A Heartfelt Open Letter to CNN’s Alisyn Camerota

Dear Ms. Camerota,

A few weeks ago, I listened as you interviewed Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill on the issue of Indiana’s law banning eugenic abortions.  I was saddened by your curiosity, “…why would you want a family to have to have a child with a severe disability?”

However, I was immediately reminded of my own anger, fear, and ignorance when my husband and I learned we were going to have a child with Down syndrome.

I had so much to learn.  Or should I say that God had so much to teach me.

And I know, Alisyn, you just don’t understand, as I didn’t.

So, if you’ll stay with me to the end of this heartfelt letter, I’d love to share a simple testimony to the truth of the matter.  I want to tell you about our Belinda, because she’s a beautiful picture of a life worthy of life.

I was so looking forward to being a wife and mama, and I still love it.  It’s been the best part of my life, pouring my energy and heart into my family.  My husband, Bob, and I have four amazing children, and now two sons-in-law, and a granddaughter too.

Before any of our children were born, we always prayed that they would be perfect and healthy, and though it pains me to tell you, and just so you get a picture of my selfish heart, I begged God every single day, “please don’t ever let me have a child with any special needs; please don’t ever let me have a child with Down syndrome.”

I wanted and thought I deserved my version of a perfect, problem-free life.

So when we learned during my 5th month of pregnancy that Belinda was a child with Down syndrome, I felt betrayed by God and so afraid!!

Lord, I asked you for a healthy baby, and You didn’t obey me.  That was my attitude.  (Isn’t that what we think sometimes when we don’t get what we want?)

But I believe, because of His great grace, patience, and mercy toward me, the Lord was saying, “You may see it as a fearful thing, but I’m going to change your heart.  I choose you to be her mama; I choose this family to love her.  I love you, and I’ll be with you through it and will show you what a gift she is and I will bless you all beyond measure.”

I believed that my Sovereign Lord worked all things together for good, but my faith was weak. I just didn’t get it yet.

Well, at that point the doctor gave us the abortion option.  We didn’t act on it, but I was so emotionally distraught, that for a split second, even though it went against everything I believed as a Christian–my fear kicked in—“Oh Verity, life would be so much easier…., you don’t really know what you’re in for.”

Truly, we didn’t know what we were in for—yes, the very scary, hard days, but also the extreme joys and wonderful things we were to experience with our Belinda.

Thankfully, we did not forfeit those blessings.

Well, Belinda was a very sick baby before and after she was born….and the doctors told us she likely would not live.

Now, I could tell you the whole miraculous, wonderful story, but that is not my purpose today. If you would like to read the whole story, check it out here.

But here are a few things I’d love for you to consider.

You see, my concept of God and how He worked was really skewed.  I am a believer in Jesus, and I was then as well, but I hadn’t learned something very important, and so through His merciful training, He exposed my false beliefs and taught me the truth.

But oh, the danger of misconceptions!!  That’s why it’s so important that we don’t rely on what we think or feel is true, but what we KNOW is true. We find that truth in the Bible.

Belinda is a gift to us–a beautiful, perfect life–-exactly who God wants her to be. Sunshine wherever she goes!

Belinda has had such a happy life.  She takes dance, she played basketball, she represented Massachusetts as a page for a national convention, she’s attended proms with her dad, she reads really well, loves music, and I’ve taught her to play piano.

And because of the gift of Belinda, we have grown in so many ways. Her siblings, who love her so much and have played such a huge part in her upbringing, because of growing up with her, have such patient, merciful and sensitive hearts for people.

What a cheerful, loving, 19-year old young woman she is today and the apple of all of our eyes!!

We are so glad God gave her to us!

So, Alisyn, I’d like to answer and comment on the question you posed to Attorney General Hill.

“…why would you want a family to have to have a child with a severe disability?”

First of all, I’d really want a family to know that raising a child with special needs may not be easy, but is ever so worth it.

The joys far outweigh the sorrows.

