Matt Lowell

Abortion never had a chance with us: our experience having a disabled child

Matt Lowell
By Matt Lowell
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August 17, 2011 (HLIAmerica.org)- Let me just start off saying that abortion never had a chance with us.

We found out in November 2005 that we were going to have a baby. I had just gotten out of the Army, and we had settled in Cibolo, Texas - right near San Antonio.  When we first started trying to have a baby, we were surprised at how long it took.  I have always joked about my little “swimmers,” and how they were probably swimming in circles.  So we prayed, and we told Jesus that if he blessed us with a baby, we would educate our child about Jesus and raise him/her Catholic.  Shortly after, we learned that Becky was pregnant.

Becky was the office manager for an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor and she continued to work.  She had always eaten well, and maintained a very active lifestyle of running, walking, biking, and working out; so we felt very good about everything.  Around March 2006, however, we went in for a sonogram and our entire happy existence came crashing down around us.

Becky’s doctor said that it was hard to tell, but she thought that she saw a cleft lip and palate.  But just to be sure, she was going to send us to a specialist, who told us that not only did our baby girl have a cleft lip and palate, but she also had no stomach, and problems with her heart.  He needed us to come back in a week to try another test.

After a very difficult week of waiting, the doctor reaffirmed his earlier suspicions ended the visit telling us we had “options.”  We asked, “What do you mean, options”?  And then it clicked.  He was referring to abortion.

We asked the “specialist” if we would lose our baby prematurely due to the seriousness of the problems. He said that that would more than likely happen, to which we replied that if this baby wasn’t going to make it, it would be God’s decision to terminate, not ours.  We had, after all, made a promise to Jesus.

I think we went back for one more visit, where the specialist saw the stomach.  He had to wait for Laci to open her mouth and swallow some of the amniotic fluid, and he saw it.  So now all our little girl had was a common facial birth defect. Why would a doctor suggest abortion on such a preliminary diagnosis?

But soon after, in July, Becky developed preeclampsia and was put on bed rest on a Wednesday with a stress test set up for that Sunday.  During the appointment, the doctor said that Laci was in distress, and he needed to pray about what to do.  So he left the room for about 20 minutes, came back and said we were going into surgery.  About half an hour later, Laci Faith Lowell was born.  She was about one month early, and weighed 3lbs. 15oz, and she had the most beautiful bilateral cleft lip - it was perfectly symmetrical.  About an hour later she had problems breathing and was on a MEDEVAC to Christus Santa Rosa, where she would stay for two months.

Once at Santa Rosa we started to learn of some other health problems Laci had going on. In addition to the cleft lip and palate, she was deaf, possibly blind, and had heart problems (ASD, VSD, PDA, pulmonary stenosis).  We were very concerned with her brain function, and a CT scan proved “all the parts to be there” for which we were very grateful.

When we first learned about all of her problems, I was very angry.  Not with Becky, or with Laci, but with God.  And I said it … out loud.  We even went to our church to chat with our priest.  I pretty much demanded answers from him.  I now realize that I wasn’t really rational at that point.

We visited Laci every single day she was in the NICU, and we stayed as long as they would let us.  I slept on her little table with her, Becky held her “kangaroo style” (skin to skin), we talked to her and kissed her, and held her.  As time progressed, we realized that this was a little human, despite all the issues, and she needed us to hold and love her, to be her everything.

We left the NICU in September with the order to get our baby up to 10 lbs, so she could have heart surgery.  We did, and her surgery was a success; however, she was left with a leaky pulmonary valve, which will have to be replaced periodically throughout her life.

We enrolled Laci in a place called Sunshine Cottage, a school for the deaf in San Antonio, TX, where we learned that Laci was in fact deaf in her left ear, but that she did have some hearing in her right.  Basically, she could hear anything louder than a jet engine from her right ear.  Furthermore, we learned that Laci did have some sight out of her right eye.  There was no telling how much, but she was recognizing our faces and reaching for toys.  Laci was fitted with hearing aids while we waited for her to get old enough for a Cochlear Implant.

At this point Becky and Laci were heavily involved with ECI (Early Childhood Intervention- a Texas based program).  We had a couple surgeries to fix her cleft lip and palate, and then we got a Cochlear Implant!  What a change that made!  She started crawling soon after and became very interested in communicating with us.  That little brain was working.  She started Preschool at Sunshine Cottage, and has just graduated Pre-K, getting ready for Kindergarten next year.  She is doing well, keeping up with her classmates both orally and visually. In some cases, being the youngest in her class, she is doing more than expected of her!

So here we are today with our beautiful Laci Faith Lowell.  We are thankful that God never took her from us.  We are thankful that she is doing so well.  We are amazed by Laci every day.  Laci says and does things that other kids don’t do.  She just turned 5, and she commonly uses the following words correctly: great, fabulous, delicious, amazing, thanks, no thanks, and many, many, more.  Her favorite color is any shade of green, and she loves TinkerBell and princesses.  Laci is learning to fish with me, and has no fear of the bait, or the fish itself - although we are working on patience. We are so blessed to have her in our lives.  The way we look at it, God gave us Jesus to be closer to Him, and Jesus gave us Laci so we could be closer to Jesus.

Abortion never had a chance.

Reprinted with permission from HLI America

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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