Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Angela's Glory Story

(Above) Lukas — 2009

This Glory Story was originally posted in the spring of 2009 at www.findingglory.com and appears today with a marvelous update at the end. 

I would like to share my story with you about what "getting out of a comfort zone" (taking a step of faith in Jesus) looked like for me and my husband, James. 
My husband and I started dating in July of '98 and were quickly married in June of '99. It was quick but when you know, you know. We tried for years to have kids and with no luck. We even tried fertility and still no baby. Well, life changed for us drastically in June of 2005. We learned that my husband had a child out there from a prior relationship before we met. He never knew about this child and this really was a shock to both of us. There were moments for me of confusion, anger and sadness that I was not going to give him his first child. 
We went through the motions required to determine if this child was actually his. The day before Fathers Day we learned that James was indeed 99.99% the father of a little boy (7). He was actually born 3 months before we started dating. 
We were determined to make sure that we would be part of this child's life since we finally knew about him. We still were not prepared for what would lie ahead of us.  
We finally got to meet this precious boy (Lukas) to find that he was wheelchair-bound, non-verbal, drinking out of a bottle, not able to feed himself, mentally about 18 months and had many behaviors. But, oh boy, did he have a heart of gold and the smile to light up the world.  
Okay, so now we had found out about this boy and then learned he has special needs. What a shock!! There was no diagnois at this time. The mother was not actively trying to find one nor was she taking him to any type of therapy, relying completely on the school system to provide his care.  
We immedaitely starting having Lukas over every weekend and as often as we could. We wanted to build a relationship with him and see how we could improve his quality of life. There were so many unanswered questions and the mother was not cooperative. After many doctor appointments we learned that he was being abused at home and not getting quality care.   
We were successful in gaining custody and he came to live with us full time on June 23rd, 2006.  In the first two and a half years of having Lukas in our home he was able to walk, grew to functioning mentally at about 3 years old, was less combative, started drinking out of a cup and feeding himself, began playing with toys and was beginning to use a communication device to talk with us. We enjoyed wonderful moments with his smiles, hugs, and loving spirit. We also received a diagnosis. We found out in early 2008 that he has Angelman Syndrome with the deletion of the UBE3A gene.   
We prayed for children and our wish was granted — though not in the manner we thought would happen!  
God has a plan. I believe that with everything that I am. We are so blessed to have this little boy. It's not easy. Our support system is extremely small. Date nights do not happen. We spent many years married with no kids and the ability to do anything together. This has been a drastic change for us. But, we would not give it up for anything. Our faith has helped us through this time. I think that most marriages would not have made it through this.  
We were shaken out of our comfort zone, that is for sure. But, God is good. We have a wonderful child in our home who is thriving and improving each and every day!

MARVELOUS UPDATE:  
Angela originally shared this story in 2009. Since that time, Lukas has made ongoing and encouraging developmental progress while the family has continued bonding and growing together. Angela gave birth to Lukas' little brother Brody in May 2012. 
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17
May we never stop being amazed by how creatively and beautifully God reveals His presence, power and goodness in our lives!

(Above) Lukas and his little brother Brody — November 2012

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