McDowell Technical Community College
Bradley as a child

Bradley as a Child

Back in the early 90’s one of our daughters asked me to go to an appointment with her and her husband to Duke.  She was expecting her second child.  After the birth of her first she was told that because of her high risk she would need to deliver any subsequent children at Duke.  With great anticipation of seeing the ultrasound I quickly accepted.  There was some concern because Greta was born with spina bifida and Shaun’s older brother had died at birth with Spina Bifida. The technician began to move the machine over her small baby bump and I almost lost my breath.  Even I could see the disruption in the spine.  We were all devastated.  Even as they were finishing the ultrasound, the hospital room filled with people.  There had to be 12 to 15 doctors, nurses and even a chaplain who had come to assure Greta that she qualified for an abortion and when did they want to set it up.  With big tears running down her face she looked at them as only she can and told them in no uncertain terms that this baby would never be aborted.  Turning to me as this learned group looked on she said to me with tears streaming down her cheeks, “Where would I be Mother if you had aborted me” Much to the dismay of these doctors she carried this child to full term.  He was born with spina bifida, bladder problems, and severe club feet. He wore casts for the first 6 months of his life.

Not worth much some folks would say.  What can people like Greta and Bradley accomplish in this life.

Well, they can do a lot. Greta has had an awesome family of four children, all Christians serving in so many ways it would take too long to tell you.  She has run marathons and is now becoming a nurse with high honors. Many times, as she was growing up she would get to feeling sorry for herself and we would go out to the talking log.  It consisted of talks about I don’t know why you are like you are but God had a reason and sometimes we don’t know.  Now she looks at me and says I wouldn’t change a thing about who I was and who I am.  If I had not dealt with these obstacles, then I would not be the person I am today.  God Bless her, He has used her in so many ways.
Bradley is now 22 and he has played baseball, wrestled, fishes, hunts and plays the guitar and sings like an angel.  Oh, what the world would have missed if these children had been aborted.


The Rest of the Story

Two years ago, I got a call from Bradley, we were planning our annual grouse hunting trip to Wisconsin and Bradley called asking if he could go as well.  I was planning at that time to take several of the grandsons and meet one of my sons, Greg, in Hiles, Wisconsin on this trip.  Bradley loves to hunt and fish but when he called about this trip my first thought was, I would love to have him but how in the world would he be able to walk 10-12 miles per day on crutches through the woods and carry a gun as well.  After only a moment of hesitation I replied, yes, come on and go with us.

Bradley Holding A Grouse

Bradley Holding A Grouse

As Barbara has mentioned, the doctors wanted to abort Bradley before he was born and he walks with crutches and has had numerous operations on his legs and feet so I shook my head but knowing Bradley’s determination I thought, what the heck.  During the week, Bradley did not complain, he did not sit in the truck, he hunted.  On one of the hunts he and I went down a trail about two miles and we came to a dead end at a swamp out in the middle of the forest.  I looked at Bradley and told him, Bradley we can cut across this swamp and it is about 200 yards to the trail where we came in or we can backtrack around the trail we came in on, which do you prefer?  He thought for just a second, looked at me and said, let’s go through the swamp.  Bradley had a sling for his gun that he carried on his back when we were walking so I told him to give me the gun and I would carry it across the swamp.  As we started across the swamp Bradley would try to find firm places to put his crutches but they would often sink in up to his hands.  Bradley would just pull them back out and try again.  We made it across the  swamp, I set down on a rock, looked at Bradley with tears in my eyes, come over here and sit down with me a minute Bradley.  He came over and we set there for a moment, I looked at him with tears rolling down my cheeks and said “Bradley, you have the outstanding stud hoss award as far as I am concerned”.  We must remember, God has a purpose for each of us.  We don’t have handicaps in his eyes, we have opportunities to bring glory to him.  As he replied to Paul, my grace is sufficient!

Doug–  Papaw