The Journey Didn’t Go the Way I Planned, But the Destination Is Everything I Wanted


As humans we desire to know answers that depict our future, much like a road map, providing direction through life’s winding paths. But in some instances, we’re not handed life’s map but rather a compass. This is a story about two friends, two journeys and one perfect plan.

Shortly after Jeff, my husband, and I moved to California I was introduced to what felt like my twin, my best friend, Joni. Initially introduced because of our interest in running, our friendship was built on many hikes, runs and outdoor adventures. Little did we know, there was something much greater in store for our friendship.

With our common desire to one day become mommies, we would spend hours, dreaming of “mommy-hood” and planning our futures together, everything down to our dual baby shower.

We had it all mapped out.

As time marched on, so did our conversations, drifting from the ever so hopeful topic. Pretty soon we stopped planning — it was getting depressing. It was at this point in the strenuous trek that Jeff and I decided to pursue adoption. Both our families continued in our individual journeys to parenthood.

The day finally came. I remember getting the call from Joni, announcing their pregnancy. I was so happy for them. I could not stop shopping. Auntie Sarah was out of control. Amidst my celebration, I grew concerned with our own process. Would this ever happen to us? Would we still be mommies together? Jeff and I had started our adoption process, but there was no way we would ever catch up — this could be a three-year voyage.

Plans continued to go against expectations. Joni and her husband’s pregnancy took a devastating downward spiral. After several weeks of enjoying the new idea of becoming parents, Joni’s pregnancy rapidly shifted into one of worry, stress and grief. The journey went from the elated emotions of finding out they were expecting twins, to the loss of one baby within the first trimester. This grief continued, in following appointments, where they found out about their little girl having Down syndrome, heart difficulties and a struggle to grow in the womb.

The road for them felt less traveled as feelings of emptiness and sadness filled their minds. They were sent home at 21-weeks to “lay down, rest and prepare for the worst.” I remember lying next to Joni that day, and we just cried.

Time continued on, Joni laid low, followed the doctors orders, and the baby continued to truck along, not growing much but keeping a strong heart beat. This little warrior princess was proving to be a fighter. Mom too continued to fight, bedridden in the hospital for the month leading up to the baby’s birth at 32-weeks.

Life for Joni and her family started looking up. Although storms were still in the forecast, I believe God had a plan all along. After 120 days in the NICU, two heart surgeries and two years later, sweet Canon Joy had made her mark. It was a true miracle.

Shortly after Canon’s last heart surgery, Jeff and I completed our adoption home study. It was a month after Canon’s first birthday that our little prince Arie was born and came home to be a part of our family. No waiting around for us! Now the two have play dates and will grow up side by side.

We caught up.

unnamed

unnamed-2

unnamed-1

Looking back, I believe God knew His plan — maybe not providing the road map with clear direction but keeping us strong in our faith, always pointing us to hope, allowing us a firm grip on His compass. Through the stress we could rest assured He was in control. We just had to wait patiently to see the outcome.

The evidence is in our two blessings, two journeys and one perfect plan.

Want to end the stigma around disability? Like us on Facebook.

And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Down Syndrome

My Son Lives In His Own Little World. Here’s Why I Envy Him.

Sometimes my son has this look on his face like he sees things we don’t. He tilts his head to the side and grins softly, as if heaven is playing a song just for him. He twirls his fingers to the music. Early in the morning I can hear him over the monitor in his [...]

This Is a Rap About Epilepsy. You Heard Us Right.

Rap may not be the first thing that comes to mind when raising awareness about epilepsy. But the clean and catchy rap below, “How We Do It,” advocates for better treatment of people with the disorder. The video, commissioned by The Epilepsy Foundation of Western/Central Pennsylvania, was a community effort that features a bunch of [...]

Watch as a Blind Man Lays Eyes on His Wife for the First Time in 10 Years

Allen Zderad, 68, is completely blind, but with the help of a bionic eye, he just laid eyes on his wife for the first time in a decade. Zderad, who lives in Minnesota, began losing his sight 20 years ago due to retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disease in which the retina is damaged, New York Daily News [...]

Kids With and Without Disabilities Solve Mysteries Together in This Dad’s Awesome Book Series

Richard O’Brien always worried his son’s appearance would deter other children from wanting to get to know him. Connor, 11, has cerebral palsy; he uses a wheelchair and speaks through a communication device. So to help teach his son’s peers about disability, O’Brien created “CJ and the Angel Kids,” a children’s book series where kids with and without disabilities play together uninhibitedly. Connor [...]