Everyone cried with us, now share in our joy, says Danny
In a moment of joy shared by people around the country and the world, Leila and Danny Abdallah have announced their “special blessing sent from above” in the gift of their seventh child, due to be born next March.
They say the new baby is an answer to prayers from 12-year-old Liana, seven-year-old Alex and five-year-old Michael, and is also a loved sibling for Antony, Angelina and Sienna who died with their cousin Veronique Sakr when they were hit by a driver under the influence of drugs and alcohol at Oatlands in February last year.
Leila’s words of faith and forgiveness in the days following the unthinkable tragedy stunned people around the world and brought many to a deeper faith themselves.
In May, Leila was honoured with the title of Mother of the Year and told The Catholic Weekly that she and Danny were “over the moon” about the arrival of another little one.
We have suffered a lot, But like everyone, we have got a cross to carry in life and we can choose to carry it with peace, love and harmony…That is our faith as Catholics – Leila Abdallah
“God has truly sent us a blessing from above,” she said, adding that it was the prayers of the children for a baby brother or sister to love and play with that have been answered.
Michael told The Catholic Weekly that he prayed to Jesus for a baby and is looking forward to being a big brother. Alex said he is hoping for a boy, “because I like boys, and I’m going to look after mum and the baby”. Liana asked for baby clothes for Christmas and is ready to take on some ‘mum’ duties next year as well.
“Everyone cried with us, and now we want to share our joy and our message of hope, and with Leila having this baby now we will keep moving forward together as a family,” said Danny. “We’re so excited, we’ve had six kids but it feels like we’re having our first one again.”
The couple encouraged their three younger children to come up with potential names: Joseph or Anthony for a boy and Angel or Mary for a girl, while the baby’s middle name will be Antony or Angelina.
The kids are also looking forward to being in the family’s new house for Christmas, which was being built prior to the tragedy and had to be put on hold.
“Even though they haven’t met the baby yet, this is helping with their healing,” Leila said. “And Antony, Angelina and Sienna are very much part of this, they are always in our minds and hearts and are a big part of our lives.
“We are still in pain and cry every day, but our younger kids are looking up to us and are affected by the choices we make. We have suffered a lot, but like everyone, we have got a cross to carry in life and we can choose to carry it with peace, love and harmony.
“That is our faith as Catholics, our faith is keeping us going and allows the kids to be able to heal and to look at life in a positive way in the midst of their pain and agony.
“My message is to make the right choices in life and allow God to work in your life because, truly, He is our only healer and comforter.
“He’s been always my rock in my life. And even after everything we’ve been through I can confidently say that I’m in love with God and love him more and more and I hope to see our kids in heaven. So I just ask Him to use us according to His will until the day we meet them.”
Leila added that she was glad their news seemed to be a “ray of light” for many people fatigued by constant bad news about COVID and tragedies unfolding across the globe.
Next February will see the second anniversary of the tragedy, and also the first anniversary of the launch of I4give Day, which is an initiative of the Abdallah family with support from the state and federal governments.