A miracle child

Meredith Flynn —  January 14, 2013

Haley_for_blogHEARTLAND | Meredith Flynn

Haley Willis has defied the odds all her life. Diagnosed with a neural tube defect 21 weeks before she was born, doctors told her parents, Jeff and Lynel, Haley wouldn’t survive the pregnancy. When she was born on her due date, the Willises were told to take her home and enjoy her for as long as she survived – two weeks, at most.

She’ll turn 10 this summer. And Jeff and Lynel Willis, who serve at Harvest Church in Anna, say their oldest daughter is a miracle with a special gift for making people smile and drawing shy kids out of their shells. And defying the odds.

“Even to this day, people don’t know what to make of her.”

But the couple, who were told it would be easier to “interrupt” or terminate their pregnancy and start over, knew from the moment of Haley’s diagnosis what their responsibility was concerning their daughter.

“I was realizing really quickly that this wasn’t about Jeff and I,” Lynel said. “This was about God showing his glory through something as little as this baby. And we were just along for the ride.”

One month before her birth, the Willises named their daughter Haley Faith. Lynel said, “We wanted faith in the name, because we were having her out of faith.”

Read the rest of Haley’s story here. January 20 is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday in many Southern Baptist churches.

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.