Abigail February 1, 2020- Feb 8, 2020
This past Friday Linda received a call about a baby girl abandoned in the NICU of Riley Hospital. The name on the door of the little girl’s room was “BUFA” (Baby up for adoption). This sweet girl had been irreparably damaged by her mom’s drug use before and during pregnancy and she had no chance for a life outside the NICU. The doctors and staff were panicked because the mother, unable to handle what lie ahead simply walked out of the hospital. This meant that this sweet child was on life support and would painfully deteriorate in the time it would take to get a court order for Riley to remove her life support. Broken hearted, the nurses, doctors and hospital searched for someone to adopt this child so that life or death decisions could be made to spare her suffering and pain. Because of Linda’s ministry she
was called for advice and counsel on how to find someone that might adopt her. It was late Friday and something had to be done with the Judge by 4:00 to try and keep this sweet girl from suffering through the weekend. Linda and I decided we would adopt this little girl. The fastest step forward was Guardianship so that we could immediately become her care givers and papers were signed and approved by the court just before 5:00 pm on Friday and this sweet girl was then ours
to love and care for.
We went to Riley on Friday night at 9:00 pm and were not prepared for what we would see. All of the damage of the drug use was internal and so all we could see was a perfect, gorgeous, sweet baby girl. The only hint of her struggle was all of the lines and tubes sustaining her life. Apart from all of those tubes, she was perfect. We found out she did have a name from her mother and now that we were her “parents” we were asked by the staff…”can we now call her Abigail?” We are comforted that in the next 17 hours Abigail heard her name spoken over her by countless nurses, doctors and Linda and I. The staff, the doctors, the nurses so obviously cared deeply for Abigail and their relief that she finally had had a family was felt every time we walked through the doors. The first time we signed in outside the NICU even the receptionist knew the story as she said…”We have been waiting for you”. We could not pass a doctor or nurse without them thanking
us for loving Abigail.
We agreed to return Saturday at 1:00 to begin the process of ushering Abigail from pain to rest. The beautiful staff prepared us for the process and helped us to be prepared for what lie ahead. We also had time to discuss how to make Abigail’s new beginning as warm and as beautiful for her as we could. When we had arrived Friday night, Abigail’s room looked very “clinical”. Bright lights, flimsy hospital gown and a sterile white hat and a headband far too big for her. The staff asked for permission to work on some things overnight to prepare Abigail for her day. We of course gave them full permission to do all they could.
When we arrived at 1:00 on Saturday, it looked as if angels had been up all night preparing Abigail and her room. The lights were down low, she had the most beautiful pink hat on her head, she lay in a fluffy pink blanket in her bassinet and she was swaddled in the most beautiful soft pink blanket dressed in a beautiful pink onsie. At the foot of her bassinet were a set of pink booties. There were signs made with her own footprints forming a butterfly with the verse…”You are beautifully
and wonderfully made”. There was even a sweet card wishing Abigail a Happy Valentines day. The staff, finally being fully released by Abigail’s “parents” were able to change Abigail’s room into a nursery. Abigail had gone from being orphaned to being fully adopted. There is no way to express the transition that occurred and the sweetness that was ushered in by her care givers. These caregivers loved on her and loved on us as we prepared for the next few hours. We brought a speaker and spent the next hour worshipping, praying, holding and whispering to Abigail. We anointed her, we baptized her, and more than we ever expected we fell in love with her. As the time approached we simply did not want to let her go. Her breathing was labored and we knew the longer we waited the harder it would be on her. We told the staff we were ready. I gave Abigail to Linda to hold as we were told that Abigail would pass quickly once the breathing tube was removed. The nurses gently prepared Abigail and us and one by one removed all her monitors with her breathing tube being the last. We worshipped and prayed as they gently removed her breathing tube and for the first time Abigail was “Free”. For the first time we could see the fullness of her beauty and her wonder and we were literally breathless as we looked upon the wonder of her sweet face and body. The nurses and doctors pulled the curtain on our room and left us mostly alone.
Abigail did not go fast. She lived for just over 2 hours. This was a gift that we did not anticipate. For those 2 hours we walked in the space between Heaven and Earth. Fully removed from all her bindings Abigail was easier to transfer back and forth between Linda and I, she was easier to reach to kiss and to whisper to. She was mostly very peaceful with only periods of deep, deep breaths. One of the hardest parts of this was realizing that this sweet girl did want a chance to live.
That chance taken from her totally outside of her own will or actions is an injustice that Linda and I still struggle to understand. At 4:35 pm on February 8th , 2020 Abigail took her last long breath and we knew she had passed. We knew because of the breath but also because for the first time her body was 100% at rest…still…maybe even more beautiful than ever. We knew her for less than 24 hours and as soon as she passed we missed her in our lives.
Why did we write this? Why do we need you to have this? We feared writing and sending this might seem self- serving? But this morning we knew we had to write this and why. We had to write because you are very special in our lives and to walk closely together you must share life’s biggest events with one another. Abigail is now one of our life’s biggest events. For anyone to really know us, they will have to know about our little girl Abigail. So few people even know Abigail lived…but she DID live, she was absolutely beautiful, she was courageous and we miss her terribly.
Attached are a few pictures and a short video of Abigail. We of course have many more should you ever want to see them . This is one of those hard things that you never want to do, but then wonder what your life would be like had you not done it? We only knew Abigail for 24 hours but miraculously can no longer imagine our life without her. We will be celebrating her life and putting her to rest this Saturday at Washington Park East Cemetery. Details will be available soon. We love you for loving us so well and celebrating the newest member of our family.
-Steve & Linda