Sam. Conqueror. Overcomer.

On the 15th May 2009, Samuel Christian made his way into this world...two month's premature and in severe respiratory distress. Within hours, Sam was diagnosed with Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome - a very rare congenital disorder, of which little was known. The diagnosis together with the immediate challenges Sam faced to thrive became our core focus and it was with joy and thankfulness that we eventually brought Sam home, after nine weeks in the NICU.

As time pressed on, it became obvious that Sam's development was falling behind that of his RTS peers. Shortly before his 5th birthday Sam underwent a brain scan and it was confirmed by a paediatric neurologist that in addition to Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome, Sam also has Cerebral Palsy related to his premature birth, as well as Autism.

This blog chronicles our journey through these challenges...
Our world has crashed, been blown apart.
This can't be happening....why us? Why now?
Your fragile life shaken before it could barely start,
How do we get through this...please, Lord, tell us how?

Drowning in our sorrow, waiting for answers that just don't come.
Our baby "special needs"? It simply can't be true!
The heartache overwhelms us, we're left feeling cold and numb.
The diagnosis tells us little - these children are so few.

But then we finallyget to touch you, to see your precious face
And all the heartache and questions fade, replaced with love and pride.
It's obvious from the very start you're showered in God's grace,
And with His love and guidance, we'll take this challenge in stride.

When once we couldn't pronounce it, Rubinstein-Taybi's become our norm.
When once the future seemed dark, we now welcome the journey as having an RTS angel brings lessons in unexpected form.

Our world has crashed, been blown apart!
This IS us.....right now!
We've been blessed with a gift, so precious from the very start. How do we get through this? Here's how.....
By believing in a God, so merciful and great,
By trusting that He's right beside us as we journey through the narrow gate.
By believing His love for us is not determined by a human frame,
By trusting that we draw Him near by merely calling His name. This precious baby we asked God for,
Prayed he'd be perfect and complete.
And, as Samuel means "God hears", He's laid His answer at our feet.

(Nicky de Beer : 27/05/2010)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

From mincemeat to unexpected blessings!

Recently a very good friend shared that she was feeling spiritually "battle weary", something I too have felt recently. I was a little taken aback...this friend is the essence of all that is good and righteous, filled with endless patience, compassion and love. I thought to myself, if this friend is battle weary then I must be spiritual mincemeat! Although we face the usual challenges most special needs families encounter, these challenges have not alone contributed to my weariness. There have been countless reports of abuse and assault of chilren and special needs people over the past couple of weeks which have made me question whether putting Samuel into any special needs facility at any point is even something to consider anymore, at least while he is non-communicative (which I am sure he will be for some time). There was the devastating story about baby Michael Connor who, although born normal, was rendered blind, brain-damaged and a quadriplegic...a state into which his mother beat him over a period of months, from the age of three months, and for which neither her nor his father are receiving anything remotely resembling a just punishment. When a reporter followed the mother leaving the sentencing hearing to her car, she retorted, in a hostile manner,  "Get a life!"

My heart sank. I vented to the heavens, I vented to my poor old dad (who was, up until this point, embracing his new-found spiritual curiosity)...where is the Lord's presence? I argued with Him that He is going to lose this world before any rapture or the coming of any Kingdom. With me leaving very little room for anyone else to have a say, I have to confess that it was very much a one-sided argument...or so I thought :)

Yesterday morning I received a phone call from our local radio station, Kfm  asking me to hold on for a call, after which the DJ, Ryan, and my sister, Cammy, both came on the line. After an extremely emotional introduction to our story by Ryan, followed by an equally emotional contribution from Cammy, Kfm added another caller to the conversation. John van der Westhuizen from Lancewood Cheese shared with us that Lancewood was going to sponsor basically all of Sam's speech and physio therapy for the next year! My first thought was - my conversation with Him had not been so one-sided after all! Okay, honestly, that might have been my second first thought was OH MY WORD! WHY AM I SOUNDING LIKE SUCH A NINNY OVER THE RADIO!

What an awesome ending to a year I have been otherwise longing to see the back of! I don't think the problem is that the Lord's presence decreases, but rather that we really do become THAT battle weary that we no longer have the same amount of strength and passion to search as carefully and notice as clearly when we do come across it. As I read recently (and have possibly posted before) it is not the Lord that leaves us, but us that leaves the Lord!

So the sponsorship from Lancewood is awesome, it will certainly ease our financial burden over the next year and how wonderful that there are still such giving people and organisations out there. But even more awesome is the realisation that firstly, my sister thinks so highly of the kind of mother I am to Sam, Meg and Luke and secondly, how much both Cammy and everyone else in my family (especially my Aunty Anthea who too sent a similar request) want to help us and see us rise. And, when they personally don't have the resources to help, they will do what it takes to make this journey so much easier.

The Lady of the Hour...Sam's Aunty Cammy

Two things in closing :

1. Please don't forget about the plight of the Harcombe family 

2. I discovered a new "worst place to v-word" the Mugg&Bean, Ackermans and the car all move over to make way for....into a basket full of newly washed laundry! 


  1. Just so very proud of you and Camilla both. We often forget that God will answer all our prayers if we believe that with our whole heart......if you believe it you will see it. Lots of love

  2. I am waaaay behind with reading your blog...what a wonderful answer to prayer and a wonderful family and friends. I'm so glad God blessed you this's powerful to feel his love through the words and actions of others.