A Heart Still in Progress

Last night I heard of an urgent situation.

A married couple received a prenatal diagnosis: their unborn daughter has a serious heart condition.  A heart condition that requires at least 3 surgeries- the first within the first few days of life.  All of them palliative, meaning that the heart is never really corrected, never really cured.  They just find a workaround for the problem.  The only other option is a heart transplant.

With such news being discovered during an ultrasound midway through pregnancy, the couple is abortion minded.  They do not feel prepared to parent a child with such a serious need.  For them, abortion is a solution, but they have to decide within days since they are so far along.  They told an adoption agency that if there were enough potential families that they could choose from, they would consider making an adoption instead of having an abortion.

So this was shared through facebook, again and again.  That’s easy.  I did that.

But I’m always left thinking: what if.  What if all we did was share the need?  What if no one ever actually stepped forward for that baby and for that couple?

When Ryan came home I told him the situation.  I think he knew what was coming.  It was just the same as the last 2 situations that I’d come across…

“If the choice is between us adopting this girl, or her being aborted, we know we would adopt her.”

So we e-mailed the agency, offering to adopt this child so she could live.

But here is my confession.

It was not easy.  It should have been, but it wasn’t.

I was afraid.  I’ve been afraid every time we’ve done this.

The last two situations, the prenatal diagnoses were Down Syndrome.  It was scary to do because it wasn’t our plan, but at least I am familiar with DS now.

This diagnosis was different.  I’m what some would call a “heart mom.”  Paul had open heart surgery, but you know, it was fairly common and not too complex.  Pretty low risk as far as heart surgery is concerned.  Difficult, stressful, and emotional, yes.  But his heart is healed and while there is some risk of needing some minor corrections in the future, all looks good so far and we expect that Paul won’t need another surgery.

But the heart condition that this little girl has… it’s out of my league.  It’s not something that Paul’s defect would prepared me for.  I know of a family whose son had this exact condition and he spent several months living at the hospital, eventually being transferred to the best peds heart hospital in the country.  But he died as a young toddler.

In sending that e-mail to the agency working with this couple, I felt like we were opening ourselves up to a level of suffering we couldn’t even imagine.

Surgery after surgery.  Extended time periods living in the hospital.  Watching your child suffer and struggle day in and day out.  Maybe even watching your child die.

And that struck a great fear into my heart.


How dare I allow fear to take any hold?  Perfect love casts out fear.

I don’t have perfect love.  In some situations, I can master my fear.  Such was the case with this baby girl.  When I consider a baby being aborted, I can muster up enough strength to push the fear aside if it will maybe give the baby a chance.

But really, there should be no fear, only courage and conviction.  Only holiness and love.  Only a pure heart that trusts God completely.

The angel Gabriel only had to say, “Do not be afraid Mary” and then, she wasn’t.

Someone recently gave us that message…


                                DO NOT BE AFRAID.


And another…



But I am not like Mary, despite my “Gabriels”.  There is still much work to be done to root out impurities in my heart and fix my eyes only on Christ.  He wills my good, He wills my salvation.

What do I have to fear?


2 thoughts on “A Heart Still in Progress

  1. Brandy Calvert

    Courage is not the absence of fear, but the conviction to keep on going in the midst of fear. Every single time I was pregnant, I was terrified, to such extent that I joked about the crisis pregnancy billboard, “Scared and pregnant?” To be expecting is to be scared. When the doctor told me they found a heart defect for Lucy, I was scared. I think sometimes in our sinful humanity, for love to be greater than fear is enough. I’ll keep praying for you and your family.

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