Today at CatholicExchange.com, Mark Shea answers the question, “What would you do if your unborn child received a poor diagnosis, such that you knew he or she would not survive for long?”
If you or someone you know is struggling with this issue, you may like to know about a special online ministry to grieving parents called “Be Not Afraid.net.” With compassion and courage, parents of “imperfect” children share their experiences with others, and affirm the reality that every child is a gift from God, no matter how long that child is in our arms.
This is something worth considering for parents who are seriously considering adoption or foster-adoption, but hold back in case something should “go wrong” and the child be returned to the birth parents. No human relationship — no matter how loving — is guaranteed for life. And yet, if you choose to love, that relationship has lasting effects that will transform both parties for life.
Thanks, Mark, for sharing your wisdom on this!
Heidi, I did not know when I was 26 years old that I was carrying a mentally handicapped child. I’m so glad my ob-gyn didn’t think testing was necessary and I did not have to face that. In truth, his diagosis 3 years later was difficult. It was difficult watching him not making his milestones. But the Lord was gracious. He was merciful to me and I had to change.
But I am here to tell you that Graham is the biggest blessing of my life. He has exceeded everyone’s expectations. He is 20 years old, has a part-time job with over $1,000 in the bank, he is an alter boy, is on a swim team, rides horses, in the youth group but most importantly, he is the sunniest, happiest, non-complaining, laid back guy you’ll meet, he accepts everyone, and is full of unconditional love.
I shudder to think if he had been aborted. The world, his world, would be the poorer.
Wow — just wow. Thank you Heidi!
Thanks for this link, Heidi. I did not know about my daughter’s heart defect before her birth, and people often ask me if I would have preferred knowing ahead of time. I don’t give it much thought, because that obviously was not God’s plan. Of course I know I would not have had an abortion, but I can imagine the process of fear and grief that would have begun at a sooner point.
I know several moms who have known ahead of time that their babies would die soon after birth, and groups like Perinatal Hospice were very helpful. Our culture at large of course has no understanding of moms who do not kill their “imperfect” children, so we as Christians need to be ready to offer the support these families deserve.
Articles like Mark’s are GREAT resourses for all of us.