Michael sent me a link to this video the other afternoon. I watched it immediately and was not really prepared for the emotional sucker punch. So, be warned – Choosing Thomas is poignant and very raw. Every dad should see it.
T.K. and Deidrea Laux’s son, Thomas, was born with Trisomy 13. Well before his birth, they knew he would not live long, if at all. The Dallas Morning News is doing a series on this story and this video is the first installment. There are two things that’ve really stuck with me since watching it yesterday.
1. Love in spite of loss.
It made me think about the foster children we had hoped to adopt. The days – sometimes weeks or even months – of uncertainty about their permanence in our family made us feel helpless. “The phone call” from the case worker informing us they’d be leaving. It could be days or weeks before they were gone, but eventually they’d be taken and we’d probably never see them again. But we still loved them like crazy because it wasn’t about us. When asked why they chose not to terminate, the couple said,
We didn’t not terminate because we were hanging onto some sort of hope that there was a medical mistake or there was gonna be some medical miracle. We didn’t terminate because he’s our son.
2. Loving a person instead of an ideal.
There’s a scene where they are picking out a casket while Deidrea is still pregnant. The sales woman is explaining the differences between various selections in such a way that they could be purchasing anything – like a car seat or a crib. No parent plans on that. Nobody gets married and thinks about picking out their unborn baby’s casket. Similarly, no one daydreams about choosing not to parent a child, or about learning they’re infertile, or about losing a nearly-adopted child to a birthmother who has decided to parent.
It’s difficult to say whether any of these similarities quite matches the degree of pain the Laux’s must have experienced, which is why I think we have something to learn from T.K. I don’t know him, but everything I saw in that video is a hardcore example of fatherly love. If you have ten minutes (and a private place to have a good, ugly cry), you should definitely watch it.