Today more than ever, we live in a world of fear of the unknown. We have a need for security and peace in our lives, a deep need to know that everything will be all right. We pray for guidance and strive to be the best we can, only to see on a daily basis that we never quite meet up to other’s expectations of us, or so it seems. You see, we are constantly being judged in a matter of a second of communicating and meeting with even those people who we regard as being close to us.
We can imagine, then, how it might feel to a couple who have just learned that their much wanted and awaited for baby may well be defective. The flood of emotions for the hurt deep inside for their little one who they dreamed of as being perfect and achieving great things in this life, to their own personal fears of the unknown. Of what it would be like caring for a wee baby that might live only a short time, and then having to lose that child. They might also feel very fearful that if they go ahead with the pregnancy the little baby might suffer, and that is something they just cannot bear to face. There is the added fear of what a sick or handicapped child might do to the marriage.
Over the past several years I have witnessed an ever growing number of diagnosis of so-called lethal anomalies, from anything that could be deafness to the most severe of holoprosencephaly (where in fact the child was born normal and healthy and is now six years old). Once detected, the pressure is usually on the mother to have an early birth.
I remember a little fifteen year old girl who came into the care of our crisis pregnancy centre. Her tiny baby’s heart was growing outside of her little body and it was thought that there were possibly other organs protruding as well.
Suffice to say that FLI pulled out all the stops to get as much top-of-the-line medical assistance and support, even in Australia, for this young mum, but she was coerced into having an early birth (abortion). The mother carried around the tiny little baby with a little black blob on her tummy for six days, grieving while the family fought as to how to bury the child.
While many would say that the destruction of this tiny child would have been the best outcome, I strongly disagree and would always err on the side of the natural law, allowing mum time, and dad if he is around, to love and protect their little one. The baby who is sick in utero and may not survive needs to be loved and nurtured just like any other child. God knows when it is His time to take the child to heaven.
The deep sadness and the aftermath of this sorry story was horrendous and will remain etched in our hearts forever.
From this and the many other very sad situations we find ourselves faced with at our centre, I felt it was time to launch the Therese program.
With the expert research of a volunteer, we have produced an easy guide manual on the most common lethal anomalies. The guide is for busy doctors, nurses, mums and dads, pro-life centres and all those interested in learning about a diagnosis at a glance. Through this we give we hope, assurance and love and support to those in need.
FLI recognizes the sacrifices parents make to bring their special children into the world. We understand the heartache … and the tremendous joy and pride associated with the reality of parenthood of special children. They can never be branded as being a drain on society but a huge blessing, bringing unconditional love, joy and a peace that nothing else can provide. I know, we have four adopted special needs children and the youngest is only five years old and has the greatest needs. She teaches us patience, understanding of the frailty of humanity, she teaches us joy and fun, and yes, exhaustion at times. We know, though, beyond a shadow of doubt that she has already earned her crown and is so very close to the very heart of Jesus. We love this little one dearly and have named the Therese program after her.
For resources and information on the Therese program please contact Colleen through the FLI website – www.fli.org.nz.