January 8, 2015: My family and I were gathered in a hospital waiting room, waiting for my sister to give birth to my nephew. We all crowded her bedside as long as possible until the medical staff was prepared to deliver her son.
At any point of that day, or the days preceding, you could hear me praying for my unborn nephew. At any point during the time of my sister’s pregnancy, you could have witnessed my praises to the Lord for blessing our abundantly growing family. In the hospital Chapel that January day, you could have seen me on my knees, asking the Lord to take care of her and to bring her a perfect baby boy.
I prayed for the deliverance of a perfect, wonderful, miracle from God. What did I get, you ask?
After the baby was delivered, the medical staff cautioned our family. The nurses told my sister that something was wrong with her child. The staff on call the day of the delivery seemed unsure how to handle the situation and unsure how to deliver the unsettling news to a waiting family.
As the clock ticked, the air in the waiting room began to thicken. Our family sat in the small room, waiting for a small sign, a small answer. At this point, I was on my third or fourth trip to the chapel. “What’s wrong, God?” “Why aren’t they telling us more?” “Please take care of my family.” “Lord, if it be your will…”
After what seemed like hours, we were allowed to visit with my sister. But, unlike the new mothers I had previously visited, she didn’t hold a baby in her arms. My sister and mother had the heaviest eyes I’d ever seen. Tears streamed down the face of every person in the room and I was shocked. The birth of a child is supposed to be a happy thing, right? What aren’t these people telling me?
It was then that I found out the medical staff had informed our family that the child I had been praying for, the child my sister had been preparing for, was in need of immediate attention and needed to be flown out of town. I quickly made my way to my sister and hugged her.
Apparently, a prenatal screening for Down syndrome isn’t always accurate. Apparently, the child I had begged God to take care of was born with an extra chromosome. My newborn nephew was brought into this world with a “disorder” (I’ve never been a fan of that word) that would change his entire life.
I’ve seen the horrors of being different. I’ve heard the myths of people with Down syndrome having developmental issues and not being considered as contributing members of society. Now my nephew is going to grow up with this burden?
So, what did my family get when I asked God for a perfect, wonderful, miracle?
We got a perfect, wonderful, miracle.
The baby I had prayed for, the child my sister and her boyfriend had been preparing for, was the exact child we were given.
Down syndrome is something I had never considered as a possibility. It didn’t seem to run in the family and I didn’t really know anyone who was diagnosed with it. In fact, I didn’t really know anything about Down syndrome when my nephew was born. I did, however, know that the child who was on his way to Louisville, Ky. was the exact child we were going to watch grow. God gave us exactly what we prayed for.
After the initial shock settled and after many days in a Children’s Hospital, my sister was able to come home. And this time, unlike before, she did have a baby in her arms. Waylon Keith Adkins came home to join our family.
It’s been nine months since my nephew was born. It’s been nine months since our family changed forever. It’s been nine months and I am completely obsessed with the little guy God has placed in the middle of our family.
I’ve been given an opportunity to watch this incredible kid as he grows into his own personality and I’m not sure how any medical staff could ever have worried about the extra chromosome he houses. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the importance of knowing when you have a “disorder.” (There it is again.)
My sister has become a super mom and is determined to help in the fight for awareness and acceptance of Down syndrome. I’m witnessing a world where my nephew can and will be accepted for the incredible child he is. I know that the myths I’ve heard about Down syndrome are exactly that: myths.
Of course, it’s scary that we can’t see what lies ahead for him. However, there’s nothing about this child that makes me worry about his future. The little boy I hold in my arms, who screams just to hear himself scream and who tries to grab my non-existent beard, has such an incredible future. I praise The Lord for giving me the opportunity to be a part of his life.
See, Waylon isn’t a diagnosis and he definitely isn’t a disorder. He’s simply our perfect, wonderful, miracle.