(in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
12 years ago the sweetest little girl was born. Grace’s birth was emergent and everyone who congratulated us, after they heard the story of her birth, said, “By the grace of God”. Dan had already been calling her Grace so her name seemed very appropriate. Grace, after the grace of God, and Elizabeth Lynne as a middle name because both Cassie and Hope wanted Grace to share their middle names.
I had been thinking that I would love to be pregnant again. My heart was filled with thoughts about another child. Maybe this time I would have an easy pregnancy. Maybe this time everything would go okay. I heard God saying “trust me” over and over again. I kept thinking I might just be crazy but I prayed and prayed that if God wanted me to proceed with this then He would talk to Dan’s heart. I refused to say anything about it. One day, out of the blue, Dan came to me and said, “If we ever want to have another baby, we best be doing it. We aren’t getting any younger.”
God answered my prayers.
It didn’t make any sense for me to have a tubal reversal. We had already adopted. We loved adoption but we heard God saying “trust me” so we did. It had been 11 years since I had been pregnant. 11 years since my tubes had been tied. I was 40 years old.
We were told that the odds were slim to none and yet I got pregnant the very first month.
Because of my age we were required to go to weekly ultrasounds after a certain point in my pregnancy. While our wood floors were finished being stained, Dan and I had just spent the weekend in a hotel. Grandma had the other kids. We were relaxed and enjoying life.
I walked into that routine appointment as happy as can be. I was feeling no pain, no twinges, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I left that appointment being rushed to the hospital for an emergency c-section. Had we not had that appointment, I would have never known that there was something going on, and Grace wouldn’t have survived.
God’s AMAZING grace!
Tons of blood was found. It seemed a vessel had ruptured. As they prepared me for the c-section, I tried my hardest to trust His plan, but it made no sense. We had heard God loud and clear. Why would He take her now?
After the c-section, our doctor, who knew we wanted to try to have more children, asked me if I wanted to try again. I said, “No. I’ve had enough. We’ve had complications with too many pregnancies.” He replied, “Good thing. I have no idea how you got pregnant in the first place. One side is completely scarred and the other doesn’t even look like it’s hooked up.”
Dan took Grace to the nursery. Grace needed oxygen, but she was stable. The high risk o.b. came to check on Grace. He informed Dan that “That was the most blood I have ever seen in a delivery and have the baby survive.”
Grace did remarkably well and avoided the NICU. Grace’s very own neonatologist (daddy) stood by her side and watched her very, very closely.
Grace came home and was doing very well. Grace hit every milestone on time. Grace was sweet and adorable and such a joy. We felt so very blessed. Grace’s older siblings adored her.
Then when Grace was six, she was sick on and off for months. There was nothing that seemed too serious – a cold, a sore throat, a temperature. Grace would get better and then it would be back. Grace was tired and couldn’t seem to kick it. We were thinking strep throat or mono that day when we took Grace to our pediatricians.
I knew by the look on the doctor’s face that it wasn’t good. They said, “We think Grace has leukemia. Appointments have been scheduled this afternoon with oncology.“ I sat there unemotional. We’ve been through bad medical problems before. I refused to fall apart in front of Grace before we knew for sure. We would take this one step at a time. I drove home to pick up Dan. We were prepared to confront one of our worst nightmares.
We showed up at the oncologists and they scheduled a bone marrow biopsy for Grace right away. There were trying to get everything done before Thanksgiving so we didn’t have to wait too long for the results.
They ruled out leukemia, but no one knew for sure what Grace had. There was more blood drawn. We were sent home with our little girl, relieved that it wasn’t leukemia, but worried because we still had no answers.
Then the rash appeared.
Dan had just left for a trip. His plane landed and I called him and sent him the picture text. He said, “It’s lupus.” I’ll be right home.
Dan came home. He pressed for more testing. He argued about waiting until after the first of the year for an appointment at our children’s hospital. He asked for them to do a urine test. He fought all weekend to get this testing done. They finally allowed it and we received the call. “Be at the Children’s Hospital bright and early tomorrow morning. There are issues with Grace’s kidneys.”
We arrived at the hospital and a kidney biopsy was scheduled right away. Grade 4/5 glomerulonephritis was found. Had we waited until after January for Grace’s appointment – Grace would have lost her kidneys. Thank God for daddy’s who have the knowledge to keep pushing.
Grace handled it all with such grace. Grace was strong. Grace trusted God’s plan. When hair loss was mentioned, Grace donated her hair. When she was feeling sad, Grace raised money for Love Without Boundaries. Grace raised awareness for NEGU. Grace prayed. Grace told me to trust God.
Here’s a quote from Grace (7) in a previous blog post.
Last night as I was tucking Grace in she told me that she didn’t like having to wait until the sun went down to swim, that she was really kind of tired of medicine and she wasn’t happy that she would need another pulse of steroids on Wednesday with her chemo. Grace told me that she didn’t think lupus was very nice. Grace said she understood that God is perfect and His plan is perfect so He must have some reason for all this so she would try her best to be happy. Grace then said, “Sometimes happy takes work but it’s worth it.”
Grace is an old, old soul in a six year old’s body.
We had to decide what to do. We were set to travel with our adoptions sometime in the spring, most likely March. Grace needed chemotherapy. Grace needed blood tests and was taking a ton of meds. Could we proceed? Should we proceed? Would Grace be okay if we left?
“Of course we should!” Grace said. “Why would we question God’s plan now mama? We can’t leave my brother and sister in China.”
So we scheduled our travel around her treatments. We traveled and we returned to a very happy girl. Our adoption worked out perfectly and we arrived home the night before Grace’s 7th birthday.
God’s perfect timing!
Throughout these adoptions Grace has been one of our biggest cheerleaders. Grace readily gave up her place as baby of the home. Not one, not two, but nine children are younger than her.
Grace shares her room. Grace is my extra set of hands. Grace is so much like me. Grace LOVES adoption!!! Grace has a heart that is SO big! Grace is the legs for her three sisters in wheelchairs.
When we worried about adopting JJ, it was Grace who reminded us over and over again that kidney issues are scary but doable. When we were adopting Elyse, it was Grace who couldn’t wait to share her room and her clothes.
God knew what He was doing when He placed Grace on my heart all those years ago. God was so very wise. It made NO sense and now I can’t imagine doing this without her.
And yet, when I wrote my recent article for No Hands But Ours, I forgot to mention my sweet girl by name. We mentioned how many children we had, but I didn’t mention Grace by name. I try so hard not to do that. I’ve made that mistake before with Zach and Cassie. It hurts their feelings, even though they understand so I try hard not to. Our bio kids are amazing. They have made this adoption journey possible. They aren’t a footnote in our adoption journey. They are the title page and I hate when because I’m writing about adoption or special needs that they don’t get the credit they deserve.
Grace is an important part of all of our adoptions. Grace has had such faith throughout it all. Grace has trusted God with an amazing faith that most adults don’t have.
I asked Grace what I could do to make it up to her and Grace laughed and said, “You can say my name 77 times in my birthday post.”
And so I have. I LOVE Grace! Grace is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!
My life has been forever changed by a little girl named Grace. Every day I look into her face and I think about every miracle that brought her to my life. Grace Elizabeth Lynne you are an amazing girl and mama is so proud to call you my little girl. Praying God’s blessings continue to surround your life and lead you on the rest of your amazing journey.
Happy birthday Grace!