Thursday, February 16, 2017

Happy 13th Birthday Sam!

Good morning from beautiful Florida!  It's just a little chilly today but gorgeous out~my front and back doors are open to the breeze.

We just had a birthday boy!  Sam turned 13 years old!  How can that possibly be?

Here's a cute video but you'll have to go to My Real Life By Yvonne FB page to watch it.
You have to cut and paste I'm sorry but it's precious

Sam with his Polar Pop on the Porch swing listening to "his Bro Gary"

For anyone who is new to my blog, Sam is the one who really changed our family's focus!  Here is the story.....

I was in my late 30's and we had Steve who was 8 years old.  We had lost twins 7 years before in a horrible way and I did not want to deal with any more pregnancies.  But then we realized if we were going to have another child we should do it then.  So we did some half hearted attempts at fertility drugs.  There was so much going on in my life-my career~lots of doubts if we should even think about taking the risks of another birth....  In fact my husband was interviewing for ministry jobs out of Florida.  We went for an interview in Branson MO and decided over the weekend to not accept the offer.  We had taken a few extra days off work and that Monday morning my husband made coffee.  All day I gagged....the next morning the same thing happened so I decided to take a test and it was positive!!!  Jon was jogging and I ran outside to tell him!  So it was settled LOL

The pregnancy was rough.  There were many odd problems from the get go.  From 15 weeks on I had issues with bleeding so I stayed on bed rest most of that time.  That was very very difficult for me.  Finally a lack of ammonic fluid and slowed growth  made my doctor decide to deliver him at almost 32 weeks.  Sam was breech so he was a scheduled c-section.  For two days ahead of time I was given steroid shots to help his lungs mature.  Those shots HURT!!! 

My doctor was very blunt with me-he was not sure Sam would survive because there were so many odd things going on.  Sam seldom moved which was nerve wracking after going through the late loss of twins.  So we went into the surgery with alot of unknowns and fears.  

Sam came out crying, what a happy sound!  He actually did really good at first and came off the vent after only 18 hours.  those shots worked! I got to hold him the next day and that's when he let me in on his secret.....

(BTW this picture was taken as he opened his eyes and I was not staged!  I used to not be able to look at it without crying but not anymore, it's precious that I saw it first.  It's like he was sharing it with is mama!)
Somehow in all the commotion of his birth, no one noticed he was blind....  As I held him for the first time, he opened his little eyes.... and I saw nothing but whiteness.  Also I could tell his eyes were unusually small and misshapen.  Immediately I called for the NICU doctor, he basically told me I was over wrought and silly.....  Well Bless his heart....I handed Sam over to Jon and got in the man's face and yelled at him to get a specialist in NOW or I was going to sue him and the hospital and his mama....etc......  My husband was actually afraid I was going to hit the man LOL  There's actually a hilarious story about that incident.  Years later a couple started attending our church.  After a few weeks the lady asked me if Sam had been born in a certain hospital and I said YES.  She starts giggling and told me she was a nurse there in the NICU and that the nurses still talk about me to this day.  I start stammering out an apology and telling her sometimes I'm not a very good preacher's wife....  and she stopped me and told me that all the nurses were silently cheering me on because I stood up to the doctor!  BTW that doctor lost his license a few years after Sam......

Anyhow the specialist came that night and told us what we already knew that Sam was blind and probably had Peter's Anomaly.  the specialist had only read about PA but he was pretty sure Sam had it.  He was right....

Fast forward past all the shock and sorrow...Sam's first year was absolute hell.  He was in and out of the hospital, life flighted, on machines at was a rough year but we made it through.  Jon and I both broke down sobbing at his one year birthday party because we were so happy that he lived to make his birthday!  

Right after he turned one, we heard of another one year old  blind boy in China, through crazy miracles we adopted him.  Shad it turned out was only blind in one eye and had none of the other issues that Sam had.  

