NATHHAN National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network

Christian Families Homeschooling Special Needs Children

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CHASK- Before You Were Born- I Knew You

By Tom and Sherry Bushnell

If you knew that your baby was going to die right after birth, what sort of decisions would you make?

Every day in the US, birth parents are confronted with this very devastating situation. In addition, if you were not sure if your baby might live a few days or even few months and that having a natural birth as you planned would be very stressful for your baby, would you opt for a c-section, knowing that your baby may not live for more than a few hours anyway?
If you knew that your baby’s diagnosis was not “compatible with life” would you offer your baby feeding to prolong life… if he or she seemed to be hanging onto life would you choose IV therapy or assisted breathing?

Would you attempt to breastfeed your baby? Would you pump and have your baby tube fed?
What kind of items would you like to have as keepsakes, after your baby passes away?

These are just a small smattering of the questions birth parents must decide when their unborn baby is diagnosed with a severe anomaly.

How can we at CHASK minister effectively to encourage birth parents to let God choose the “going home date” versus “premature birth induction”, or termination? An “early birth” may seem like an easy solution to birth parents.

The answer is in your heart. We are thankful that you are there and are willing to share.
Please, if you are able to write or counsel about your child’s passing let us know who you are so you can also minister Jesus’ love. We have to know who you are in order to match you with a birth parent facing tragedy.

Here is the story of Effie, a sweet little angel that right at this moment is being used by God. Her little life and her parents sharing their story will touch you, to prepare you to pray and minister to others.
The web site with the story in its entirety can be found at


The Story of Effie

By Joanna O’Brien

I wanted to tell you the story of our precious second daughter who was born with a severe disability, so that you can be assured that your child with a disability is a great gift from God and is worth all the effort and love you or anyone else can expend on him or her.
We learned at 21 weeks gestation that our baby girl had Trisomy 13. We did some research on the computer and discovered that babies with Trisomy 13 usually die in the first week of life. This was very sad news for us. But, we decided to love our baby and enjoy her for as long as we should have her in our lives. And, we decided to begin thinking about the best plan of care for her. We wanted to make it our business that she would have the best possible life, under the circumstances. We had no idea, though, how easy she would be to love and treasure.
She was born on October 2, 2007 and lived for four wonderful weeks. Her abnormalities (like her severe cleft palate and lip) looked completely normal after we quickly got used to them. She behaved just like any other baby (she did have some seizures, which are a part of Trisomy 13.) Our families also loved her and we were all drawn closer to each other through our love and care for little Effie. Everyone was encouraging and supportive of us at this difficult time in our lives, but it was something that we were going to do even if we had to do it alone. Effie was worth it! She was a dear baby who loved to be held close, who hardly ever cried or complained, who was easy to love.
This whole experience also brought me closer to God. I learned in a very real way that I can really trust God and that I can believe His word and trust that He does all things well and for His own purpose. He helped me to be completely at peace through the whole time that Effie was here with us and through her death and afterwards. I have never complained against God. I can’t. I see so many good things that have come out of Effie’s life that I can’t think that God made a mistake in creating her just the way He did.
My gratefulness to God overshadows my grief.
God has told us in the scriptures that He is the one who gives (and takes) life. He is even more specific than that - He tells us, “Who hath made man’s mouth? Or who maketh the dumb, or the deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I the Lord? Exodus 4:11 We can be sure, then, that the Lord is the one who has made our children different from “normal”. He has done so for His own purposes, and we may never fully understand His reason until we get to heaven. But we can know from scripture that God is good and compassionate and just. He is watching you to see if you will trust in Him and in His plan for your life and for your baby’s life.
Are you thinking about giving your baby up for adoption to a loving family? Please be comforted that there are plenty of families that will fall in love with your baby and treat him or her as their own. Don’t let anyone rush you into the decision, though. There is plenty of time, and plenty of resources to help you decide if this is something that you can do.
Whenever I meet disabled people, I am reminded that life is simpler than I make it out to be with all of my hurrying and stressing and wrong priorities. If you have other children, I want you to know that having a disabled brother or sister teaches siblings compassion, patience, and an appreciation of all people, no matter how different. How much better people would be if we all had a disabled person in our lives!
Many people have been in your situation before and have made the right choices. You will never regret giving life to your child - God has already given a special life to your child, and He has chosen you as parent for this child. So be encouraged and know that you have the strength to bring this baby into the world. You may never know how much this child will be a blessing to you and to others.
The only decision you need to make today is to keep carrying this precious baby in your womb as God intends for you to do. He will give you the strength, and He will give you love for this little baby too!
Love, Joanna O’Brien