Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Fears Found In The "Basement"

On Saturday Mike was organizing our basement and he came across this book that I had partially filled out before I even had kids, on December 12, 1999 to be exact. He started flipping through the pages and then he came to this page and read it out loud to me (this is just too crazy people):

It says: Your greatest fear about having children...

WOW. Did I actually write that? When I heard him read it I said "What!" "I really wrote that?" "I can't believe I wrote that!" I think at first when I heard the word "retarded" I was floored but we'll get to that in a minute.

So the fear about a child being sick-hmmm...for those of you that don't know, Ainsley was very sick when she was born. I wrote about it in my very first post but she had something called Nonimmune hydrops fetalis and the doctors told us that 70% of babies with hydrops do not make it out of the O.R.- meaning they don't survive birth. If you go on the internet (which of course I did while Ainsley was in the NICU-bad, bad, bad) the mortality rate for hydrops is in the high 90's, percentage wise. So there's one of my fears that came true (not to say of course that one of them won't get sick like that again-but Lord willing they won't).

Now onto that other one. The fear that my child would be retarded. {Taking a deep breath in}There's two parts to this that get to me. 1) This word I used bothers me. It bothers me because I don't know why I actually wrote retarded. I hate that word and I hate when people say that word and I hate to think about Bennett in that way but was I writing it in the terms that the medical community uses it as in "mentally retarded" or did I just used to throw that word around like it was nothing? I really don't think it was in my common vocabulary, I just really don't and I'm ashamed if it was. And 2) Once again a fear I had, a fear that I actually wrote down... (I realize the fact that having the fear that your child will have a mental disability or any disability is not uncommon, but to write it down and then to have it happen-WOW) ...happened. In the "basement" of my heart I had these real fears and totally forgot about them until Mike found this book. So what's going on here?

Recently I remember reading the status of a friend on facebook: "If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans" (thanks Susan)- I laughed when I read that. Now, this can seem a little harsh but I don't think it's meant to be and I don't see God up there laughing at us and our little plans in life and destroying them (or so we think) or laughing at our fears and then throwing them right in our face. The way I look at it is simple: He has his plans, sometimes they go right in line with ours and sometimes they don't and sometimes we just have to face our fears head on to realize that with Him we don't have to be so afraid. The above saying is kind of like the one about "Don't ask God for patience or he'll give you something to be patient about" and I'm not saying "You better not write down or voice your fears because watch out, God will allow them to happen". God isn't like this. But I do think that sometimes what we think we fear most, God has a way of showing us that maybe it's not so much to fear and I guess in my case it just so happens that he wanted to show me them directly.:)

And I do believe "God doesn't give us more than we can handle" but sometimes I think he does give us more than we think we can handle. Like God didn't give me a baby Bennett, a 5 year old Bennett, a 15 year old Bennett and a 30 year old Bennett- now that would be too much to handle. But we've all had times where we think "this is enough, I can't take any more". So by giving us more than we think we can handle, he's not punishing us but maybe it's so we will come to Him because if every thing were just bearable, just enough where we felt we could handle it, we'd never look to Him and we'd never be able to experience Him handling our fears or trials with us-head on.

I'm still sitting here amazed that I actually wrote down those two fears and they actually happened, they literally happened just as I had feared (and yes I cringe at the thought of Bennett being retarded because this word to me is very hurtful and I will NEVER refer to him in that way). Am I angry that these fears happened? No. Are there times and will there be times (specifically with Bennett) that I wish they didn't happen-yeah, I think so. But you know, those aren't my fears any more. And frankly I don't know what my fears would be now. I'm just living and trying not to live in fear and I think that's what God wants.


  1. what a great, heartfelt post! isn't it kind of a nice feeling, now, to not know what your fears would be, if you were asked, because in a way your fears already happened and you made it through and are doing a GREAT job of being Ainsley, Harper & Bennett's mommy!!!

    by the way- WTG on the homemade dinner! I actually made dinner on Thursday... we usually eat a lot of qdoba, panera, pizza, etc... around here, but I went to the grocery and bought actual ingredients to make some food at home! it has been nice to have leftovers around for lunch - but i am still a fan of takeout, as well :)

  2. Wow! That is really something. Don't beat yourself up for using that word. I used to use it, too. I guess I never thought past my own self to realize how hurtful it truly is. And at least you meant it in the "real" sense, and not just to say "Oh, that's really stupid" (which is how I used to use it).
    Anyway, it is amazing to see God work. I am SO glad He didn't give me a 15 or 30 year old Benjamin. I can't handle thinking about that right now. I am glad that His mercies are new each morning. I am glad that He made Benjamin for me just as He made Bennett for you.