Then you know when he was 8 years old we learned about a little blind girl in Ukraine....again through some really crazy miracles we adopted Sarah  and another little  girl, Selah.  

I look back at Sam's arrival with absolute awe. A few years before he was born God spoke to me in an audible voice (at least to me) and told me I'd have a son named Samuel and he would change my life.  It happened at an intersection on my way to work.  I kid you not, believe me or think I'm crazy but I heard it.  During that season in my life I was in a deep deep valley and barely holding onto God.  but He was still holding me and His words came to pass in a way I would have never ever dreamed of!  

Sam's life has changed mine so much.  It changed my focus completely and made me a much better person.  Do I think God caused Sam to have disabilities to change me?  No I don't think that at all but God knew what was ahead for me.  But Sam's life did not just change my life, it changed my husband and oldest son's lives too.  And even more importantly it changed Shad's, Sarah's and Selah's lives completely!  I can promise you we would have never ever had the nerve to adopt three children with disabilities had it not been for our experience with Sam.  I've seen families who had never dealt with a disabled child that adopted kids with severe disabilities and been in awe of them.  That would have NOT been me!  It would not have even been on my radar!   I would have been too afraid to do it and I was too selfish.  

His life has also changed our focus in ministry.  We are very focused on orphan care and ministry.  Our church is focused on it also.  I'm not sure what our future ministry looks like but I know as long as I live, that will be a something I'm a part of!

After Sam was born I felt myself starting to question God and one day I literally had an epiphany in the hospital corridor.  I determined then and there not to question God and not to blame God.  Maybe some folks would disagree with me but I knew I could not let my heart become bitter.  Believe me after the twins' death I knew what bitterness was and I knew I did not want to go back to it!  God helped me never to sink into despair again.  Yes I cried as he got various diagnosis, and had operations or was sick but God gave me a grace that I did not have within myself to keep my heart from being bitter.  I am so thankful because I know ME!  I know how deep I can go because I did after the twins.  

Because God helped me not to let my heart grow bitter I've been able to move forward.  Now 13 years later there is really nothing I grieve about Sam's condition.  I have the hope of heaven and an eternity where my boy will be whole.  I enjoy Sam for who he is.  And having Sam has changed my life!  I think of ALL that I would have missed out on if I had not had Sam..... a whole lifetime of love from three other children....

I don't want to get political but this is why I am against abortion. There are many Sam's out there who are aborted because the parents are too short sighted to see beyond their fears.....

So where is Mr Sam at now?

At 13 years old, he walks, climbs stairs, is feeding himself about half of the time, he makes his needs known in his way since he is non verbal.  He loves his Jesus music, he loves his family and gives hugs and kisses.  

the ONLY bday picture I took!  Geez!  We had a great weekend with big brother home

Here is Sam and Steve 13 years ago- Steve's first time with Sam, he was taking it all in.  We laugh and tell Steve that he was realizing his life had radically changed 

he loves his Daddy Mommy and big brother- he tolerates everyone else LOL
but because he is so bonded some doctors have felt he was not autistic...but believe me he is!
He will go to the dining room table at 6 pm whether anyone else is there or not!  HE has a sense of time and order that is unreal.  

His compliments to the chef:)  he loved the food and fell asleep!

He loved the lights on the cruise

Sam and dad in Honduras.  

Christmas 2010?
Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people sitting, child and outdoor

Steve holding Sam

Steve holding Sam
Steve wouldn't put on Batman Pjs LOL

I'm holding myself back from posting about 100 pictures.  I'm trying to give you an idea of his life.  He enjoys himself and loves his family.  He's had alot of challenges but we've all made it through.  I'm so thankful for his life, how it has touched mine and many others.  I wouldn't trade that boy for a million dollars:)

Happy Birthday Sam I love you!


  1. Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday, Sam. Love seeing your smiles. You're a blessing to the world! :)

  2. Such a beautiful story of God weaving your family together. Only God!!! I am in awe and love watching your journey. You inspire me.