12-18-06: we sent this out via e-mail.
Dear family & friends!
For some of you this may be an update, and for some it may be breaking news. Please know that if this is your first update, it isn't because we didn't want to share, but rather because we needed to care for our family first before sharing the news. John and I are expecting Krause baby #5! Baby #5 - lovingly known as Baby Bear - is due in mid-May shortly before school is out. During what I thought was a routine ultra-sound it was very evident that Baby Bear was not developing "normally". An amniocentesis and several weeks later we have discovered that Baby Bear has Down Syndrome. While this is obviously not what we expected, we are holding on to our faith with as much strength as we can. We shared the news with our children last night during our Advent reflection and now feel that we can share it with our larger circle of friends and family. I want to share with you a bit of our family discussion so that you know our perspective and hope for your support of us and our children through this life changing opportunity.
First, John and I view every life as a gift from God - and not a commodity we can chose to dispose of for any reason. Secondly, although we struggle with this sometimes in our day to day lives, we view each challenge as a gift from God. An invitation from God to take a short cut to get closer to Him. And while these challenges may sometimes feel bigger than we can handle, if we ask God for the graces we need He will shower us with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. When we talked with our children we started off explaining the medical and physical side of Down Syndrome - then accentuated that although there are some differences they will see with Baby Bear, that there are many more things that will be alike to them. We shared how lucky we are to have this news early so that as a family we can prepare the best home and family life for Baby Bear. We talked about making new friends through this. That we will meet many other families with children who have DS, and that through them we will continue to learn and grow, and one day we can help other new families. John talked about how some people don't understand what this is, and therefore can be mean or hurtful, that we need to stay strong and that we will make the world better by showing how to be loving instead of mean. We then focused on our faith in this situation. I told the kids that God loves and trusts our family very much to give us Baby Bear. That when He finds a home for His little souls that need extra care He looks for families where He knows there is a lot of love. I explained that while we are all imperfect we are usually imperfect in our hearts and need extra work to make them pure and loving, but that Baby Bear has different challenges, and that is why God gave him a pure and loving heart. So while we will help Baby Bear walk and read one day - he will help us to love unconditionally and enjoy the little things that we forget God gives us every day to remind us of His love. Although there is some fear, the kids are excited about what this means to our family, understand that things will change, but are looking forward to having Baby Bear join us. Now we are all praying for his heart and other physical parts that we still need to have checked out in the next ultra sound. Children with DS have a higher chance of health issues - some of which we will be able to tell through the ultra sound, and some that we won't. Regardless of your faith life (or you think we are just religious nuts! :-) ), we ask that you please keep Baby Bear in your thoughts or prayers so that he will continue to grow healthy. We ask that you please keep the rest of us in your thoughts or prayers - we know that while now we can prepare, as we get closer to Baby Bear's arrival there will be an increase in anxiety and fear - and that we will be relying on our friends and family to give us that extra lift when we might feel overwhelmed. I ask too that you keep John in your thoughts and prayers as he discerns God's calling for him - personally and professionally. I ask for your prayers and thoughts so that I too may be open to my calling in this situation and that I may continue to grow as a mother and wife to best care for my family. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your love and support.