Today is Zeke's birthday. He officially becomes a teen today. I don’t know how these things happen. I mean I know he is 13. I have seen him grow up but I still have very vivid memories of him as an infant, toddler, young child and growing up to where he is, as a young man. He is now taller than me! I have watched him grow and enjoyed him every moment. So today I remember his life and am full of gratitude he is our son.
He has not always had it easy. He was born to an HIV positive mother and waited for a family to come and pick him up, for eight days in the hospital. I had a vivid dream from the Lord telling us to take him the day before he was offered to us. So on a bright sunny December morning, my mother and I drove to the town he was born in, to pick him up.
He was so sweet and chubby from the time he was born. I cut the I.D. band off his little leg. He had some health issues besides the HIV antibodies in his blood. He had terrible reflux and breathing issues (from aspiration on formula and tracheal mylasia). He has a syndrome that they have never been able to identify. He also has Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy (low, floppy, muscle tone). Even with all these things going on, he was the most cuddly, sweet, happy, baby.
There was always a huge smile on his face. His eyes just twinkled.
As time went by he out grew his reflux and severe breathing issues. Really the only issues he had was the HIV, asthma and CP. He was meeting his milestone but just later than what was expected. He was a quiet, happy, bubbly, toddler and against all odds, the HIV cleared from his blood at 18 months old. No HIV, Glory to God!
We all enjoyed Zeke so much.
At three years old, after receiving shots, he went into bone marrow failure and was hospitalized for weeks needing many transfusions. He almost died…when he came home it was like he was gone… it was all erased…he was erased and everything changed with autism.
It was terrible. He made no eye contact, his facial expressions flaccid. He didn’t interact with anyone voluntarily anymore. He no longer talked at all anymore, not a word. He drooled a lot and had to wear a bib to catch it all. He could not sleep anymore and wandered around at night. We had to find creative, safe, ways, to contain him so he would not get hurt. The whole house had to be baby proofed again, as he had no sense of danger. He had to be supervised at all times. He was sick constantly with tummy issues, allergies, colds and terrible exema. I grieved terribly for our loss. His loss. He could not learn. He now also acted like he could not hear and after testing was diagnosed with audio processing disorder as well. It was overwhelming.
After a year of grieving, and not much headway at all in all his therapy sessions, I began to pray hard. We always loved him for who he was no matter what but I saw his personality and knowledge disappear in a few days when he was sick, surly there was something that could be done to help him heal or improve. As a parent we always want the best and most for each child. For each child to reach their fullest potential. I got on line and spent hours researching autism and alternative help. Back then, what God led me to, was called the DAN protocol. The Defeat Autism Now Protocol. I started off with giving him cod liver oil and taking all milk and wheat out of his diet. He improved dramatically. The first thing we all noticed was he started to make a lot of eye contact. He also started to talk again a little. After a few weeks of me continuing to tweak his diet, his occupational therapist saw the dramatic difference as well and asked me to explain what I had learned and what I was doing. She was so excited about it all she started filming all of his sessions to show the progression. Over the period of a year, I kept a careful journal of foods I took out and added back in to see if I saw a difference. Also adding supplements that had helped other children with autism and noting any change. It is still an ongoing job but long story short, he potty trained in a few weeks, learned his letters, numbers and colors in a very short period of time and continued to learn at a steady slow pace. We have never got back the child that was lost but Zeke is much improved and we are so grateful to God for bringing him back to where he is. He is wonderful and we love him so much.
He is a very quiet young man but he seems happy and content in life. His face is still very flaccid most of the time
but he will smile if asked to for a picture and does smiles and laugh at things that he sees as funny on occasion.
He speaks in sentences and is still progressing. He functions at about a first grade level in his education but still struggles with reading terribly. He understands danger and safety around our home and farm. He still has trouble sleeping but stays in bed, for the most part, till he falls asleep. If he does get up he does not do anything destructive or get into things. He knows all of the house rules.
He has grown into such a wonderful young man. He loves the Lord and knows right from wrong, according to Gods law. He recently asked Tim to baptize him. It was after swim season and the pool was very cold but it was his hearts desire.
He works hard and tries to please us. He has trouble remembering all he has to do every day, even to get dressed. So we developed a daily chart of all that is required of him and it has worked very well to keep him on task. He is very schedule and daily routine oriented, so the chart works well for him and is very helpful. He does great! He is helpful around the house and a very obedient, sweet, young man.
Zeke has been a joy to raise. Even though he has had to go thru so much, even though he has had and still has hours of therapy, he always does his very best and tries very hard to learn. He loves to make us short movies, (with his legos and wooden railway) that he narrates himself. He also spends a lot of time doing stop animation like William does in his spare time.
Today is a joyous and happy day for us all. A celebration of our sons life and the miracles God has preformed on his behalf. We remember and are thankful that God entrusted Tim and I to raise him.
He is loved by all of us. Thank you Aunt "S" for the beautiful cake you made to order for him and brought over.
Zeke you are an inspiration and an amazing young man to me. God brought you to our home to bless us and you have blessed us so much. May God be with you every day of your life, helping you to live for Him. May God help you achieve your goals and dreams in life! We love you forever!!!
Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
Dad, mom, Stephen, Antonio, William, Carolyn, Elizabeth, "B", "T" and little baby "K"!