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Shining Star

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inside my bedroom closet next to my dresses, blazers and blouses, you will find
one of my greatest treasures, a tiny baby tee shirt. It is pure white with baby blue trim around
the collar. In the center there are two
blue stars and the words, “mommy’s little star”. It is sized 3-6 months. You may think I am pregnant and eagerly
preparing for my new arrival. I am not. That tiny tee shirt has been hanging there
among my clothes since the summer of 2001 – some 15 years. I look at it every single day. This simple tee shirt brings me back to my
saddest days. The unbelievably odd thing
is that without that same tiny tee the happy life I am living today just
wouldn’t be.

Andrew, my
son was two at the time I purchased that tee shirt. I thought it was just perfect for my second son
who I was waiting to meet within the next few months. Every single thing that could have gone wrong
with my first son Andrew’s birth, and his first two years of life did. I was just getting the hang of caring for
Andrew who had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. He couldn’t sit, crawl or
walk. He couldn’t talk, and even with
all of those things going against him, I was also now trying to stop the daily
seizures that were stealing the smiles and personality from my sweet son. I
thought in some ways a new baby would jumpstart Andrew’s development, bring him
a companion and even heal my grieving heart as a new mom who was raising a
child with several severe diagnosis. In
the fall of 2001 I was 6 months pregnant and developed severe pre-eclampsia. My second son Jacob was born and then died
three days later. Without explanation Jacob
was too small, and too sick to survive.
I never even got a chance to hold him and to feel his heartbeat. I had
so much grief, and returning home from the hospital without him and seeing his tee
shirt hanging on a hanger instead of being worn by him was an even stronger
blow. So sad, I could barely make it through my day
to day life, much less think about bringing more children into my grieving

After many
doctor visits, counseling and prayers, in May 2004, a healthy daughter came
into my life. Amelia was born in the far
away remote hills of Guatemala, and we found each other. We needed each other. Her sweet face and demeanor would bring me a
joy I had never experienced – raising and caring for a healthy baby. Two years later, another daughter blessed my
life. Ava, the most expressive baby I
had ever met was also born in Guatemala and just as Amelia’s arrival a few
years earlier helped even more to heal my broken heart. Jacob’s death had now brought me two
precious girls that I needed, even more than they needed me. Adoption
had been the answer for our family. I
was a grateful busy mom of three. To my
surprise, I learned I was pregnant in August of 2008, and this time with
extra-ordinary care, I gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Jenna has graced my
life even more. Jenna’s birth was a
dream that had finally come true.

That perfect
tee shirt hanging in my closet purchased so long ago reminds me of the son I
never got to know. How I wish I could
have seen him grow. Now though in a
different sort of way, because of Jacob I appreciate so much more that a
healthy family is not something that should ever be taken for granted. I know too that Jacob is my guiding star, and
he is watching over us.

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