This blog is for our twelve-year old, Hannah.
Through this blog, we hope to give her a voice and share her story with the rest of the world.
None of us have ever been the same since she entered our lives.
Our hope is that, through our stories and thoughts and prayers about Hannah, you too will be touched by her story in some way.
To start off, we'll introduce you to her.
The following is from an article one of us wrote for the local newspaper in 2001, when Hannah was about a year old...
After my daughter, Rachel, was born in 1998, Sue and I planned on having no more children - for a number of reasons. We had planned a sterilization procedure immediately following Rachel’s birth, but the procedure was just cost-prohibitive enough at the time to postpone it. So, we did. It was several months after that, at the end of particularly enjoyable day with Rachel, Ellie, and Jesse, that I remarked to Sue, tongue-in-cheek, that “we should have another one.” I expected something like, “no way, Jose’.” But I was not prepared for Sue’s response:
“Are you serious?”
I wasn’t…until that moment. We began to pray and ask God for guidance, and we both felt led to expand our family by one more head. It was then that I began to get the sense that God was involved in this in a very unique way. There were no dreams, no burning bushes, no visits from angels - just a sense to go ahead with a fourth. So, we did. And Sue became pregnant in early January 2000.
A month later, the sense took on a new tone when Sue miscarried. It didn’t seem like a huge loss to us emotionally, and we didn’t talk about it a whole lot outside our home. But suddenly we were questioning our wisdom from God. We prayed a lot. We talked with our doctor. And, we still sensed a green light to go ahead. So, we did. And the sense of the divine increased when many people began to pray for this new unborn child. I can’t recall that any unborn child was prayed for as much as Hannah was - our church friends, our oldest two children, people in the community, out-of-state family, and of course, Sue & I. Prayers ascended daily on behalf of this little one. On top of that, her big brother Jesse wanted to be present at the delivery - his idea. Our doc was cautious, but his conditions were met, and Jesse helped me coach and comfort his mother through the labor and delivery. And he passed with flying colors as a supportive big brother, complete with his Bugs Bunny scrubs.
And here was little six-pound Hannah, with a slightly deformed right hand, and….what? A heart murmur? We had to take her to Grand Forks for an echocardiogram before we ever took her home. And the result: Tetrology of Fallot. What was that? A poem? Oh - she needs open-heart surgery? I see. Oh, and yes, let’s be thorough and run her through some genetic tests. The tests revealed that Hannah has something called Turner Syndrome, the effects of which we won’t know until she’s older. Possible problems with kidneys, fertility, stunted growth, and other heart problems. We questioned our family doc, the pediatrician, and the Mayo Clinic specialists with the natural question, “What caused this?” Their head-scratching answer:
“We don’t know; you did everything you were supposed to do. It could be hereditary, but we can’t nail down a cause or explain this medically.”
The next natural question(s):
“Did God not hear all the prayers?“
“Did He forget to bless Hannah?”
“Did we somehow sin and bring these things upon her?”
Again - it might be wishful thinking, or my preacher’s imagination, but I think God has blessed Hannah - and us - in some kind of unique way. Snicker if you want - “Donn’s watched ‘Prince of Egypt’ one too many times.” Could be. But at this point in time - on this day after Hannah’s benefit supper at the church building, where an army of volunteers set up, cooked, brought tables & chairs, went on the radio, and put up posters around town - I think that God is doing something extraordinary. From all over the community, checks are showing up from people that I didn’t tell about this - a bank, a neighbor, an acquaintance, the post office - to help with the upcoming surgery expense. It was estimated that over 250 people showed up yesterday to eat soup and give money to the cause.
Hannah herself is the most social and communicative baby I’ve ever seen, even though her slow growth and development is evident. For someone who wasn’t planned to be conceived, she sure seems set apart. For someone who was sacrificed for by her unborn miscarried brother or sister, she in her short five months of life has generated as much faith in me than any sermon I’ve heard or preached. And, here’s something we didn’t even realize until we filled out forms for her heart exam: her initials (Hannah Isabel Schroeder) spell HIS. For a child who seems “ordinary” in the scheme of the world, she sure has a string of peculiar, perhaps holy events surrounding her life. Coincidences? Maybe, but I don’t believe so. I may be way off base. I may be speaking foolishly as a prophet who knows not the future. But I believe that God is up to something really cool in Hannah’s life. Call it coincidence if you want; I’m calling it divine, as in Romans 8: 28 - “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
Time and eternity will tell.