Friday, June 14, 2024

The Soapbox: Divine Providence

Brandi Chambless
Brandi Chambless

…I found our son—Beverly Martin

With just three months to live, David Johnston received the most shocking email of his life.  This was a name from the past he could never forget due to all that had happened.  It was his college romance Beverly Martin.

In 1956, young David’s romantic relationship with his then girlfriend had resulted in a pregnancy.  Knowing that they were not equipped to care for the baby, the couple not only made the mutual decision to put the baby up for adoption, but also to go their separate ways.

“I found our son,” the voice said.  After a two-year search, the birth mother and son were reunited online.  Initially, it seemed this would be the call that would turn David’s world upside down.  But little did he know, that what some people call fate and others call a divine appointment, this call would be instrumental in saving his life.

Dear Reader, the story I am going to share is a testament to the sanctity of human life.  It is a story of redemption for David Johnston.  It is a story for an adopted son who, like so many, had questions about his entry into this world that led him on a search for his birth parents. Then suddenly, mystery unfurled. Providence.

Since being put up for adoption in 1957, Ken Davis flourished in his adopted family in Mississippi, though the wonderful upbringing he experienced did not squelch his curiosity about his past.  Out of respect for his adopted mother, he never pursued any answers until after she had passed away.

“God blessed me with a wonderful adoptive family,” he said.  The nurturing of his childhood and his desire to make something of his life afforded him the opportunity to pursue an education in medicine at University of Mississippi Medical Center.  He continued on to earn a fellowship at Harvard Medical School in geriatric medicine and eventually was named as Chief Medical Officer for San Antonio Methodist Healthcare System.

Three years prior to identifying his birth mother, Ken approached his San Antonio employer about launching a valve clinic that would specialize in transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a process that makes an incision in the groin, threads a catheter through a large artery, clears the valve blockage, then folds a new, functional valve into place.

When David Johnston received the email from his old flame, he kept the email with two phone numbers and the name.  Ken Davis.  It was the missing link to a son he had never known, and he then decided to make the connection.

David Johnston spoke to Ken Davis as if they had already been friends for life, but didn’t wait long before announcing the sad news that he only had three months to live due to blockage in his aortic valve.

Shortly after meeting for the first time, he received a call from David’s son Brad Johnston who was seeking additional solutions for the ailing patriarch.  In the past, Johnston’s prognosis had not been adequate for other more traditional and invasive surgical methods and the innovative methods that Dr. Ken Davis was seeing in San Antonio were unavailable to Johnston in a small Southern town.

Dr. Ken Davis was eventually able to have several surgeons reevaluate David’s case over a medical visit to San Antonio where David was approved for the surgery.  A 30-minute procedure performed by Dr. Jorge Alvarez saved David’s life.

David recovered in the home of Ken and his wife Nancy where they cared for him as their own family, because they truly were.  They discovered the commonalities in mannerisms and interests and used the time to get to know one another more deeply.

David’s long-time wife Glenda, having been told about the adoption early in the relationship, was supportive as was the entire family who witnessed life-saving providence for their father–providence of the most unusual circumstances.

“Giving up a child for adoption can be a loving thing to do,” Ken Davis said.  “There are many couples looking to adopt children.  Not every reunion is a positive experience like ours, but don’t be afraid to search for biological relations.  It might be a blessing like our family has had.”

David Johnston added, “It’s just a miracle.  All those things just had to happen.”

Dr. Ken Davis and David Johnston remain close to this very day.  What was once lost has been restored.


Read Brandi’s column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper.

Brandi Chambless
Brandi Chambless
Read Brandi's column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper.

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