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By Katie Henaman

I was pregnant again, carrying my fourth child. This pregnancy, like the rest, was unexpected, and Adam and I agreed that it would be our last. We were already blessed with three daughters and Adam prayed that the fourth would be a boy. Our doctor was not very reassuring to him, explaining that statistically if your first three children are girls you have only a one in seven chance of having a boy. Adam maintained his odds as 50/50 despite the doctor’s pessimism.

Two days after finishing a routine appointment and blood test, I received a call requesting that I go for an ultrasound; there were concerns they needed to check more closely. I went in for the ultrasound, not that concerned but rather feeling assured by the doctor’s attempt to be thorough.

That assuredness faded later that day when I received an after-hours telephone call from the doctor requesting to meet with us in the morning. Even today I remember that moment vividly. I was standing on my mother’s front porch, blindsided. Throughout all four pregnancies this was the first time this had happened. Obviously something was wrong. It felt cruel that she wouldn’t give any details over the phone. Between the hormones, nerves, and fear, I could not contain the tears. My mother and I prayed, and I went home to be alone. It was a very long night. My imagination ran wild. I feared the worst.

The next day Adam and I waited in the office for what seemed an eternity. I trusted our doctor, and I knew she cared for us. She had delivered Liberty (our youngest daughter) just one year before, so she was not a stranger to our family. In fact we had requested her for this pregnancy. When she walked in, I could tell she had bad news. She sat down and said, “We believe your baby has Down syndrome. Both the blood test and ultrasound show that your child has several indicators, both hard and soft.” Adam held my hand while the tears streamed down my face. Then came her next words.

“We could schedule you for an abortion if you’d like.” My heart sank. I didn’t have words. Adam spoke for both of us as he gently told her that we would not have an abortion.

My heart sank. I didn’t have words. Adam spoke for both of us as he gently told her that we would not have an abortion.

She told us that we would need further testing and that a specialist would need to see us. The specialist would provide a more detailed ultrasound. The appointment with the specialist was made, but we had to wait two weeks.

We used this time to pray and to explain to our daughters what was happening. We gave them a chance to ask raw and real questions and help them try to process. They were fairly young and accepted it all well. It was a bit tougher for Adam and me. Although we would obivously love our child with or without Down syndrome, we had to wrestle with the potential life impact this could mean. I was just starting nursing school. Timing was horrible. We prayed – a lot.

The day of the appointment came, and I prayed all the way to the office. Even in the elevator, when I couldn’t speak without crying, Adam prayed. The specialist performed the ultrasound and felt like the baby would likely NOT have Down syndrome. However, he agreed that the child carried several markers. For this reason he didn’t feel confident to say for sure without an amniocentesis, a prenatal test that allows your healthcare practitioner to gather information about your baby’s health from a sample of your amniotic fluid.

To accept the test would mean accepting the risk of miscarriage that frequently accompanies such procedures. Even though the test would provide definitive answers, little could be done to improve the circumstances for our child so we refused the test. Psalms 127:3 (NLT) says, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” We believe this to be true without exception and in spite of illness, circumstance, or temporal struggles. We would have this baby, with or without Down syndrome. We decided to trust the Lord.

With tears and prayer our faith grew by leaps and bounds. We began to notice other children around us who had Down syndrome and read and learned about how to raise them. It opened our eyes and birthed compassion in our hearts for parents walking this road. We learned to praise God despite the result and trust that He would give us what we needed to raise the blessing He had entrusted to us. We fasted and prayed and spoke in faith that not only would the child be born healthy and whole, but that I would give birth to our only son. On March 27, 2008, Malachi was born, healthy and very male! Praise be to God!

In Hebrew, Malachi means “messenger of God.” We trust and pray that he will be strong in the Lord and that God will use him in mighty ways throughout his whole life.



Katie-Henaman---Author-boxKatie Henaman (brown jacket) serves as a full-time missionary along with her husband, Adam Henaman, and their four children at Puente De Amistad in Tijuana, Mexico. They host short-term mission groups and love to see God make heart changes when people come. In Katie’s free time, she loves cooking and learning how to fuel her body with healthy foods.”

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