Tuesday, June 11, 2013

This Storm

Sarah and Michael

So many of you have been praying for my family over the past two years and I cannot thank you enough.  God has taught our family so much about relying on Him when our boy Nicky spent so much time in the hospital in 2010 and 2011, teetering a few times on the edge of this life.  God taught us to pursue Him in prayer for healing and deliverance but also for peace and trust in His perfect will.  We saw God move in powerful ways, bringing restoration to Nicky's body when there appeared to be no options left.  

You prayed with us when we shared with you the news that our newborn baby, Michael, was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and was in need of open heart surgery to correct his tiny, incomplete heart.  Once again, God was teaching us to lean into His loving arms, to put aside our selfish plans and dreams and make room for His plans and His dreams for our lives.  You prayed and celebrated with us when God miraculously gave Michael "full range of perfect hearing" after being declared severely and profoundly deaf since birth.  What a privilege it has been to walk the peaks and valleys of this life with you.  

This past April (7 weeks ago) brought a trial unlike anything we've experienced before when "someone in our community" called Pennsylvania's Abuse Hotline accusing Sarah of the abuse and neglect of Michael.  Children & Youth Services (CYS) came to our door and interrogated Sarah for hours. The next day, the day of Michael's second heart surgery to help his lack of weight gain, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh also filed an accusation of Munchausen's by Proxy, indicating that Sarah was trying to starve Michael.  At that point CYS interviewed Michael's Down Syndrome specialist who went on record stating he believed Sarah was "willfully withholding calories from Michael."  This could not have been further from the truth.  (She was actually feeding him 300+ more calories per day than necessary!)

The words absolutely devastating don't begin to describe the level of pain and hurt this inflicted on Sarah's heart.  Sarah has given and done SO much, lovingly caring for our children at home and in the hospital.  To be accused of abuse, neglect and the withholding of food is ridiculous but also an extremely heavy burden to bear.  We were threatened with the removal of all three of our boys, but the option was given for my Mother to move in for the purpose of overseeing Sarah, ensuring she was, in fact, feeding Michael and not neglecting him.  Instance after instance, CYS ignored our requests to contact specific Therapists and Doctors who would provide information in support of Sarah's superb care for our children.  We felt from the beginning that this was an attack from the enemy and were moved to not only pray for truth to prevail, but to worship the Lord in the midst of our suffering, just like Job did when he said, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord."

One month later, May 15th, CYS released my Mother to go home to Georgia, her husband, her job and her life.  The time she spent with us that month was life giving to us and I am, and have always been, forever in her debt.  Sarah's case was deemed "unfounded" which only means that at the end of the first 30 days, not enough evidence was found to prove her guilty.  We received a new case worker with intent to consider closing the case over the next 3 months at least.  THIS IS NOT OVER.  We covet your prayers.  Agents still make scheduled and unscheduled visits to our home to ensure Sarah is not abusing our children.  We try to take them as opportunities to show the love of Jesus.  It is however, a struggle not to feel like they are the enemy when they pull into our driveway.  We know the truth however.  Ephesians 6:12 says, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."   

Lord, we pray for deliverance.  
Lord, we pray for truth to prevail. 
Lord, we praise You because Your ways are higher. 
Lord, we believe You have a plan not to harm us. 
But to give us a future and a hope. 
We trust in You.