All of us have a story. The who, what, where and why we came to be.
Most of us are blessed to know these details. We take for granted that we know our true birthday, that our mom has hundreds of photos from our childhood lovingly placed in photo albums for us to look through when ever the mood arises. We can look in the mirror and know that our off centered nose is from dad, and the overly fuzzy eyebrows are from mom.
Most of us are blessed to never have to process questions like why didn't my mom keep me? Where is this burn scar from? What happened to my hands, toes and chest?
A few of my kids are blessed this way. A few are not.
A few of the stories I feel like I need to share, and few I feel are not mine to share.
But given the battle around abortion... some believe that a woman's right to choose to end the life of her child effects no one but her. Some say the child inside is a living human, and ending its life has many repercussions physically, socially and morally.... I wanted to share Asher's story
Asher's story is one that we thought we knew, but once home and seen by specialists, we learned the truth.
Asher was born in a very small, rural town in south China. He was found wrapped in a blanket outside of the gates of the local orphanage sometime in late September of 2008. His birthday is a best guess, and his name was given to him by the orphanage staff and registered for permanent record. His Chinese name is not the typical name, it reflects the fact that he is an orphan and without a family. His name would always show that he does not know his heritage or place of belonging.
He was born with a cleft lip, cleft palate, missing toes, malformed fingers and a few other physical defects.
Due to his physical deformities, he lived for nearly 4 years inside of a children's welfare institution. He was malnourished due to his cleft palate and inability to feed himself well because he couldn't hold a spoon or cup. He was not allowed to attend an outside school, or to go out and about in the general public.
Knowing just these few facts, we were amazed at the survivor he is. Despite his hard beginning...he is loving, kind and a full of energy.
Fast forward to our visit with a genetics specialist at a leading children's hospital. Asher's blood work showed no genetic anomalies, so most of his physical issues were caused by a very uncommon congenital fetal abnormality... Amniotic Banding Syndrome.
Thick bands from the inner lining of the amniotic sac can extend and entrap the developing limbs and other body parts of the baby. When this happens, the blood flow to the body part is cut off and growth is stopped.
True banding is very rare and usually results in very severe conditions. Loss of entire body parts.
So the thought came to mind, if this is so rare and usually does very severe damage... is this what he really had? Or was he just really lucky?
I asked the doctor, and she took a moment to answer. This is when we learned what a serious survivor Asher is. His battles to survive started way before birth.
The type of banding Asher has, and millions of other children in many countries, was the result of thousands of microscopic fibers floating around in the womb and becoming wrapped around smaller body parts like fingers and toes.
These microscopic fibers floating are a result of blunt trauma to the placenta of the pregnant woman. Trauma seen from the scraping of the uteri lining to induce an abortion.
My heart broke. It broke for the fact that some of his birth defects did not have to be, and it broke for his birth mom. I can't imagine the circumstances that lead her make the decision to end her child's life, then to make the decision to abandon him because of his physical deformities. I wonder if she even understood the connection between the two?
But I do know that past circumstances do not have to dictate our future. If we let Him, God will heal and restore. Asher has only been home 9 months, but he has made huge strides. He is sweet, funny, loving, hyper and hard headed.
I can't believe that God has entrusted us with him, and that we get the privilege of seeing how the rest of his story unfolds
His beginnings were really tough, but with Christ.. all things are made new, and in Him all things are possible.