Flashback Friday: Remembering the Goodness of God

I was showing some pictures to someone after Thanksgiving lunch yesterday from when we were adopting the kids. Later, I began reading old blog posts from before, during, and after we adopted. It all seems like a different lifetime, really, but I was really encouraged as I remembered the goodness of God. This post was from March 29, 2009 – the week we came home with Matthew and Micah after being in Ukraine for six weeks.

What a week. We went from high, high emotions on Tuesday night…Great excitement and celebration…to Wednesday. We slept so well Tuesday night. The boys, however, didn’t sleep so well. We let them play in their beds though. The thought is that they need to learn our schedule and get acclammated as quickly as possible.

So we got up Wednesday morning and I went to the doctor first thing to get my diagnosis of double pneumonia. Continued on my meds and started feeling better after several breathing treatments and some amazing antibiotics. And some cough syrup with codiene. (In fact the doc said not to tell anyone I had it or someone might steal it…so if it comes up missing, I’ll find you. 🙂 ).

Anyway, Tuesday night when we got in and saw Eli, he was white as a ghost and his lips, tongue and nail-beds were white. That’s not a good sign. I thought at that moment that he looked like someone with Leukemia (not that he had it, just that he looked like someone who did).

Wednesday morning, he looked the same. Mary and I decided that he needed to see the doctor. So the doctor took one look and sent him for a CBC test because he was obviously (to the doctor) severely anemic. The lab didn’t even believe the results could be right but they were. His hemoglobin level was 3.0 (should be 11-15). The doctor said he must get to the hospital because he could go into heart failure at any time.

Also, he mentioned that this was either indicative of internal bleeding or leukemia. So from high excitement of being together again after 6 weeks to complete terror and fear (not lack of trust in God). The call went out to pray and we began getting messages from all over the world that people were praying and were spreading the word to others. There is power when God’s people pray. On behalf of Eli and our family, I say THANK YOU for praying. I’ll let you know the answered prayers in a moment.

Eli began receiving transfusions Wednesday evening and they went on through the night and into Thursday. His hemoglobin level rose slowly but steadily. The possible diagnosis changed to either TEC (Transient erythroblastopenia of childhood) or Leukemia. The only way to know for sure was to have a bone marrow biopsy but he was not yet strong enough for that so it was postponed to Friday.

Friday morning, Eli’s hemoglobin level was at 8.6 and he was our normal Eli again. Happy, laughing, playing, and eating. Before the doctor did the biopsy, he let us know that he was pretty sure that this was TEC and that he would recover fully! We were guardedly excited. About an hour after the biopsy procedure, Eli was on his way home.

While Mary was waiting on valet parking to find the car, the doctor ran into her downstairs and told us the GREAT NEWS! The bone marrow was perfect and there was NO DOUBT – he did NOT have leukemia. So that means it’s TEC. 100% recovery rate. Usually, it takes from weeks to a year for the body to begin producing new red blood cells and most people have to continue having transfusions periodically until that happens. But God had another plan. The doctor told us that, according to the results of the biopsy, Eli has ALREADY BEGUN PRODUCING NEW CELLS ON HIS OWN!!!! Now that’s an answer to prayer! That’s the power of God!!! We are so grateful to God that we caught this and that it turned out the way it has. I don’t know why God chose to do this, especially right now, but we are so thankful that we can trust Him even when we don’t understand.

Here’s a couple of other things to be thankful for. TEC is a VERY GRADUAL problem and Eli has probably not been producing red blood cells for 5-6 months. Everyone around him was surprised to find out this had happened because they had not seen any signs. The hospital staff told us that caregivers rarely see it happening and it’s caught only when other problems pop up and the child is taken to the doctor and the color change is rarely noticed first. But think about this…we hadn’t SEEN Eli in 6 weeks so the change over the last 6 weeks was immediately seen by us and we were able to get him help before permanent damage was done. For that we are so thankful.

Not only did our trip save the lives of 2 Ukrainian boys, it, at least, saved Eli from heart damage or brain damage and at most, saved his life. God’s timing is impeccable. He is SO AMAZING!!!!!! We simply cannot explain the feelings we have had this last few days or the range of emotions we have experienced. BUT, we can tell you that we trust our Father regardless. He IS faithful. He IS trustworthy. He IS sovereign. Thank You, Father, for all You’ve done. Thank you, friends, for your persistent prayers. Blessed Be the Name of the Lord!

I have never forgotten any of this. However, reading it and reliving some of those emotions was such a rich blessing to me today. I am not sure why I did not write this in the post that day, but I remember vividly feeling so guilty the day they told us they were 99% sure that Eli had leukemia. I remember thinking how we had run off to Ukraine to adopt to kids while letting our own son die. We knew that if had leukemia that every moment matter when getting treatment started. Maybe I didn’t write it because I didn’t want other people to think that, too. It makes the fact that the opposite was true even more meaningful to me, though. While I was beating myself up, the Lord was about to show us that if we had not gone to Ukraine for six weeks at that exact time, Eli would have had ,at least, had major organ damage and well may have died. I think it was the first time in my life that I really understood Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

During my Bible time this morning, I was meditating on Psalm 103:2. “Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He has done for me.” This was one of the things I remembered and praised Him for. I’m so undeserving of His goodness (and so are you). I’m so thankful that His goodness to me doesn’t depend on me. He is good. Everything He does is good. And He somehow weaves everything together.

Where are you, today? What are you facing? Today, maybe you are tempted to think that He is not good. Maybe you are doubting that He loves you and has a deep, fond affection for you. Take some time to remember the good things He has done for you. Let all that you are praise the Lord.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

Chris Malone

Chris and his family serve as missionaries near Kyiv, Ukraine. Chris and his wife, Mary, have nine children. Five of their children have Down syndrome and four of those are adopted from Ukraine. Their four older children are in various stages of starting college and starting careers.

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