Being Sheep

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep."John 10:14-15

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Special Needs

Steve and I had a chance to do a bit of Christmas shopping on Black Friday, thanks to a dear friend who watched our boys for a couple of hours. We went to only one store and it was mid-morning, so it wasn't terribly crazy.

As we stood in line, we couldn't help but hear the conversation of two ladies behind us. They were discussing whether or not one of them wanted another child.

She said, "I just don't know if we really want another. I mean, we have a boy and a girl. It's perfect. They're completely healthy. What if we have another one and it has special needs? I mean, I know we'd love it, but why take that risk?"

And it just made me sad. Not because I can't understand realizing it is incredibly difficult to have a child with special needs, but because this woman's fear that it could possibly happen would make her choose not to have another child.

I am not one to say everyone needs to have as many children as possible, that everyone should have lots of children, or that choosing to be "done" having kids is necessarily a bad thing. However, the idea that one shouldn't have another child just in case he or she "has special needs" makes me sad.

There was no way for us to know that Nathan would have so many needs when he came home. Of course we knew a lot about attachment difficulties, we knew it was a risk, but he was only 8 months old. We really had no idea how much trouble he would have adjusting to life in our family and attaching to Steve and I.

But would I do it all over again? Absolutely. Not without much fear and trembling, but absolutely would I adopt him even if I knew ahead of time everything we would go through.

Being Nathan's mom has brought so very many blessings to my life:

I found out I'm pretty darn strong,
I've learned to love a child so fiercely, even when he detests me.
I've learned to rely on God more than I ever have before.
It's taught me that I can fire people when needed. "I'm sorry, this therapy is just not meeting our needs."
I'm learning to ask for help when I need it.
I've watched Alex and David be amazing big brothers, even when Nathan hurts them.
I've seen my husband be such a caring dad. I've fallen in love with him all over again.
I've learned that my marriage can withstand a lot of trial and come out stronger afterward.
I've had a front seat to this little guy's healing, and it's a beautiful thing.

So many tears, hard work, determination, and patience have gone into each and every one of the hugs, kisses, and smiles I can coax out of this boy. And that makes each one all the more awesome.

What if I'd missed it because of fear? What if I'd said, "I don't know if I really can handle a child with 'special needs'?" Sure, my life would be easier in many ways. I'd never know what I was missing.

But then again, I wouldn't know what I was missing. 

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