My birthday is coming up in a couple of days. I’ve been thinking about what it must have been like for my parents when I was born. My mother noticed that I rarely opened my eyes, and she couldn’t tell what color my eyes were. My pediatrition chalked it up to a neurotic first time mom, and she was told not to worry. She went about raising me like any other baby.
For some reason my mom took me to a different doctor when I was about six or seven months old. My father didn’t go with her, because it was supposed to be a routine doctor visit. That morning my mon had no idea that her life would be turned upside down. The doctor came into the examination room, looked at me and said ” Have her eyes always looked like that?”. My mom was relieved that someone else finally noticed, but she wasn’t prepared for what would come next. The doctor left the room without another word. When he returned he matter of factly told my mom that I had Aniridia. He told her that I would be blind, have tumors on my kidneys, be mentally retarded, and have strange kind of growth syndrome. Furthermore he said that I would probably not live to see my fifth birthday. His advice to her was to drop me off at the local state institution, and start a family over again. I was born in the late 1970s, and although some families were starting to keep disabled children at home, many were still being institutionalized.
Can you imagine what my mom must have felt? Here she was thinking that she had the sweetest most perfect baby, and not only was I completely imperfect, but I was likely to die. Of course she called my dad who rushed to pick her up. I can only imagine the conversation my parents had during this day. That night they came to two conclusions. First, God had given me to them. He trusted them to love me, and care for me no matter the circumstance. Second, that I was fearfully and wonderfully made with a purpose. How ever God made me to be my parents knew that He had a plan. They simply decided to trust in the Lord, and take things one day, one milestone at a time.
My mom was a stay at home mom, and spent as much time as she could researching Aniridia. She once showed me stacks of notebooks that were filled with notes. They took me to a specialist that was nearly two hours from our house. They also enrolled me in a baby/ toddler program for kids with developmental disabilities. A precursor to ECI. it became pretty clear that although I had some gross motor issues I was a pretty typical kid. I cannot help but wonder sometimes what if… What if I had had different parents? What if my parents hadn’t trusted and loved God? What if I had been raised in an institution? This always reminds me of Jeremiah 26:11. For I Know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you, and not harm you. Plans to give you hope, and a future.