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From Susan:Just this week I felt this crazy urgent nudge to call a doctor in another state with whom I had not spoken in 17 years. You see, this doctor, Doctor Bill xxxx, was our son Jonny's heart doctor, and I was savoring the memory of how his advice changed our life!!! This fond memory made me want to ask him to talk with a young couple J and B, whose first little baby was just born half way across the country, with Jonny's same heart problems--problems that only occur 1 in 250,000 births!!!
|Susan and Brian with Cristi and Jonny|
But the faith-filled side of me thought, "Lord, is it You giving me this idea as a way to encourage this young family? What can I lose by trying?"
So I googled his name, <Dr. Bill xxxx, pediatric cardiology> and BAM, the first link was to his office and phone number. He has gone on to become a very well known pediatric cardiologist who helps run a well known pediatric cardiology center!
Then I called the number and told his secretary, "This is Dr. Susan Hillis calling. I am wondering if I might speak with Dr. Bill xxxx....I am not sure he remembers me, but he took care of our son years ago."
And Dr. Bill, the head of a busy cardiology center, came right to the phone, "Susan Hillis, how in the world is the CDC doing and how are you doing???"
He DID remember me!!!
And he WAS available.
And he DID answer the phone!
This BUSY man was free right when I was nudged to call.
|Brian, Cristi, Trevor, and Jonny|
And this is what I told Dr. Bill, "Bill, a childhood friend of Jonny's and of our daughter Cristi has just given birth to their first baby--a precious little girl who has the same rare heart defect that Jonny did. I have just been remembering the two things you did for us that changed our life and wishing they could talk with you. I'd like to tell you what those two things were:
- First, when I planned to teach all our friends and all Jonny's teachers CPR, you said, "Susan, you cannot do this! If you tell others that Jonny will be at risk of sudden death from cardiac arrest every day of his life, then the adults will be afraid of him. And if the adults are afraid of Jonny then the kids will be afraid of Jonny....because kids always copy adults. What you must do instead is this: LIVE A NORMAL, HEALTHY FAMILY LIFE, AND FOCUS PRIMARILY ON LIFE, NOT ON PROTECTION FROM DEATH.
- Second, when Jonny's heart was growing weaker and weaker at 10 months of age, you sat down with us and explained, "If we do nothing, you will have about 6 months, but if we operate and close the hole between the upper 2 chambers, he could have years. The catch is this: the risk of him dying from the surgery is very very high and the likelihood of the surgery working is very low. But if it did work, you would have years with your son, not months. It is up to you." Bill, do you remember that?" Dr. Bill replies, "Oh....I remember it like it was yesterday!" I then continued, "Well, Bill, you know that your courage won us years with our dear son--years of memories and laughter that we would NEVER have had if you had not been willing to let us make that choice. Making that choice caused many rocky months for us and for you....like that Friday and Saturday you sat by Jonny's bed when he almost died, and titrated all those potent IV meds going into his veins, with your eyes on all his numbers and monitors and pressures, to see if it would be possible for that little heart to begin to function. What I want for this young couple is for them to have someone like you, who will be willing to talk with honesty about their choices, and who is kind and capable. It is so hard to go through something like this when you are so young. We had to do it, and your help made all the difference for our entire family and for his entire life. You helped us all focus on enjoying life and not fearing death!"
and he answered their call.
And he helped them.
So, why is this story important for adoptive/foster parents OR for any parents?!It is important for 2 reasons:
1. There is always someone else you will be able to help. When those nudges come, it is good to pay attention to them. It will be a blessing for you and for them!!
(recall II Corinthians 1...those reminders to comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have received from God!!!). And there will be others nudged to help you when you need it.
Don't be afraid to act.
Don't be afraid to ask.
2. The same 2 family life lessons that Dr. Bill modeled for me is what I hope to pass along to you:
- First, let's live as normal a life as possible, and focus on LIFE and GIFTS and ENJOYING EACH OTHER, not primarily on PROTECTION and CONSEQUENCES and DEFICIENCIES. The past month has been very hard for me--one of the hardest in years. Unexpected rejection that is painful. Horrible realizations. But those cannot be my focus. My focus will be on LIFE and the BLESSINGS abounding even amidst sorrow.
- Second, be willing to be DIVERGENT....like that movie that I just watched by the same title. Dr. Bill would have been among those "divergent: ones--he was courageous, kind, intelligent, erudite, and selfless in his service toward our sweet son and our entire family. I want to be like him. Like him with others who are walking in this same adoption calling, so that we can see weak floppy hearts with holes in them become strong, just like happened against all odds with Jonny's.
So this week Lord, equip us with that joy that comes from being in Your story. Thank you that, Lord Jesus, you were always focusing on life--
life to the full....
life with purpose.....
a life of forgiveness....
a life of love.
We want to focus on LIFE. And Lord, we want to be different...divergent--those who, because our eyes are on YOU, are filled with courage and kindness and selflessness and capacity and wisdom.
For your glory.
For the blessing of our family and others on our path every day. Amen and amen.