Monday, July 21, 2008

Could you encourage my friend?

When I was pregnant with my children, I never opted for the screenings and tests to determine if there might be any abnormalities. Shawn was born with Down syndrome, and we didn't know until he was 1 day old. Never saw it coming! Not in a million years! Devastation and fear socked me in the gut and between the eyes.

Ironically, a friend of mine who lives several states away, was pregnant with her second child. Some concerns were noted during her ultrasounds, and so she opted for the testing, and it was determined that her child, a boy, had Trisomy 21 (aka Down syndrome). She knew his diagnosis when she was just barely 4 months pregnant. She was devastated. It is a long story to describe what they went through. I will try to tell you in the words she used to tell me................... she just didn't think she could do it. Her heart ached. We spent countless hours on the phone for weeks and months trying to work through their choices, and their ultimate choice.

Let me tell you what she didn't do. She did not have an abortion, even though she could have, and many women do. In fact, 95% of women who receive an in utero diagnosis of a baby with Ds, do abort. 95%. My friend, who loves Jesus and who loved that baby, contemplated but chose against abortion. She deeply wanted to WANT her son, but she was so afraid of him. Afraid of the life, the challenges, the fear of loss, the fear of her inadequacy. She thought she wasn't good enough. She and her husband painfully and laborously sought out an adoption family. I cannot even begin to describe the drama that ensued. Their families went nuts....they were outcast, attacked, lashed out against.....it was awful! The things she endured would have literally killed me. And then there was me........I was now the mother of a beautiful bundle with Ds, and I was encouraging my friend and supporting her in her unpopular decision. She couldn't believe, of all people, that I was the one accepting her. It didn't make sense, and maybe it doesn't make sense, but I just love her. And I love that baby that I never met.

Soon, Luke was born. He was premature, small and required to be in the NICU for 5 weeks. He had heart problems, medications, and on and on. My friend and her husband actually brought him home for a few weeks. They tried with all their hearts and for whatever reason, the task was too daunting, too painful, and just too much. They ached and prayed and begged and prayed and grieved and prayed and prayed and prayed. They suffered and were tormented. They gave Luke up for adoption. They personally chose a family that already had a few children with Ds, in the midwest. A large happy, loving, sweet and tender family who longed for another sweet baby with Down syndrome.

Luke is 1 year and 3 months now. His birth mother, my dear friend, is grieving and mourning today as if her wound is fresh, the cut is deep, and the infection has spread. She hurts. She hurts because she thinks she wasn't strong enough. She hurts because she wonders what kind of person she is for giving him away. Could you leave her words of love here? Could you tell her that she is amazing because she did not abort him, when that might have been the easier route that might have saved her reputation and spared her extended family? Could you encourage her and love her because she tried. Could you praise her and show her grace and love because she took the time to seek out a very tender and special family, instead of letting an agency take all of the reponsibility? Could you remind her that God has used her as part of His plan and that Luke is fulfilling a plan and purpose too? Could you lift her up and tell her how amazingly selfless she was for blessing another family with a sweet miracle from God?

She needs to know that I am not the only one who thinks she is sooooooooo cool and incredibly amazing!!! She does not read my blog. I will take your comments and email them to her separately. I purposely have not shared my blog with her because I do not want to rub my little Ds angel in her face. It would hurt her in this fragile state she is in.

Adoption is a beautiful, incredible and selfless decision, on both parts. So many people cannot have children, but long to be parents. Some people have the heart to rescue a child or children who have been abondoned or abused. Some people, like this family, specifically wanted another child with Ds because they have hearts for the Lord, and God himself, desgined them to LOVE, desire and long for another. Without my friend, their dream might never have been fulfilled.

Your comments will be cherished!

12 comments:

brandiandboys said...

melissa,
what a story, my goodness! i will have to say that i have witnessed over and over again your personal dedication to your friends, Melissa, you are such a woman of honor.

dear melissa's friend,
i am so sorry for the pain you feel. the decision you made was not an easy one, but what a special person you are for choosing to give Luke life. i will remember you in my prayers and pray for you to feel the comfort and security only God can provide.

Anonymous said...

Melissa--You amaze me as I follow all of your blog and you know I love you. I just wanted to send a message to your friend. ES

Dear Melissa's friend,

I truely pray your pain will ease in time. Know that God's plans are the ultimate glory for Him. I have been on both sides in my life and I know it is not easy. I have two grown sons that I adopted when they were little. It was not easy as they had many problems but I loved them dearly. Now one of those 2 sons has had to give up my twin grandchildren for adoption. One of the twins will need special attention/education/love all of his life and I know in my heart that my son could not have given what he will need and finally made the ultimate sacrifice to voluntarily give them up while they were babies. But I know they are being raised by an absolutely wonderful family that I was a part of seeing it through. I only tell you the brief version of my story to let you know that God loves you so much and is so proud of you for giving Luke life; and He had a plan for you to choose the right family to raise Luke for His glory.

eveannunziato said...

