President’s Page, 0517 ALBJ, 78 The Alabama Lawyer 180 (2017)

Author:J. Cole Portis, J.


Vol. 78 No. 3 Pg. 180

Alabama Bar Lawyer

May, 2017

J. Cole Portis, J.

He was curled up on his bed in the fetal position with his teeth chattering, his face turning blue and his breathing shallow and rapid. It was after 11 p.m. and I sat there telling my son, Samuel, to take deep breaths and relax. Even as I was thinking systematically about what I should do next to help Samuel overcome this unexpected medical emergency, I was also recalling our adoption of him when he was three years old.

Samuel was the first child Joy and I adopted. We were told by the agency that his heart was in bad shape. Yet, he looked and acted healthy in all of the materials we were given. Certainly, we thought, the government officials must be mistaken about his health condition. Therefore, after Samuel arrived in our home, we took him immediately to a heart doctor for a checkup to confirm our suspicions. Unfortunately, the doctor told us that Samuel’s heart was in bad shape and there was nothing that could be done to help him. We were devastated, but did not give up. We found a doctor through a friend who was recognized as the top pediatric cardiosurgeon in the world. That doctor was scheduled to retire soon, but he agreed to examine Samuel. He did and soon after performed one of his last surgeries in order to make a difference in Samuel’s life and help strengthen his heart.

Now, 12 years after that important surgery, Samuel was struggling. His oxygen level stats were dangerously low. He was transported to a local hospital and then to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. There, he received great care and, by God’s grace, made a wonderful recovery. As I reflect on these events, I am reminded that I have been blessed to be Samuel’s father. I have prayed for him, laughed with him and shed tears for him. He is an amazing fighter who has taught me a great deal, including enjoying one day at a time.

All of us probably do a very poor job of enjoying one day at a time. Part of the reason that we don’t enjoy each day is because we spend too much time chasing wasteful endeavors rather than focusing on things that matter. Jere Beasley, founder of my firm, has always instilled...

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