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Akiko’s Story

“Shortly after we got married, we got pregnant. We were sooo excited! At our 20 week check-up, we couldn’t wait to find out the sex of our baby. During the ultrasound, the technician became very quiet. We asked, “Is it a girl or a boy?” And she softly answered, “Boy.” We rejoiced and didn’t think much about why she was so quiet. The doctor came in to see our ecstatic and excited faces. Hers had a sad countenance. She said, “Your baby has club feet, a severe cleft lip, his heart is not developing, and part of his brain is not developing.” Our hearts sank. We were devastated. The doctor referred us to a specialist.

Everyone was waiting to hear from us that day, but we couldn’t bear to tell them the devastating news. My husband told his parents, who rushed over to be with us, and I told my dad and sister. That evening I went straight to the Lord. I knew He could heal him. I decided to believe with all my heart that if I had the faith to believe, my Lord would save and heal my baby.

The next morning we went to the specialist. Before we went in, we prayed that our son would be well and that the previous doctor was wrong. But sadly, the ultrasound tech could see more that was wrong. She confirmed that the heart and brain were deformed and also added that he didn’t have a nose. As I lay there sobbing with my husband’s hand in mine, the doctor came in and said our baby probably wouldn’t live much longer in utero and that his assumed diagnosis would not be compatible with life.

In an attempt to solve my situation, he said, “You could have an abortion?” Surprised, yet not surprised, I couldn’t believe I was at a medical facility expecting an environment of health, life, and wellness but offered the worst possible scenario, death, as my solution!? Did he really think that was going to make it better? I gave a swift “no.”

For the next 5 months, we believed that our mighty God would heal our son, Joseph. We left that OBGYN to not be around a doctor or staff that would ever suggest killing our precious child. The thought of them disregarding our child as disposable and as a means to line their pockets disgusted me.

We found a Christian doctor, and our faith in God and His miraculous nature grew. We continued to make plans to be parents. My husband, Joseph, gave our son the name Joseph without second-guessing it. We gave him 2 baby showers, prepared his room, and celebrated him. Our baby Joseph already beat the odds and lived the full nine months in utero. He even went to 41 weeks!

On July 18th, 2 days before he came into this world, I woke up restless. I went to the kitchen, and as I looked out my windows, I saw something incredible! There were large bubbles of light in every color. They were all around a tall evergreen tree in our backyard. I kept trying to make sense of this sight because it wasn’t even close to dawn. The bubbles of colorful light were beautiful, and I knew it was from the Lord, and I knew it was about my baby boy. I hoped it meant a miracle.

After 20 hours of labor, Joseph Leonard Strock III was born. He was the most beautiful baby I’d ever seen. Devastatingly, He had all the anomalies they said he would have. Joseph walked his firstborn son down the hall to the NICU in a surreal state as the hope of him being okay slipped away.

Surrounded by my dad, sister, mother-in-law, and father-in-law, we wept together as Joseph and I clutched the baby we desperately wanted.

Exhausted, Joseph and I went to bed for a few hours. When we woke up, we rushed to see our baby. They told us he only had a matter of hours left to live. We gave him a bath, dedicated him to God, and all took turns holding him. Amazingly he looked right into our eyes! Newborns don’t do that. They usually have their eyes closed. After almost 12 hours of life outside the womb, as Joseph and I held him, baby Joseph turned his gaze upward and took his last breath.

Brokenhearted and confused, we didn’t understand why God didn’t choose to heal our child. My faith was very shaken, and I didn’t know if God was good. Joseph died that Friday, and we went to church the following Sunday.

The Aurora movie theatre shooting happened the same Friday Joseph was born, but I knew nothing about it. Everybody was really sad when we went to church, and the message was geared toward grief. I had no idea what was going on, but in my raw feelings, I was comforted because when you experience death, you feel like the whole world should be experiencing it with you. Not that I take joy in the grief of the families impacted by the Aurora theatre shooting. I just shared it with them.

Slowly, I started to submit to God’s sovereignty and His goodness. I talked to my aunt, and she said, “Akiko, God is still worthy of your worship.” So, I worshiped God in my sorrow, knowing He was still good.

Isaiah 61 says to put on the garment of praise in exchange for the spirit of heaviness. I learned that sometimes God says “no.” But He’s still good. God gave me my child’s life, and only He could take it. We loved and celebrated our son, who would be 11 today, and we have no regrets. And now we look forward to meeting him in heaven.”

Akiko was so impacted by the fact that she was told to kill her innocent child in an abortion that when Sidewalk counselors began to form in Denver, Colorado, she was the first to volunteer with the City Director there. She now faithfully comes to the sidewalk, despite being a busy mother of three incredible young children. She knows that God can use her testimony to save lives, and she can remind others that when life brings struggle, the last thing we should do is turn away from God, who is the creator of life.

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