Dear Friend,
I am praying for you. You are brave and selfless. I admire you for making a decision best for your son, Luke. God loves and supports adoption. Moses - adopted. Jesus - adopted by Joseph. And each one of us - adopted by God.

Melissa thanks for your unwavering faith, love and obedience. You heart inspires me!

Melissa Irwin said...

I'm so thankful for your comments so far. I pray she will be so blessed and encouraged when I share this with her in a few days.

Anonymous said...

Melissa,

I don't comment on blogs - - never have - - never planned to - - but what a wonderful way to use your blog. How can I not comment? what a wonderful friend you - - thank you for being there for her.

Dear friend,
I am so sorry you are hurting. What a wonderful decision you made to give LIFE. I hurt for you and will keep all of you in my prayers this week. You made your decison through prayer and with heart. Keep your eyes on God and allow Him heal your wounds and broken heart. Sent with love & care.

Tam said...

all i can say...is i commend you. friend, your choice was courageous. mine, over 20 years ago, to have 2 abortions, not so courageous. in fact, i was a coward. you, you are not. you are brave. you chose life. and you chose to give that life a chance. thank you. you don't know me and i dont know you...but your decision has blessed the me to my core. thank you. i applaud you.

i cant imagine, even so, the pain that you are experience. maybe 2nd guessing your decision. please know the most important part here is that little boy has 'life' because you cared enough to give it to him! wow. i admire you!

i praise God right now for your stoic decision. and i pray that you can fully see what a beautiful thing you have done. Lord bless you and flood you with peace!

Tam said...

oh good lord melissa...please fix my grammatical errors before you send this to her.

sheeze ;-o

thank you for sharing this with us.

wow.

The Clicks said...

Dear Melissa's Friend:

My Aunt and Uncle were unable to have children because my uncle had cancer. They tried for many years, but were never able to get pregnant. They pursued adoption and it was a long, painful process. Finally, they were granted the adoption of a baby boy. And they named him Philip, which means Gift from God. When he was two, he was diagnosed with Autism. He's 15 now and they have had many trials with him, but I firmly BELIEVE Philip was destined to be with my Aunt and Uncle. They are incredible parents to Philip. Had Philip's mother chosen abortion, Philip would not be a part of my life and the lives of so many others. Adoption is a beautiful and brave thing to do. You have given life to someone who will bring blessings to so many others. You have shared your gift with someone else who will cherish your boy forever. God will reward you for this gift. My Aunt and Uncle later were able to get pregnant and had two beautiful boys of their own. God will bless you too.

Stay strong in the Lord!

DEb said...

Dear Melissa's Friend,

Do you know how special YOU are? God does. Do you know how LOVED you are? How LOVED your little baby was by YOU and by his adopted parents? God does. Don't let this life experience take away from what God intended you to be. KNOW that God has a big plan for you and all that you have done and continue to do. Don't let the devil steal your joy, sister!! We are all adopted by God - Nothing is ours...it's ALL His. God is blessing you with any and all decisions you have made and continue to make... HE LOVES YOU THE WAY YOU ARE! Carpe Diem!! I am praying!! You have a FABULOUS friend in Melissa!!

Jenni Catron said...

Melissa, I am continually amazed at how you have given yourself to other families facing Ds. You have embraced this surprise and unknown in your life with amazing love and grace!

To Melissa's friend,
You are loved by so many, but most importantly by your creator and savior. I'm praying for God to give you peace, joy and hope.

loridknerr said...

Wow - this is such a touching post. You, girlfriend, are such an inspiration. I know I've said that before, but really. I want to be more like you and have the attitude that you have.

Dear friend of Melissa,
You have to forgive yourself. God has and now you should, too. HE is great and you have a huge heart. You are Luke's savior, just as you were saved. You chose life. You gave life. Luke is in a very special and wonderful home. May you find peace and rest in HIS arms.

Jenn said...

Dear friend, As I am trying to write this...my bouncing little girl is running circles around me squealing with delight. She also has been blessed with an extra 21st chromosome, and I am thankful every day that her birth parents chose life for her, and allowed me to adopt her!!

Though your decisions have been hard, your love for your son is so obvious. May God comfort you and bring you piece!