Woman Adopting Baby With Terminal Illness Asked, “Why Bother?”

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“There’s a 10-day old baby girl,” they told us, “she has a disease.” “I’ll take her,” I told them without hesitation, and a few hours later the social worker was at our door holding a bundle wrapped in an orange blanket. She explained that the baby girl had been abandoned due to her diagnosis. She had been left with nothing, not even a name. And she wasn’t expected to live very long. I soon learned that this baby girl had a diagnosis called Hydranencephaly. In other words, she only had about 3% of her brain. Days passed filled with MRI’s and hospital visits, until one day I stood before the judge in the courthouse, asking if I could adopt her and give her a name. “Her own family didn’t even want her,” the judge told me solemnly, “She’s probably not going to live, and even if she does, she’ll never have a normal life. So why would you even bother? Why do you care so much?” I looked right back at her and I told her I cared because her life matters, and the value of our life isn’t decided by the number of our days. I was granted custody, and I named her Emma Leigh. Emma means whole and complete, which is what we were praying for her brain, and Leigh is mine and my mom’s middle name and the name I had always wanted to pass on to my first daughter. On April 16th, 2015 Emma Leigh passed from my arms into the arms of Jesus. She was born into a completely hopeless situation, but she died being loved. During my time taking care of Emma Leigh, I learned that’s not the case for every child. Most children like Emma Leigh are left to die all alone. And I wasn’t okay with that, and I could no longer pretend kids like Emma Leigh didn’t exist. And so, Into His Arms was born. A place for kids who are diagnosed as terminally ill to be loved until the very end.” (Via @addisyn_lopez) @allthingsgoodco

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Any child can die young or endure trauma we didn’t expect, but for some reason – when you did not birth the baby – it’s hard for most people to understand why someone would raise their hand for the task. But God calls us his adopted children and gave the ultimate sacrifice that we might become his children – and boy, are we a mess!

Emma’s short life mattered. God did not forsake her or torture her or forget about her. We don’t have all the answers as to why any baby is born with complications, but we do know that God loves his creations – young, old, poor, rich, sick, health (are these wedding vows?). He doesn’t count any of us as useless. Addisyn was just doing what Jesus would do – loving beyond herself. And it led her to help others love beyond themselves.

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