Friday, June 8, 2012


Our future son will not be like other children.  He may never be, but he certainly won't be when he comes home.  He will need help; therapy, doctors, and other services.  He may be a child who doesn't connect well to us - not just when he arrives home, but perhaps ever - and we must prepare ourselves for this. 

For those who don't pay attention, it can be easy to dismiss what I know about special needs as nothing more than book knowledge; something I learned from reading.

But it's not.

I already know what it's like to be the mom who's "different".

My beautiful, intelligent, vibrant, miraculous daughter, is different.

I know what it's like to be the mom who shows up to a gathering with her daughter and two therapists. 

I know what it's like to speak to school administrators and advocate for the services that Chelsea needs to be successful.

I know what it's like to have constant interruptions from therapy appointments.

When I go to the toy store, I try to choose at least some toys that have therapeutic value instead of just "fun factor".  Oh, see that Cookie Monster toy? You have to press his stomach to activate him instead of just shake him.  I'll choose that one instead of the other. 

I know what it's like to call developmental pediatricians. I know what it's like to hear them say things you wish they wouldn't.

I know about uncertainty.  I know what it feels like to look at your precious child and be completely unable to predict what her future holds or what she'll be like years from now. 

I understand about loss.  I know it all too well.  I know what it is like to say" goodbye" to two beautiful, perfectly formed little twin boys.  I know what it's like to say "goodbye" to the picture-perfect childhood for my daughter.  Birthday parties filled with cheering and fun, typical preschools without the need for therapists...those are not realities for our family.  It is sad, but we have pushed through to recognize the joy and manage the struggle.  We know it.  It's not from a book.  It's from real life.

It is why we knew we could care for a child with special needs...because we already do. 

Our life will change even more dramatically when our future son becomes our own.  His needs will look different and our family will be different in a hundred different ways. 

But we didn't choose adoption because we were just "aching" to have another kid, or because we only wanted a son, or because we wanted perfection, or because we just believed that "all that little boy needs is a loving family" or a host of other reasons that perhaps some adopt. 

We weren't aching to have another child - but we certainly wanted another.
We didn't only want a son - but we certainly wanted to parent a boy.
We didn't want perfection - and we've never, ever gotten perfection, so why expect it now?
We don't believe our future son "just needs love" - but we certainly believe he needs a family!

The love of a family helps an awful lot, but our future son's needs will not be cured by how much love we show him.  That is why we prepare, as much as possible, to secure the resources that we need for him.  But there will be surprises.  There always are.  We know that too.  Not all surprises are "good" ones, either. 

In our hearts, however, we know that we are a family who is preparing to face a difficult challenge, but who also knows the joy that comes with even the smallest victories.  God is in those tiny victories, even as He is with us in the challenging times. 

Our first challenge will be going to The Bad Place to meet this little boy.  We will see for ourselves the difficult place he lives in and how delayed and sick he is.  Those dates are coming soon - we should hear pretty shortly, actually.  We also know that the faces of other children there will be heartbreaking and difficult also.  Some of them have parents coming, some of them may reap the benefits of improvements brought about by increased media attention, and others may still be suffering.  It will be hard.  But we will go there, because that is where our future son lives.

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