Ezekiel Micah’s name means God Strengthens. His parents, Eric and Erin Miller, chose this name before they knew that they would adopt a second boy into their family. They wanted to give their children strong, Biblical names. “God asked Ezekiel the Prophet to share His message with a hard-hearted people, knowing they wouldn’t listen. God strengthened Ezekiel to do a mighty work, but he had a very tough journey,” said Erin.
Ezekiel Micah Miller, or Zeke, also has a difficult journey, and God is using Zeke’s story to teach people about His unstoppable love.
Adoption was always part of the Miller’s plan, even before they learned that they could not have biological children. Eric and Erin welcomed their first son, Eli, on December 22, 2012. “Eli is full of love, energy, and personality. He continues to be a blessing to our family,” Erin shared.
In April 2015, Ezekiel Micah was born, and his birthmom chose Eric and Erin to be his adoptive parents. He seemed like a perfectly healthy boy, and the Millers fell madly in love with him. “At his four-month appointment, the pediatrician realized that Zeke’s eyes weren’t following her,” Eric explained. “Every time we went to the doctor after that, it seemed like they discovered something else wrong with Zeke.”
Zeke has a rare genetic disorder called CASK gene mutation. He is one of only 100 cases diagnosed in the world. In addition to feeding problems, seizures, and developmental delays, he is nearly blind, deaf, and immobile. Zeke is like a two-month-old in a two-year-old body. He requires numerous weekly therapies and sees multiple specialists to help manage his needs.
“It felt like a Mack truck hit me,” Eric recalled as he reflected on that first appointment.
“We were in shock,” Erin added. “We were having to grieve the loss of the life we thought our son would have.”
The Millers had not signed up for a special needs adoption, and the adoption was not yet finalized, so Covenant Care encouraged them to take several days to pray and seek God’s guidance about moving forward to finalize the adoption. Zeke’s diagnosis was overwhelming and completely rocked their world.
During those days of prayer, it wasn’t a specific verse or Biblical story that surfaced for Eric and Erin, but rather the inundating, abiding presence of the Holy Spirit all around them. “It didn’t take long before God pressed on both of our hearts that our answer should be YES,” Eric said. “The Holy Spirit showed us this is what adoption is. This is the gospel.”
The startling reality of our own adoption by God Himself, despite our crippling issues, became very clear to Erin. “We had the chance to stop the adoption, but how could we say no to Zeke? He already had our whole hearts. I was reminded of what his name means, and I knew God would give us strength to take care of him.”
Even in two short years, God has used Zeke’s story to show people who God is – a loving Father who stopped at nothing to adopt His children. Jesus gave His life on the cross so that we might live. He rose from the grave and conquered death, so that sin and death can have no power over us.
“There have been many times in the hospital when people ask about Zeke’s name and we get to tell them how God has been our strength in every moment of this journey. They ask us why we would still adopt a child knowing he had all these issues, and we get to share the gospel – what God has done for us,” Eric said.
“God knew that Erin and I needed Zeke,” Eric shared. “We know how sinful and selfish we are, and Zeke’s diagnosis shows us that we have to be selfless. There were so many times before Zeke was here, that I would just think about myself. But now, I see a glimpse of the world from God’s point of view – how God wants us to be as believers. God used Zeke to give us a whole new perspective – to be thankful for everything, to appreciate the moments we have, to value life instead of getting caught up in things that don’t matter.”
Having a special needs child is unbelievably taxing on the Miller’s hearts, minds, and bodies. They don’t get a lot of sleep or spend enough time together. But, they will quickly point to God’s sustaining grace and recall how he has met their every need so far. “God is raising up people, churches, and agencies like Covenant Care who have come alongside us to support and help us,” Eric said.
Doctors have told Eric and Erin that many boys with Zeke’s diagnosis die at birth or live in a vegetable-like state. Praise be to God, Zeke has defied so many odds. He even shows emotion, which is unheard of. “When he smiles and laughs, I look at Erin and say ‘This makes it all worth it,’” Eric shared. “When he smiles, he’s telling us, “I love you, mom and dad. Thank you for taking care of me.” And I know that He is a life worth fighting for. Our four-year-old gets to see that everyone has value and deserves to be loved.”
God made Zeke for a glorious purpose. It’s been a tough journey for Eric, Erin, Eli, and Zeke, and it will continue to be. But one thing we know, God will be their strength.