Have you ever been told to walk away from something or someone? If so, did you walk away and not look back?
My wife and I were given this advice several years back. We were shocked!
It was the early 2000’s and we were in the process of adopting a baby boy. He was born a micro-preemie and we had been visiting him in the Neonatal ICU for several weeks. During the first few weeks doctors and nurses were not able to give us much information about our son’s health due to legal issues surrounding the adoption. Yes, we already thought of him as our son and we had fallen in love with him even though the adoption was not yet finalized.
Neither one of us had been able to hold him yet, but we knew we would soon. He was connected to a heart monitor, ventilator, and living in an incubator. Nurses cared for him around the clock. NICU doctors checked on him daily. We asked questions but were not given any answers.
One Friday, we received word that the necessary legal papers were signed and we were finally able to get detailed information from his doctor. My wife and I spent a few hours with the NICU doctor that day. It was not what we expected. He provided us with information surrounding the reason our son was born so early. He then proceeded to inform us of all the consequences a baby born that early might face in life.
His lungs were not fully developed and we were told they may never fully develop. We were told he may never be able to talk or walk. We were told he might have bleeding on the brain, which could lead to brain damage and the worst case scenario was that he may be a “vegetable”. NICU doctors and nurses had not expected him to live as long as he already had lived. After a couple hours of giving information and answering questions, the doctor told us our son may not live very long because of his prematurity. His final statement to us has stuck with me since that Friday afternoon. He told us, “no one will think any less of you if you walk away”.
We couldn’t believe he told us that. I’m sure, in his mind, he saw it as a way out of what could prove to be a very difficult life. We left that meeting trying to process every possible scenario for our son and wondering what God wanted us to do. We spent the next several hours praying, talking, and crying. We were up late that night and even returned to the NICU to talk with our son’s night nurse. What started as an exciting day, ended as one of the most difficult days of our married life. After hours and hours of prayer and talking with each other, we came to a decision.
No matter how long this baby was to live, or what difficulties he may face during life, he deserved to be loved. God had brought him into our lives so that he could experience love. He deserved to be part of a family.
We returned to the hospital the next morning and walked into the NICU where we saw the doctor who, just the day before, gave us every possible worst case scenario. When he saw us walk in, he got a big smile on his face. He knew we were the right couple for this baby.
I write this several years after that difficult Friday and am pleased to report that none of the worst case scenarios played out in our son. He is our miracle. We cannot imagine life without him. Every day we are reminded that our decision to not walk away was more than just the right decision, it was the best decision!
Jeremiah 29:11-13 says “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Over the years this passage has become a reminder to our family that God is with us.
God knew what He was doing when our son was formed in the womb.
God knew what He was doing when our son was born four months premature.
God knew what He was doing when the doctor scared and shocked us.
And, God knew what He was doing when we chose not to walk away!