My first marriage died the day we received the news that Samantha had cerebral palsy.  

We had Sam just before I turned 20. As a young mother I was scared to take her home from the hospital. I remember thinking “you are going to give her to me and let me take her home”.  This frightened me to the core.  I turned to the book What To Expect The First Two Years (Murkoff, 1981) to teach me what I needed to do and look for in Sam and her development. 

With in her first 4 months of life it was clear that something was wrong. I took her back to the doctors and they kept telling me, “she’s a girl-girls are slow-she will catch up”.  This stopped holding water for me because she was not catching up. 

As we were nearing her second birthday I noticed she was not sleeping well. I started sleeping with her in hopes of discovering why. I noticed she was waking up in the middle of the night with her body twitching a lot. This would only last for a few moments and she would sleep through the whole ordeal. I had no idea what was causing this until the thought hit me that she might be having a seizure.

I sought out a doctor who specializes in children with disabilities and made an appointment. As soon as she laid eyes on Sam she said, she has CP! I thought to my self, CP? I asked what she meant. She went on to tell me that CP means Cerebral Palsy. My heart sank. I remember that moment so vividly. I felt all hope leave my body. Further test proved that she also had epilepsy.

I left the doctors office in shock, stunned, and completely void of all thought. I put Sam in her car seat and within minutes found myself at Home Depot. I had no idea why I was there. I mean I love Home Depot. I walked through the store with Sam in my arms and went to the bathroom. Thankfully no one was there. I walked into one of the stalls, sat Sam down, and began to cry. I don’t think I have ever felt as alone as I did at that moment. 

Once I shared the news with my first husband he shut down. He could not accept that there was a problem with our daughter. Instead of running to us he ran away from us. He turned to drugs and alcohol to deaden the pain he was feeling leaving me to deal with everything on my own including all of her care. 

I tried to get him to talk things through with me. I needed him as much as he needed me. After three years of his denial he chose to leave us for good.

As most of you know I did remarry. Bill was truly sent to us by God. He came into our life as a Navy Corpsman. Has prayed for our marriage and Sam and helped me care for her. He understood her seizures so much greater than I did and helped me to not fall off the cliff with each new issue the seizures bring.

Statistics show that 80% of marriages that have a child with a disability end in Divorce. 
Are you like Bill and I? We struggle in our marriage because of the pressure that comes with taking care of a special needs child. There are times I have lost hope, but not Bill. We  HAD to decide that we were going to make our marriage first priority over the stress we were dealing with concerning Sam’s care. It’s not been easy and in all honesty, we have lost the battle sometimes. However, we are still here because we love each other so much. Bill and I are celebrating 18 years of marriage this December 4th and I can truly say we have earned every day this represents!
 “May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
We {Bill, Samantha, Bobby, Troy, and James} have opened a support group on Facebook called “Sam’s Hope” for families dealing with this very topic. This doesn’t just effect our marriage, it effects our kids as well. Our heart is to have a place we can go to share our struggles and find support with other families facing the same issues we are. Together we can make it.. There is Hope and His name is Jesus Christ!

Praying for you,