I mean, how many of us dance through life unscathed by hard times?  None of us, I imagine. But those hard times change and grow us and make us stronger.

I would also share my understanding of their fear and worries of having a child with special needs. Goodness knows, I understand!

But in addition to these, I would tell them that the killing of innocent children is always wrong.

I would beg them not to buy into the falsehoods often propagated by the cruelly compassionate—those whose counsel manufacture a false sense of security and well-being, but in the end brings pain, hopelessness, and destruction.

What are some of those falsehoods I would expose?

1) Having a child with special needs is a tragedy.

2) Your family’s life will be virtually over if you choose to keep the baby with special needs.

3) If the baby is aborted, your problem will go away…and don’t worry, it won’t feel pain.

4) There’s no reason for you to suffer needlessly.

There’s the tragedy of it all!

I would never want anyone to experience the guilt associated with the killing of a child, the “wondering what could have been,” or the physical trauma and consequences caused by abortion.

Because of my experiences, God has given me a very merciful heart toward anyone who finds out they will be having a child with special needs.

But I will still tell them the truth.

Of all people, I understand the lies we hear and so easily believe. But that’s what they are.  Lies!!

I know you don’t want to hear it, but some folks proclaim this cruel compassion out of ignorance, but most times because they just don’t want to believe the truth of the matter or see the beautiful humanity of all unborn children.

You see, it’s not for us humans to decide who is worthy of life and who is not.

Every human life, because he or she is created and fashioned by God, is precious, from conception to natural death.

Psalm 119:73a in the Bible says, “Your hands made me and fashioned me.”

God is Creator and King, whether a person believes in Him or not.

Our Belinda, fashioned by the Lord, understands Him in her sweetly simple way and reflects her Creator beautifully to everyone who knows her.

Dear Alisyn, as I said earlier, I needed heart surgery, so to speak, because I didn’t understand the blessings God had planned for us with the birth of our precious Belinda.

I am so thankful for the goodness of my Lord and the forgiveness I received for my sins and my very wrong, angry attitudes.

My faithful Lord did change my heart.

And I pray He will change yours too.

I pray you will come to understand why abortion is the tragedy, not children born with special needs.

The Lord entrusted our family with a little girl named Belinda, and a message about His unfathomable faithfulness.  I truly hope you’ve gotten that from me today!!

If we had to do it again, would we ask God to change a thing?

Never!!

Thank you for sticking with me to the end.

Sincerely,

Verity Swayne

 

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17 thoughts on “A Heartfelt Open Letter to CNN’s Alisyn Camerota

  1. He does indeed teach us. My patience has grown in my struggles with Alysha and wonderful questions have arisen for those who don’t understand God’s perfect will and timing. May He continue to teach me. Even when I fight Him. Alysha has new struggles and I get frustrated because of her losses. Thanks for the reminder to look for the grace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He definitely produces that maturity in us as we suffer. I don’t think there’s any other way, primarily because it drives us to our faces before Him.
      My face knows the floor well.
      But He is so faithful. Where we lack, He supplies, even when we don’t understand.
      Love you, my friend!! Alysha and you are in my prayers!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was so well written and so full of truth and beauty. I have a 26 year old son with Down syndrome. We all just adore him. Thank you for taking the time to share this with the public media.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Non of us choose to have nor want to have a child with special needs – but it happens. Our lives go on. We raise them. Love them. Cherish them – no less than an “abled child”. I have 6 children by adoption with varying levels of special needs. Just because they have special needs does not make them less valuable nor does it make them unwanted!

    I myself am disabled. I became so as a teen/adult. Does that make my life less valuable? Should my mom have aborted me looking into the future and seeing that I would become disabled??

    I find that when people like Alysin make such comments – they 1. do not value life in general and 2. do not feel that people with disabilities have a place in this world.
    It saddens me that there are people out there that feel that because I use a wheelchair that my life has no value. It saddens me that they don’t realize that I do basically everything they do – and I have no problems raising my 7 children without help.
    Life has value.

    Liked by 2 people

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