Monday, September 21, 2015

The Superiority of Children with Special Needs.

I grew up in a world where special needs were all around me. My mom was a special education teacher and she brought kids into our home who had special and unique needs. It was perfectly normal to read books with pictures of children in wheelchairs or see hearing aids sitting on the counter at home.

With that in mind I walked into special needs parenting with rose colored glasses. I knew in the back of my head that moms have to stand up for their children and that not everyone is accepting of them, yet somehow it became a distant thought that I would be dealing with the ugliness of humanity as I drank in the beauty of my newest daughters. They are so lovely that it shadows the darkness that is out there.

But those rose colored glasses have been thrown in the mud and smeared so much so that I can no longer see through them. I'm taking up the battle of the special needs parent. Today, my post may seem like I'm starting a battle. So be it.

Adults have recoiled their hands when Ellie makes a loud sound. I have witnessed grown men pull back at the sight of the birthmark on Evie's face. I have stored these small grievances away and tried to simply believe the best of those uneducated, and lacking people. But then this happened and I refuse to sit and be silent.

Ellie sat at a table and felt with her hands for her surroundings. Those surroundings included children. A little girl recoiled with a sneer when Ellie reached out to touch her, to "see" who was next to her. It was that sneer that will remain with me for a long time to come.

It was the unveiling of the ugly underbelly of special needs parenting. I can understand that people need to be educated, that Sunday Schools will need assistance in learning, but parents, this is not okay. Children should not be sneering. Ever. For the LOVE, do better to raise the next generation.

Thank goodness Ellie could not see that sneer, but she sure as heck felt the recoil of that child's arm and spirit. She felt the loss of the possibility of friendship in that moment. And for the next hour she never once reached out to her surroundings again, she knew what was lost.

Surround your children with books of children who are different than your own. Buy toys of children who look different than your own. Do you really want them growing up and believing that they are superior because of how they look? Maybe you do. If that is the case I have nothing further to say to you.

Ellie is not a super hero who has special powers to fill in for her disabilities. Please don't blindfold your child in an attempt to make them feel like her. They won't. It will make them feel silly and giggle at their mistakes. It will cheapen our daily experiences. We don't need your sympathy. Really, truly, keep your sympathy. Run around my girls, go ahead, they will get knocked down. It's fine. That's just life as usual for us.

Here is your lesson for the day.

Superiority can never be gained by extra abilities. It cannot be had by extra training, heightened senses or making up for disabilities. It cannot be gained by having all of your limbs, or all of your senses, the color of your skin or how your family came together. Ellie and Evie are not superior because of super human smell or hearing. They are not superior because they can sense an object without seeing it. They are not superior because they have a harder life. Oh, please. Have you met them?

Here is what makes my daughters superior:

Ellie and Evie are superior because they know that differences are nothing to fear, differences make the world better and not weaker. They are learning that God does not define them by what they can or cannot do. He defines them by Himself. They are His and that is what they grow to learn each and every day. The little girl who wears a sneer has already bought the lie that her appearance makes her valuable. Ellie and Evie know that they have inherent value because of the God who created them with His perfect outstretched hand.

And that makes them superior to the child who sneers. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

To The Broken Ones

Today you yelled, said words you never thought would pass your lips.
Yesterday you stopped holding fiercely onto hope. 
You chucked a piece of bread against a wall and watched it crumble to the ground. 
It seemed poetic to you.
The dishes are spilling beyond the boundaries of the sink and the counter is shining back to you with water as its mockery.
Some moms have weekly meal lists and you have a frozen pizza.
Your Pinterest boards hold thousands of pins. And they stay there, pinned, convincing you that you are worthless.
Your friends post pictures of being dressed up for a date night while you  hope for just one day without screaming at each other. 
Your children have watched you come unglued. They have heard words that rightly shame your soul. 

You are battered and bruised and your soul is begging you with every whisper to retreat into hiding. Hide this shame. Hide this ugliness. Hide the words spoken. Hide the terror of your heart. Hide the fears of attachment disorders. Hide the broken marriage. Hide. Hide. Hide. 

You are a broken woman today and can't remember what it was like to be whole. You wish for the sweet escape that sleep brings and then you know the betrayal that dreams bring to you in the night. Tomorrow the sun will rise again and you close your eyes wondering how you will manage to make it one more day.

What happened to the woman arriving at church on Sunday morning in clean clothes with her family smiling sweetly around her? What happened to the wife who greeted her husband as he arrived home with a kiss and words that healed?

Sister, Friend, let me tell you a secret. You are right where God wants you, broken, surrounded by the rubble of your dreams. Now, now, now is the time to speak. Tell us the truth of your brokenness. Tell us the reality you are facing. Tell us of the failures. Tell us how you cannot imagine walking one more day of this road. Because when you do we will see Christ. Your brokenness is the unveiling of the Christ within you. He has torn down every pillar that made you look righteous and all we will see now is Him. 

Your children will watch a broken mom clinging to a Savior who extends mercy. And they will wish for the breath of that same, merciful Spirit in their own hearts. They will learn that Christ is loving to the broken and the beautiful. They will stop performing for a demanding God and start rejoicing in His presence. As your acts of service turn into yearnings of a heart full of desperate and humbled love they will learn to stop checking a list and start being a broken, grace filled child of God. 

God is the Great Physician, the Redeemer of souls, the Lover of hearts. He never wanted your sacrifice of perfection. You were so much more to Him then your acts of service. He wanted you, all of you, all of the hidden broken pieces you didn't want to admit existed. He wanted your beauty, your ugliness, your hidden agendas, your whole heart. You hid behind all the pretty parts of you and He waited. This day, this one where you are so broken that you want to hide in shame, this one where you are sure He would never want any part of you, this is the day that He is rejoicing that you are bringing your whole self to Him. This broken person has been the one He has loved all along. He has waited all this time for you. 

It is not just okay to be broken. 
It is right. 
Bring it to Him. 
Lay yourself bare before the holy One. 
The end of you is the beginning of Him.
Every single day He is turning broken into beautiful.
I cannot wait to see what He makes of you. 

Tell us your story today. Together we will see His beauty. And I can promise you that it is far more beautiful than everything that you were before the day that you were broken. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Adoptive Family Survey

Adoption is hard. Broken souls and broken people trying to climb impossible mountains every single day. Sometimes we watch as those in our community are broken further by disruptions and dissolved adoptions. Both of these are the loss of so many dreams on every end.

We need to do better as a community. Can you help by taking just three minutes and filling out this survey? It is completely anonymous. I can't track it back to you. It give me no names, no IP addresses. It is just to collect data and help find ways to assist families after adoption.

I know you are busy people and three minutes is nearly impossible, but thank you for taking time to do this for yourself, for me, for our community. Together we will build a better and stronger adoption community.

Create your own user feedback survey