Friday, February 24, 2012

"Letting go of our plans"

A friend of mine asked if I would write an article for her MOPS newsletter this week.  She asked that I write about our story with Bennett and what we've learned. It brought back some yucky feelings I had but good to see how far we've come....

As I sat in the patient room waiting for the doctor to come in, I knew something was wrong.  It was taking much longer than it usually did and I began to worry.  I was 17 weeks pregnant and up until this point things had gone well.  That was until 24 hours before when I realized some test results never came back in the mail like they should have when all was "normal".  As I sat there watching the door handle and waiting to hear the rustling of my chart, I envisioned a little girl.  I had no idea yet what we were having but I was sure it was a girl.   She was wearing a dress that matched her big sister but she didn't look like them and something was very, very wrong...she had Down syndrome.

The doctor finally came in and after too much small talk, my biggest fear was confirmed. The test results did not come back normal and the probability of my baby having Down syndrome was very high.  During the next few days further testing was done and on December 26, 2008 we found out through an amniocentesis that we would be having a little boy and he in fact had Down syndrome.  He also had a major heart defect that would require surgery.

That day was one of the worst days of my life.  I felt like the perfect baby we were supposed to be having was taken away from us.  So many terrible thoughts went through my head.  For a brief minute I thought to myself-maybe he won't survive, maybe his heart defect is too big to fix, maybe that would be for the better.  Having a child with special needs was NOT in my big life plan after all.  I did not sign up for it and really wanted no part of it.  I knew we had options, which thinking back now brings me to tears because although I would have never ended the pregnancy, it's estimated that 9 out of 10 women do.  9 out of 10 women didn't want the baby I was going to have.

Where was God in all of this?  I felt like he left us to sift through this huge mess. Did he just let our baby have Down syndrome and now he wasn't going to help us out?  As the weeks went on I  would think how did this happen to me?  I was a college athlete, did well in school, I was healthy.  Things came pretty easy to me and that's how it was supposed to be for my children...PRIDE.  I would see other pregnant women glowing, knowing nothing was wrong with their baby, all would be perfect for them....JEALOUSY.  I would read the statistics about children with Down syndrome and clinch my fists....ANGER.  And then I would see an adult with Down syndrome walking around in the store with most likely their elderly parent....SADNESS.  All these feelings:  pride, jealousy, anger, and sadness came to me and I couldn't understand why God was allowing all of this.  Why would he bring me such terrible feelings from a little baby I was about to have?

I had 5 months to prepare for this baby and in those 5 months I prayed a lot.  I began to realize that these feelings were not from God.  God isn't about pride, jealousy, anger or sadness.  He's about love.  And once I saw that my life plan was never really in my hands but in God's hands, I saw that this baby must be part of a much greater plan than mine.

"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."

Jeremiah 29:11

And then I realized that God didn't just let Down syndrome happen.  He made my son carefully just like he made my daughters but with a little something extra;)

"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb,"

Psalm 139:13

In God's eyes my son was perfection.  He made him just the way He wanted to make him.  

Bennett is now 2 years old.  He has a fixed heart and is healthy as can be.  In the 2 years that he's been with us, he's brought us more joy than we could have ever imagined.  Never in a million years would I have thought having a son with Down syndrome would be such an amazing thing.  I feel like I've been given this little gift!  God gave us this beautiful little person to love and to cherish.  Through Bennett we've learned to be more accepting towards others that are different from us.  We learned a whole lot of patience.  We've learned to let go of our plans and give everything over to God.  We've learned to not sweat the small stuff.  We've learned that Bennett was made perfect in God's image and that we wouldn't change one thing about him.

Raising a child with special needs is hard, there's no doubt about it.  But the joy and love you experience is indescribable.  It's something I never thought I wanted, until I had it.  To think that so many women choose to not let these precious babies come into the world.  If they only knew the love that would come from it.

If they only let go of their plans and let God step in.  

Adrienne is the wife to Mike and mother to three:  Ainsley (7), Harper (4) and Bennett (3)


  1. your story is beautiful! how far we have come! I hope this gets in the hands of the new mama with the new diagnosis...if only we could fast forward two+ years! Bennett is just ROCK'n IT! smiles to you all..

  2. Remember all those same feelings when we found out that Rachel had Down syndrome. ALL of them!! What a difference a couple of years can make. I too feel very blessed to have been given Rachel. Not every mom gets to experience what we get to experience!

  3. Beautiful post, loved your honesty.

  4. Adrienne,
    Your strength is PHENOMENAL! I'm 19 weeks pregnant now and I have to say you have inspired me. Dan and I wanted to get the blood test to know if our unborn child has anything extra special. ;) We don't have our results back yet. I've taken this away from reading your blogs regularly: If our child does Down Syndrome, etc. we want to know early so we can research and prepare to give our child the best life he/she deserves.
    Thank you for being so open about your feelings and your journey!
    Kristen Shuman

  5. Thank you Adrienne for sharing such heartfelt emotions, your words brought tear to my eye. It is a joy to read about your family. I'm pretty sure God knew exactly what He was doing when He chose you as parents for Bennett and the girls. ;-)
    Thanks again for sharing, and hugs to all-
    Terese from Seattle

  6. Kids with Downs are JOY personified! There's a little boy with Ds at my school that is ROTTEN, knows a few four-letter words and how to use them, is stubborn, BUT I just see him coming and smile! He hugs and loves on me all the time. He's is precious and I just know Heaven is even brighter with these children there. It breaks my heart every time I think about the 9:1 odds the diagnosed in utero ones will be aborted. :(

  7. Such beautiful words. I know children with down syndrome are often born with alot of physical ailments but in every other way I find them to be perfectly perfect. I think they are some of Gods greatest gifts.

  8. Thank you for sharing your blog and your beautiful story. I am a teacher who has the priviledge of working with special needs children. They have brought me unimaginable joy through the years. Enjoy the gift you have been given, and thanks for sharing your story.

  9. Adrienne, pefecetly written and any mom reading this who received the same prenatal diagnosis totally relates to your words; as I did reading it! Life is great and I had no idea before Mikey was born (T21)that life would be as normal and fun as it is. Just another test in life to find that inner strength to make it through the scary uknowns and to see everything just works out. Thanks again, I hope other moms going through similar emotions can read your words and see they are not alone and gain some comfort knowing that they too will feel the same way once their little babies are born, hugged and loved! Stephanie

  10. Love this, thank you for sharing! Jermiah 29:11 has been our family's life verse since Emily was born :-)

  11. You are so inspiring and have a way of putting everything into perspective. I wish everyone that has a computer would read this. THANK YOU and GOD bless you always. Sherri Adams

  12. Thanks so much for sharing! It was a beautiful picture of how we as moms struggle when we receive diagnoses and then how God is so faithful to do a work in our hearts, both showing us the beautiful blessings He has given us in our children and also helping us to see His goodness and steadfast love toward us through it all.

  13. Could have been our story, including heart defect and all, your feelings, etc. only we have a little 10 month old girl with Ds... Beautifully written!
    Thanks for sharing!!

  14. Thank you for your honesty and openess concerning your real feelings during a trying time that is supposed to be filled with joy and anticipation. You chose life and you chose to lean on God. In return, you have been blessed and share your blessings with others. What an inspiration!


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