  3. Wow. Time and time again these wild things happen to all of us. Again you have given me food for thought. I used to say when I was in my twenties and in college and was working with children and adults with DS that I would be the type of person who "should" have a baby with DS. I actually said that to my college boyfriend. SOOOOO weird, right?!?!?

  4. Very interesting... our deepest fears realized. But, really, you wrote that 10 years ago. You're not the same person you were then. My high school book says I wanted to be married to my then boyfriend. Oh, how I'm glad that didn't happen LOL. I, too, feared having a child with special needs when I was younger, but I never gave it a thought during any of my pregnancies because I had already changed/matured and become open to God's will for my life. I think it's easier when you let Him be in the driver's seat. :-)

  5. It really makes you think when finding things from your past that reflect in a profound way on what is happening now. I think back to being in college and talking to my roommate (who was in school for OT) about having children, and how we were both afraid that God may give us a child with special needs because God would think we could "handle" it. I roll my eyes thinking about that now, if I had only known I had nothing to be fearful of.

  6. Check this out- you never know what the future may hold so hang on in there :)

  7. Amazing. I personally think it's a testimony to the kind of woman you to conquer your fears with God by your side! He has truly blessed you with a beautiful family!!

  8. Wow, again I say Thank You for posting exactly what I haven't been able to say. After our first was born, all I could think was "at least he's healthy". We were fortunate. I now believe that I will never say that to anyone again. Healthy or not that child is exactly how God designed them to be. There would be Bennett without DS, and there would be no Johanna without T18. Thank you.

    And congrats on getting dinner together. I don't cook all that much either, so I'm impressed that you were able to do it all, with everything else that you have going on.

    Here's to real Moms that don't get it all done on time, but our families are still strong.

  9. I believe where you saw fear, God saw an opportunity to grow your faith in Him! Besides, if you've already "survived" your worst parenting fears, then the rest should be easy to trust Him with! My biggest fear was drugs and alcohol. I've never been drunk and never touched drugs, yet I've been to the hospital with my child twice for drug overdoses and once for alcohol poisoning. She's now a sober mom to Leon, the sweetest baby ever, and she's doing better than I ever imagined. Not perfect, but she's trying! God is good!

  10. Loved the post. Very, very true! The quote was actually a part of a country song by Van Sant (Help Somebody). You should listen to the whole song! It's so amazing how God knows every little thing that is going to happen in our lives way before we do. :)

  11. Wow! I loved this post! I can't believe you wrote those fears down so long ago. It really is amazing. What's more amazing though is how you have realized how God can help us through anything - even our greatest fears. I loved what you wrote about how God may just allow some of the hard things in life to cause us to rely on his strength and not our own. I totally agree. I also think that the more "hard" things in life we experience the less time we spend worrying about the future. The more we see and experience God's faithfulness the more we realize that he will help us when the time comes.

  12. Wow - that's crazy. I too, am a firm believer that God gives you things you can handle, or at least handle with His help :)
    That's one of the wierd things about adopting Max - we had the opportunity to say no thanks, if we didn't think we could handle it. {Good thing we didn't know all the details of his heart defect - just kidding.}

  13. I loved reading this post, Adrienne.

    In the basement of our hearts, indeed.

    I can relate to this story, and I can appreciate the crossroads you may have faced when contemplating publishing it. It's not that you wrote what you did all those years ago; it's your honesty about what you wrote, and your transparency that makes this story so impactful and wonderful.

  14. WOW......what a post! Makes you stop and think, though....

    I can relate a little....about the 'r' word....didn't realize how much I used it until Jn and I started making the students we were around aware of when they said it. They would say that something was "r........" and I would say, 'You know, my son actually is retarded and I really would appreciate you not using that word in my presence." Then of course, they would apologize profusely and they never used again. At least in my presence. But it made them realize they shouldn't casually use a word that is so hurtful.

    You are an amazing mom, Adrienne.....GOD chose you for a reason!

  15. The opportunities that God presents us with in life never cease to amaze me. Your children are blessed to have such wonderfuly insightful and supportive parents.

  16. Wow, Adrienne. Thank you for being so transparent. An excellent post!


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