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“Does My Daughter Have Cerebral Palsy?”

December 4, 2011

This week I accidentally rolled my cursor over a feature I didn’t know I had on my WordPress dashboard: a gizmo that tells me the search-engine terms that lead readers to this blog. Just that day, someone had Googled, “Does my daughter have cerebral palsy?”

My heart paused, wondering, What did they find here? What message did they take away?

I’m not sure. I have only been blogging about a year and in that past year, Hope’s FASD diagnosis has dominated my mental space, and therefore my thoughts on this blog.

But there was a day when Joy’s diagnosis took center stage. And thinking back on those days, I wished I had been able to find a voice –not a clinical voice (of which there are plenty) –but a mom’s voice sharing, “We were there, too. I remember how it felt. Let me tell you where we are today, what God has done for us.”

Truth is: at this juncture in our life with FASD, I need to do this for me: reflect on and take courage from God’s faithfulness to us through another disability we did not anticipate.


As I wrote that sentence, my mind flashed back to a scene eight years ago. Faith was our only child. She was in preschool Sunday school at church where I was the teacher and worship leader.  The Fighter Verses were still in their infancy; the Foundation Verses had not yet been set to music so I had written a melody for James 1:17.

In my memory, Faith, age three (my guinea pig for melodies preschoolers could sing) dances in a velvet dress the color of red wine in front of the Christmas tree in our living room singing: “Every good and perfect gift comes from above. Every good and perfect gift comes from God. James 1:17”


In the ESV translation, James 1: 16-17 reads:

“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

Change is the fear the propels families with concerns to Google questions like,”Does my daughter have cerebral palsy?”  or to click on links about prenatal exposure to alcohol in adopted children: we’re standing on the edge of a cliff with a chasm of massive change looming before us –a radical adjustment in our expectations for our future.

The fight is to believe that it is all good, all a gift, all perfect —all God’s loving, purposeful intention. Including the shove over the edge that marks our free fall into the unknown.

Our family is still in the free fall stage with FASD. But reflecting on the difference in how cerebral palsy impacts our family life now vs. four years ago, I realize that God has brought us in for an unexpectedly soft landing with CP. It’s not that quadriplegia has turned out to be no big deal. It’s because we’ve now lived with it long enough to experience it as a gift of God.

That in itself is a gift to us because of this newer gift-that-doesn’t-feel-like-a-gift-yet. Maybe FASD will never feel like a gift. But the Giver is the same. God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

So in the coming weeks I want to unwrap and consider the gift Joy is to us. The answer is, yes: my daughter has cerebral palsy. But do not be deceived by that label or what professionals project, by what she looks like or how she behaves. Every good and perfect gift comes from God.

God does not change.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 7, 2012 10:24 am

    Amen, as time goes on–you as well as your daughter will find that her challenge (CP) offers new prospective, as well as opportunities; that you may not have know existed.

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