Every family has its struggles, but it’s how they rebound from difficulties that is more telling. For Anita and Eric Miron, the past two years have brought bad news after bad news.
In 2016, they learned their daughter Scarlett would soon have a little brother named Jack. The Mirons, like most couples, prepared to bring a healthy baby boy in to the world. But at their 20-week anatomy scan, doctors noticed Jack was different. He was diagnosed with down syndrome.
“It’s hard to admit, but I was devastated,” Anita said. “I didn’t know what that meant. All I heard was he’s going to be different.”
The Mirons admit it took them weeks to grasp their new reality. They researched, prayed and reached out to local families who were raising children with special needs. Over time, their hearts started to open and they were ready to bring baby Jack in to the world. That was about the same time that Jack’s heart stopped beating.
“Part of me was like this really can’t be happening to me,” Anita said. “Like the shock came into my mind and then they could not find his heartbeat.”
Jack died from an umbilical cord accident. Anita said it wasn’t until she had given birth to her stillborn son that the reality of the situation hit her.
“That was the hardest part for me,” she said. “Because I wanted so badly for him to just open his eyes. I would just stare at him and say ‘open your eyes, come on. You can come back alive.'"
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They considered adoption, but months later the young couple who was slowly rebuilding their lives learned once again that they were pregnant with William who was diagnosed with Edwards syndrome. The two welcomed the much-needed distraction.
“I went through this whole period that lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice,” she said. “It’s not going to happen to me. We’re going to have a happy baby.”
But once again, this time at their five-month checkup the Mirons learned the same tragic truth.
“He didn’t have a heartbeat,” Anita said. Another umbilical accident. Another induced labor. It was on that cold January night that the Mirons decided it was time to move on.
“I wanted to be done being pregnant,” she said. The couple turned their focus towards adoption. But as many parents will tell you, the adoption process is long, tedious and expensive.
“I realized that there were so many families almost competing for every healthy child,” Eric said. “And then on the other end of it, there are so many special needs children that are desperate for good homes.”
The Mirons applied to be the parents of several children, but due to matters outside of their control they were not selected. But on the morning of June 2, 2017, their luck started to change, thanks to social media.
A friend sent Anita a Facebook link that said, “Baby Z needs a home.” It wasn’t a scam. The article was posted by Z’s North Carolina caseworker. It detailed the newborn’s medical history; Z was diagnosed with hypoplasia of the corpus callosum -- and asked for a family who was ready to adopt a child with special needs.
“This was on June 2 and we were in North Carolina with him in our arms on June 5,” Anita said. The couple was selected out of more than 75 applicants. Although much of the baby’s -- whom they named Warren -- medical future is still unknown, this West Michigan family credits their past two boys for opening their hearts and lives to raising a special and loved little boy.
“When we wrapped him up in our arms, we didn’t see special needs,” Anita said. “We didn’t think that this is going to be a kid who had disabilities or who’s putting us out in any way. We we’re just so honored to be a part of his journey.”
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The adoption took nearly a month, with Anita staying down in North Carolina by herself for much of that. But on June 29, Anita and Warren were cleared to travel and were reunited with their new family in Michigan.
According to medical journals, nearly 1 in 4 pregnancies end in a miscarriage. If you are looking for help following the death of a child, local organization MomsBloom can help.
If you or someone you know is looking to adopt a child with special needs, reach out to Adopt America Network.