'How can deaf parents raise a child with Down syndrome?’

Yahya’s story | Following Jesus until the end

“An unexpected trial came during Monika’s pregnancy. It shook my faith. It made me cry and rethink God’s ways. We received a blood test report showing our baby had a high risk of T21 Down syndrome. My wife cried a lot. We were both shocked. The doctor gave us the option to terminate the pregnancy. It’s legal in Australia. We struggled so much that we couldn’t focus on work.

But God knew it would happen to me and he already prepared me to face this trial. He gave me a Bible verse twice, just before we saw the doctor, from Joshua 1:7: “Be strong and very courageous …” It helped us a lot. I prayed and sought God intensely.

A thought came into my mind, ‘It’s OK to terminate the pregnancy. It’s too hard for you. You are both deaf. How can deaf parents raise a child with Down syndrome? Jesus will understand. He already died for you. He will forgive you.’

The thought made sense and tempted me a lot. But in my deepest heart, I knew it wasn’t God’s way. It was opposite to God’s character. But I was so afraid of the future. I asked God to give me a clear sign of what to do. The next day, God answered my prayer. My heart was moved to meet with a Christian coworker. I poured my heart to her and she understood. She had also experienced the same thing and decided not to terminate her pregnancy.

It was a very clear sign from God, but I was still hesitant. It was a battle between choosing a risky life and a comfortable life; God’s way or the world’s way; God’s will or my will. Somehow I remembered Jesus’ words to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” (Matthew 16:24-25).

It gave me a new understanding. I had heard that verse so many times, but Jesus challenged me to examine my heart. Do I truly follow Jesus or live my own way? Am I relying on science and technology? Can I see the future? How can I calculate our ability (as deaf parents) to face difficulties?

I know that only God can be trusted wholeheartedly. God is sovereign, unchanging, powerful and eternal. He knows what will happen in the future. We decided to continue the pregnancy. Naomi was born on March 22, 2021, which was our wedding anniversary. We found out that she had Down syndrome from the nurse. We had the peace of God that surpassed our knowledge. We love her so much. She is truly a gift from God. She is already six months old. I am grateful forever that we decided to keep her. She is so beautiful.

We have also been receiving help. We have a lollipop camera and bluebell baby monitor to alert us to when she is crying, or rolling over, or stopping breathing, or her body temperature is too high. Our wristbands vibrate so that we know and can check on her. We also get NDIS funding to access early intervention programs. Right now (in lockdown), all the therapies are done on Zoom. It’s a bit hard for us (being both deaf) but we have a live transcribe app to help transcribe what the therapists are saying. We take one step at a time, with God’s grace!

Most of all, this trial has shown me that I need to depend on the Holy Spirit, so that I can be faithful to Jesus until the end. Following Jesus is not easy. The cost is so big but there’s love, joy and peace overflowing in the heart of Jesus’ disciples. The value of knowing Jesus Christ surpasses all other things. And one day, Jesus will return as King and restore all things. He will erase our tears. In the meantime, I want to follow Jesus faithfully until the end.”

Yahya’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.

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