that you are asking questions that a lot of my friends and family have wondered about but have been too afraid to ask. So, the short answer to your question is no, I have never even once regretted adopting William. Now, let me give you the long answer because I want you to have all of the information and I want you to know that I am being completely honest and straightforward with you…

      When we were matched with Will’s birth mom, all we knew was that he had Down syndrome. None of his other medical issues were visible. Three days before his birth, we found out that he was in distress from kidney issues and then he was born 6 weeks early. There wasn’t much time to decide if we could handle any other medical issues besides Down syndrome because he was already here. I remember that the night after we found out about his kidneys, my husband and I stood in our kitchen crying and trying to decide if we should take him or not when he was born. We just kept saying, “but we’ve already named him.” For some reason, William having a name and the fact that we had an ultrasound picture made him feel like ours. He wasn’t a concept that we were hoping for. He was already our person.

      I think that the whole reason that I have never regretted having Will is because on our end of adoption, once you have a real person and not just the dream of one, you would do anything for them. I kind of equate it to the engagement stage of a marriage. You haven’t signed the paperwork, it’s not official, but you already couldn’t imagine spending your life with anyone else. If we had been told when we got the initial call from the adoption agency that in addition to Down syndrome we would be dealing with kidney failure, seizures, cancer issues and more, we would have said no immediately. But to be perfectly honest, I’m so glad that we didn’t know, because we would have missed out on what a wonderful little boy William is. It has been much more difficult than we could have imagined, but knowing and loving Will as a person makes it all worth it.

      As far as things like money go, we have been very blessed with good insurance that covers Will’s medical issues completely. It’s been difficult off and on as we have missed work in the past due to being at the hospital with him, but somehow God continues to bring us through those times when money is tight. And my husband and I are both blessed with employers who understand what we deal with at home.

      So the harder questions… I know that Will’s birth mom thanks God that she found us for him. I’m sure that she has relief, but keep in mind, she made the choice to give him to us without knowing all of this either. She knew that she couldn’t handle Down syndrome for various reasons (I won’t share those just out of respect for her) so I’m sure that she still feels relief. But she does love him and she has come to sit with us during some of these long hospital stays. I have all good things to say about her. In terms of other children with DS, I’m sure that there is one out there who could have benefited from being adopted by us, but they weren’t meant for us. I truly believe that Will was meant to be ours. If we had chosen someone else, he would have still needed a family, so that goes either way. Luckily he found us and we were up to the challenge to meet his extra medical needs.

      Now the hard one for me has been the other kids. You bring up a good point when you talk about the difficulty of travel, family time and having fun. At first I was very concerned about this, but not anymore. Partly because we’ve figured out how to make it work. Our whole family just spent a week hanging out at the beach and William did fine! But I think that the important part about this is that I have seen my other kids learn and grow so much through this whole process. Some people think that it is unfair to expect our other kids to “go through this” with us. But I would counter with this thought. I would rather my kids grow up to be compassionate people who understand what is important in life and who stand up for injustice than to make their lives as easy as possible and never give them the opportunity to learn more than the sheltered world that a lot of kids grow up in.

      If you have the strong desire to pursue Down syndrome adoption, I think you should go for it! The crux of the whole thing is that when you meet YOUR person and they are no longer just a concept to you, you will love them and do anything for them no matter what they are going through. None of the adoption process has been easy. We have agonized over so many medical decisions, paying for the adoption, rearranging our home to accommodate Will’s medical schedule and equipment and more. But through all of it, I know that he was meant to be ours. I’ve NEVER regretted it being him. Hope that helps you as you make your own decisions. Best of luck to you and thank you so much for your questions!

      Like

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