A remarkable young lady whom doctors said had no hope of surviving after her birth celebrated her 12th birthday on December 23 — all because her parents refused to give up on her and found doctors who were willing to help.
“It’s a Wonderful Life! This is a special day,” Faith Smith’s father wrote on Facebook. “Faith is 12 years old today. Our ‘fatal fetal anomaly’ who is ‘Incompatible with Life’ just won’t listen to her critics.”
“We are rejoicing in our home after a dozen years with Faith!” Faith’s mother Jesi Smith told Live Action News. “What a gift each of our children have been to us and to each other — I am living my dream of being a mom. We have learned not to take time with our children for granted. … [W]e are not just ‘lucky’ that Faith lives. We have a Mighty God and some great doctors and nurses that deserve the credit.”
Jesi Smith and her husband Brad were told during Jesi’s pregnancy that their daughter Faith had Trisomy 18 and that they should undergo an amniocentesis to confirm the diagnosis… and then abort her. The couple refused, though the doctors insisted that Faith would not survive. They told the Smiths that Faith would ruin their marriage, devastate them financially, and make life difficult for their other children, only to die. The Smiths remained strong in their faith and firm in their decision not to abort their daughter and not to undergo amniocentesis.
When Faith was born, she was officially diagnosed with Trisomy 18, but the doctors’ predictions of her immediate death did not come true.
After facing discrimination from the medical community because of her diagnosis, Faith and her parents found Dr. Glen Green, a Pediatric Otolaryngology specialist, who was willing to help her. From there, they found more doctors who were willing to go the extra mile, and Faith began to thrive. She has undergone numerous surgeres, including a recent spinal surgery for scoliosis and kyphoscliosis earlier this year. Now, in honor of her 12th birthday, her parents sent a postcard to all of the doctors — both the ones who helped and the ones who refused to help — detailing Faith’s life.
“Faith is loud, happy, sweet, and well-loved,” they wrote. “She gives the tightest hugs, best kisses, and has the craziest dance moves of us all. She loves swimming, horseback riding, balloons, and playing the piano. Faith’s quality of life is the envy of all that know her.”
And as far as the doctors’ prediction that Faith’s life would negatively impact the lives of her siblings, they couldn’t have been more wrong. Faith adores her siblings, and they adore her. As Faith’s sister Grace wrote on Facebook:
As much time as Faith has spent in a hospital, she’s spent much more than that traveling, laughing, and loving her life. She enjoys playing the piano, horseback riding, and swimming. She loves walking around museums and going on Starbucks runs. Her life is full of fun. It is my complete honor and joy to spend every day caring and spending time with her. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.
Faith Victoria – You were a “fatal fetal anomaly” and “incompatible with life.” I’m so grateful that your stubborn little self chose to say suck it to the naysayers. You are an inspiration for so many families who had no hope for their own children. Your life has saved countless others. You have taught me compassion, perseverance, kindness, patience, and how to be joyful in the midst of pain. I am forever grateful to God for your life. Happy 12th birthday my sweet girl. I love you.
Faith’s joyful and loving life is proof that life is always worth fighting for. A diagnosis may be a part of a child’s story, but it is not the child herself. All children, no matter the circumstances, deserve the right to life.
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