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Founded in May 2000
Barbara Burke Moderator
Read about the unique
with adopting a toddler
The Truth about
By E. J. Graff
Experience has shown us that ordinary people can have an extraordinary impact on the world just through their love for a child. Children can enrich the spiritual direction and life of their parents by simply just existing. There have been many children my husband and I have loved and lost through birth and adoption that have brought the greatest consequence of pain into our lives and taught us the most invaluable lessons life has to offer regarding 'unconditional love'. It has been solely through our failure to adopt that God has spoken to our hearts and led us on our journey to adopt children we might never have chosen otherwise. Children are our greatest mentor in their weak and vulnerable state. Our children have greatly enriched our outlook on life, deepened our spirituality, and created a closer bond and relationship with God. We knew that all things work together for good for those who love God. But there were lessons we first had to learn. Here is where our story begins...
Experience has shown us that ordinary people can have an extraordinary impact on the world just through their love for a child. Children can enrich the spiritual direction and life of their parents by simply just existing. There have been many children my husband and I have loved and lost through birth and adoption that have brought the greatest consequence of pain into our lives and taught us the most invaluable lessons life has to offer regarding 'unconditional love'. It has been solely through our failure to adopt that God has spoken to our hearts and led us on our journey to adopt children we might never have chosen otherwise. Children are our greatest mentor in their weak and vulnerable state. Our children have greatly enriched our outlook on life, deepened our spirituality, and created a closer bond and relationship with God. We knew that all things work together for good for those who love God. But there were lessons we first had to learn.
Here is where our story begins...
Our first-born child arrived to us unexpectantly early, born premature in the 26th week of my pregnancy. No explanation as to why it happened, but was termed, 'Placenta Abruptio'. Michael Patrick weighed only 1 pound 6 ounces at birth. My doctor had forewarned me in the labor/delivery room that I would be delivering a stillborn baby, but Michael came into the world with a lustful cry, much to everyone's surprise. His incubator was wheeled down to my recovery room shortly after, and Michael was wide-awake and alert, breathing on his own. I was to spend a precious moment with our new son before he was flown to the major medical center's prenatal care unit. I slid my hand through the rubber glove attached to his incubator and Michael turned and looked directly into my eyes and latched on to my finger with a strong grip one wouldn't expect from such a tiny hand. 'Michael Patrick's name was chosen in memory of the older brother I never met who was born full-term, but stillborn at birth. My husband also had a brother named Michael, which his mother miscarried early in her pregnancy.
Later on that day, my mother came into my room and I was told that my brother Michael, was also born on this very day. My husband and my mother spent all their time with our Michael in his intensive care unit and would call frequently with reports on how he was doing. I was stuck at the hospital I delivered him in due to excessive bleeding after his delivery. At first I was hopeful. Michael was holding his own, but due to the prematurity of his lungs, problems soon developed. After hearing that Michael was doing poorly the second day, I cried and I prayed; first for a miracle for this much-desired son to live; later for God to take him rather than have him suffer.
I was released on the 3rd day from my hospital and my husband and I drove immediately to see Michael. We scrubbed and donned the blue sterilized hospital gowns and entered Michael's world with uncertain trepidation. It was apparent, Michael was suffering; his eyes were closed, he was breathing with difficulty and blood running from a tiny tube in his body which was trembling. I very gingerly picked him up, held and rocked his tiny body in my arms, gazing into his beautiful face. Michael had a very distinctive masculine nose, very similar to my husbands. I made a mental note of that as well as all his facial features. A young doctor came in, wrapped his arms over both our shoulders and told us that while he was caring for Michael, he couldn't help but wonder what remarkable parents were behind the life of this little boy. He told us of how strong our son was and how hard he was fighting. He gave us a memory to hold in our hearts with pride over our first little boy. I believe it was God's gift and Michael's intent to live just long enough for his mother to hold him and be able to memorize his face and finally, to say good-bye. I could never forget my little boy's precious face.
The phone was ringing when we returned to our apt that day; it was the hospital telling us Michael had died and asking if we wanted to return to hold Michael one last time. We knew when we left him that Michael was dying. We did not need to hold his tired body again. We had said our good-byes. Our heavenly Father was holding our son Michael now. It brought us much peace to know he was out of his pain and suffering and sharing in the joy of God's wondrous embrace. Michael's tiny body was buried in a small grave above my father's and coincidentally, alongside my husband's mother's. This was to be a temporary gravesite for his mother, later to be moved to her home state of Maine, but that never came about, and so Michael is there in the loving embrace of two of his grandparents. A very important message was impressed upon my heart that day as I stood over Michael's gravesite. No actual words were spoken, God talked directly to my heart. "Do not be despondent, for I will give you a son." This was instilled with such certainty that it offered me tremendous peace and I waited for the day God would bring about this gift.
A year and a half later, our eldest son was born; a healthy, robust 7 pounds 14 ounces baby boy born three weeks early. His name is similar to Michael, was selected in memory of his brother. He was very healthy and active and did very well in school and college. He loves children and is now a father, himself of two children. He married a woman with an eight-year-old daughter, and he became an instant father; and is a wonderful father.
Three years later, our second son was born. He also shares in being named after his brother by sharing in his middle name. He was 6 pounds 6 ounces, born six weeks early but strong and healthy nonetheless. I had suffered from 'Placenta. Previa' during his pregnancy, and was on bed rest from four month because of a hemmorrhage. His birth was a normal delivery with no complications and he came home three days after delivery.
Our daughter Christine, adopted in 1995 as a 3-year-old requiring open heart surgery six weeks after her arrival home. She grew up very healthy and was barely sick as a child. On May 4, 2013 she was married to an active-duty military soldier whom she knew from High School. Shortly after their marriage, they had orders for another part of the USA. Although very family loyal, she was prepared to this move and she has had a positive experience of life as an Army wife, like her Mom, and is up to the challenge.
The instant 'peace', instilled within my heart at Michael's gravesite enabled me to fully accept God's will and brought us the reward of not only one, but two healthy sons who today are young adults.
We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life.
But those who make their journey home across time & miles,
growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,
are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us
by God's very own hands. ~Author & Friend -Kristi Larson~
We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life.
Our family's journey into
parenthood through birth
A child is a gift and
blessing from God
in all seasons.
Our daughter's story
Therapy Splinting Links
from my kitchen
The children we
loved and lost
Grandfather & Artist
John G. Burke
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