Saturday, March 12, 2011

anton's story, part one

I really don't want to write this story, because I know I'll leave things out and that there's no way I can do it justice. I'm sitting down without much idea of how this will go, but my prayer is that God will be in my words, and show you the beauty of this story though my words be lacking...

There is so much in my head these days. About God. About Life. About our purpose here. I am being convicted (tortured?) left and right, and I have felt so restricted. I just mean that I have made excuses to God - why I can't be used, why I'm not the one He would want, all the things I'm not able to do with my "limited" life.

And then, on February 8, 2011, God said, "Shut it. Get your lazy butt up, stop making excuses and DO something." Or something like that. But let me back up...

Do you guys know Kristy? She is a mommy of five with an amazing (often heartbreaking) story. In July of 2005, she gave birth to her second son, Isaac, who had a severe brain defect and lived only six days. (He also had blistering and sloughing skin, but nobody knew what it was.) They were told he had contracted a virus in utero and that his condition was not genetic. In February of 2008, she gave birth to her fourth son, Asher, who also died from the same brain condition. Kristy has vulnerably and honestly shared her grief journey and how God has led her and her family through the valley. She began blogging her journey in November of 2007 when they found out that Asher was not going to live.

I found Kristy's blog through a click here then here then here sort of situation soon after my Gabe died in April of 2008. I soon lost it in the vastness of cyberspace but never forgot her story or her boys. 

Vanessa found Kristy's blog and my blog in the Fall of 2008, soon after she found out, at 19 weeks, that her conjoined twins had a zero chance of survival. Vanessa and Kristy became friends on Facebook shortly after Vanessa's sweet girls, Melody and Madison, were born and passed away on November 11, 2008. 

In February of 2009, I gave birth to Jonah and my blog really started getting traffic due to his rare diagnosis and prayer requests and mentions from Facebook and other bloggers.

On June 1, 2009, Kristy gave birth to her daughter, Hope. Hope did not have the brain defect that Isaac and Asher had but had some sort of skin condition. I started getting comments on the blog. Readers who read both of our blogs asked me to go show Kristy's family some support. They soon diagnosed sweet Hope with Epidermolysis Bullosa, yet another rare genetic disorder.

God led me to Kristy's blog again. I haven't lost it since. :) Kristy and I soon became Facebook friends and became close through our EB connection. I sent her diapers. She sent me baby food. We've just tried to love on and support each other any way we could think of. (And she tempts me with awesome books she's reading and then I have to go buy them and read them too.)

In January of 2010, sweet Anton, a child with Epidermolysis Bullosa, was born as one in a set of twins a world away. He was abandoned by his parents at the hospital and became an orphan.

In the summer of 2010, Kristy came to Texas to meet up with some other mommy bloggers who had all lost babies. Their reunion was taking place 15 minutes from Vanessa's house. Vanessa joined them and was able to meet Kristy face to face, after having read her blog for a year and a half.

All through January and February of 2011, God moved my heart. We agonized that we couldn't adopt Anton ourselves, but I knew that God was asking me to help. On Friday, February 4th, 2011, I first blogged about Anton. He had been in the hospital for a year. I didn't know what to do. On February 7th, I once again blogged about Anton, pleading with folks to spread his story. It wasn't enough. What was I supposed to be doing? How could I help? The Holy Spirit just wouldn't leave me alone. I prayed that God would give me wisdom and guidance. Please, show me what it is.

On February 8, 2011, God gave Kristy, Vanessa, and me a big ol' face slappin'. In that ONE day, Anton's post and PayPal button went up on Reece's Rainbow, I started the Hope for Anton fundraising blog, Kristy, who had found out about Anton from my blog, posted about him and posted his Reece's Rainbow link, and Vanessa... well, God made her get on Facebook after a three to four month hiatus. Vanessa had given up Facebook and had not been on IN MONTHS. This particular day, she just got on to suggest two of her friends to each other to try to connect them for a possible job opportunity. She was scrolling through her news feed, and there was a post from Kristy about Anton. Vanessa clicked on his photo, and read his story on Reece's Rainbow. She immediately knew that he was her son. After talking and praying with her husband, she called Kristy. She first left Kristy a voicemail and later found out that the reason Kristy had not answered the phone was because she was rocking Hope to sleep. As she rocked (and Vanessa was leaving her a voicemail), Kristy was praying that God would clearly show them their role in Anton's life. Kristy called Vanessa back and both women cried as Vanessa told her the news. Immediately the Delgados began pursuing sweet Anton. Vanessa soon contacted me, we became Facebook friends, and I invited her to come and stay a week with us as soon as possible.

Last Sunday, I picked Vanessa up from the airport. She began her "EB Training" immediately. All the while her adoption agency was working with Reece's Rainbow on their case. By Friday morning (yesterday), it was official. Vanessa and Jason were Anton's committed family. She was here with me when we found out. We toasted with pieces of bacon.

Sometimes our God is a God of subtleties. But sometimes, SOMETIMES, God obviously and intricately weaves a story so amazing and beautiful, it takes your breath away. Sometimes He takes three women from three different states and links them together through the loss of their five babies and through an incredibly rare genetic disorder that most everyone has never heard of. Sometimes, when we think that good could NEVER come from things so awful and we think we'll never come through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, God is working and orchestrating something so beautiful, we could never imagine it in a million years. Did God take our babies so Anton would find his family? I don't think so. Did God allow Jonah and Hope to have EB so Anton could come home? I doubt it. But He is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever imagine to bring hope and joy out of dark places.

And as Kristy stated in this beautiful post, "VanessaPatrice and I all have babies waiting for us in Heaven and I can't help but think that they are smiling down, knowing that they each have served such a grand purpose."

Y'all, God is so very, very good. I pray that you know Him and know his infinite love and abounding grace. Even when all hope seems lost, it NEVER is. God is STILL in the miracle business. Open your eyes. Stop making excuses. Let Him use you. He has a beautiful story to tell and He so wants you to be a part of it. 

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