John Paul Hauser, a baby featured in a February article, is doing "really, really well" and developmentally is exceeding expectations, his mother said.  Baby Hauser was born on Oct. 8, 2008, with Trisomy 13, a rare chromosomal disorder that doctors consider incompatible with life.

Tami Hauser said her five-month-old son sucks his thumb, smiles and gives eye contact when spoken to. He rolls over, grabs for his toys, and hums and smiles when someone sings Silent Night, she said. His head and neck also are getting stronger.

"These seem like normal things for a five month old to do, but when doctors tell you that your baby will have absolutely no neurological functioning, you learn to rejoice at those little 'normal' things," Hauser said, noting her son is gaining weight, but struggles with a milk, soy, protein intolerance that at times gives him an upset stomach.

In the Februry article, Hauser and her husband, Tracy, asked for prayers for their son's healing through the intercession of the late Pope John Paul II. The Hausers, who have seven children, want to spread a devotion to the late Pope's beatification and canonization prayer in hopes that he will intercede for them and grant them one of the three miracles needed for his canonization.

Hauser said the response from the article was more than she expected. Many people sent cards, letters and e-mails telling of their support and requesting beatification prayer cards.

Third graders at Sacred Heart School in Norfolk made cards and told the family they pray for John Paul daily. Sixth graders at St. Bonaventure School in Columbus did a media project using the Hausers' story.

The family also received a papal blessing from Pope Benedict XVI and a letter written on his behalf telling them of his prayers for their son.

And the family received dozens of phone calls, including some from strangers and some from as far away as Oklahoma and Virginia. An Omaha couple called to tell the Hausers that they named their son John Paul after reading the article.

John Paul's mother said the response to the article, which was originally printed in Omaha’s The Catholic Voice,  gave her a renewed sense of hope. John Paul's doctors and caretakers also seem to have a stronger sense of hope, she said.

"I think at first people were maybe a little afraid that I was going to have a big disappointment in store for me. People were concerned for me and wanted to give me a reality check," Hauser said. "But now I've noticed that their language has changed. They've started talking about John Paul's future."

She said the family is grateful for all the prayers and asks people to continue praying the beatification prayer with the intention of her son.

"I just want to say thank you. I'm so grateful for all the prayers and support, and I just know that's why John Paul's here," she said. "Today is a miracle, and we're going to be hopeful that tomorrow's going to be a miracle, too."

Printed with permission from the Catholic Voice, newspaper from the Archdiocese of Omaha.