The following is copied from an email which I sent out yesterday to a small group of family and friends. We appreciate your prayers for our family during this time.

Email, May 8, 2012

Today Kelsie and I went for a routine ultrasound to our clinic here in L'viv, hoping to find out the gender of our baby. Instead, we were shocked to learn that the baby has cystic hygroma (also known as lymphatic malformation), a severe genetic disorder which, depending on the cause, is often fatal. In our case, it is probable that this condition resulted from chromosomal abnormalities which were in motion from the start of the pregnancy.

We saw two different sonographers today, and then went to a consultation with a genetic specialist who explained the situation more fully and gave us an official diagnosis. Outside of a direct miracle from God, there is no chance that our baby will live to term. Right now, the geneticist's best guess was that we have about a month. The swelling and deformity of the body is extensive, and already vital signs are weakening.

As shocking and saddening as this day has been, Kelsie and I have seen God's hand at work and are amazed at the ways He has been protecting and providing already. As you know, this is the first time we have made the decision to come to America for a birth. That decision was made long before we were aware of these complications and as a result, plans are already in motion to meet Kelsie's needs as soon as she arrives the US on May 15. Furthermore, my mom is here with us, and will be flying back to America with Kelsie and the girls. I will be coming soon but cannot be on the initial flight out. In short, God knew this trial was coming our way and He has been faithful as He always is to provide for our needs during this time of great trial.

As we move forward, we would like to ask you lift up our family in your prayers. Here are some specific needs:

  • Pray for miraculous healing. No genetic abnormality is outside the power of God's hand to heal. If it is His will, He can do this.
  • Pray for strength for Kelsie and the rest of our family. Assuming that God chooses to take our baby home to Himself, we have complete peace with His decision. Life is His to give and to take away. We ask only for His grace and comfort to move forward.
  • Pray for safety for Kelsie. At this point there is no risk to her health that we know of, but she will need an extra measure of strength and endurance to get through what will surely be her hardest and most sorrowful labor.
  • Pray for our insurance policy to be approved quickly. Because we were uninsured at the time Kelsie conceived, we do not qualify for traditional insurance. We have planned for some time to apply for a government insurance program called PCIP which covers preexisting conditions. Initially, there was no hurry and we were under the impression that we could not apply until Kelsie got back to the States. What happened today has changed all that. We made some calls and found out that Kelsie can in fact start her application process from here. If all goes well, Kelsie's coverage will be in effect as of June 1. This is very important as we will be incurring some significant medical bills before all is said and done.
  • Pray for wisdom and provision for our travel plans. Originally, I was not planning to come back to the US until September, much closer to the birth. Now, I will need to fly much sooner so that I can be with Kelsie when she delivers. CMO begins on July 1 and we have no way of knowing when the baby will come. Pray that God would lead us and that I would be able to be with Kelsie when she needs me most.
  • Pray for our children. We have not told them yet, but I'm sure it will be hard once we do. The younger ones will have only limited understanding, but Abigail will grasp much more. Pray for comfort and healing for their little hearts.

Having read this, you no doubt have many questions. Be assured that we have as many or more. It has been barely 12 hours since we first learned there was a problem and there are still many unknowns. We'll post more updates as we have them.

The information I have shared in this email is now public. Please feel free to inform others who would be willing to pray for us during this time. For your friendship, prayers, and support, we are very grateful.

Joshua Steele


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