You probably already know there are 29 (soon to be 30!) grandchildren on my side of our family. Between my 4 sisters and 1 brother we have 11 boys and 18 girls. All between the ages of 17 and 3! That’s a lot of ice cream, and pink lemonade, and Christmas presents, and Happy Birthday cakes, and laughing till we cry, and celebrating, and fun.
But along with all the things we expected before we had children; like sleepless nights with babies who needed feeding or comforting, the trials of potty training, scraped knees, and stubbed toes, came a few things which were unexpected.
Like a chromosomal disorder.
When my niece Anna was born, almost 14 years ago, everything seemed as usual. Until a few months passed and she began to miss important milestones. My sister Heather and her husband Ron already had a toddler, so they realized something was amiss. After a lot of testing, it was determined that Anna had a very unusual chromosomal disorder called IDIC-15, or Inverted Duplicate in Chromosome 15. What this means in plain English is that Anna has an extra copy of material in the 15th chromosome, which is also inverted, or upside down. What this means for Anna is that she has cognitive delays, physical delays, brain seizures, and autism.
Heather and Ron were able to find an online community of parents with children who also have IDIC-15, and that has given them access to information and encouragement that has been a true blessing for them and Anna.
I know there is a lot that Heather hasn’t told me about what it’s like to have a child like Anna. But what I’ve seen over the years, has sometimes told me almost as much as words, I think.
There is so much I could say about how much I admire Heather and Ron and the way they have dealt with this unexpected reality for their family. So many couples do not handle trials and strains upon their relationships with the strength and resiliancy, and reliance upon God that Ron and Heather have. They are committed to their 3 girls, and to each other, and to God. I’ve never heard them ask, “Why?”, although they may have thought it. Instead they face the challenges they’ve been given with grace and a sense of humor.
Heather once said that she would rather have Anna with IDIC-15, than no Anna at all.
Faith and gratitude.
I hope you are encouraged and challenged, as I am continually, by hearing a piece of their story.
We love them!