Thank you to so many of you who shared your hearts with me on my last post. I so appreciate you sharing your thoughts, your trials, and your beautiful victories with me. Your comments and the many e-mails I received touched me deeply.
I must confess that some of the things shared have stuck with me throughout the day. Some of the stories are heartbreaking. I know that it is because I am a mom to kids with special needs and when I hear of situations where children who struggle in this life have been banned from certain stores and whatever else, well, it just does something inside of me. How can it not?
I wonder…what if it were my child?
What if it were my family?
This whole journey is still relatively new to us. We’re still figuring it all out. We take one day at a time.
Of course I long for people to embrace my children and accept them just the way they are.
Of course I want everyone on the planet to know that they ARE fearfully and wonderfully made.
More than anything I long for that for my children and my family.
But I know that sometimes it is just not the case.
Today we met a wonderful man. Perhaps he’s around 30. He’s smart. Can hold a great conversation. Swims laps of the pool better than most. Shoots hoops. Has a smile that can light up a room.
Sam has Down syndrome.
He spends his days watching soap operas. He stays at home and passes the hours sitting in front of the TV.
You know why?
NOBODY WILL GIVE SAM A CHANCE!
Despite much advocacy…no one will employ Sam.
Not one single person believes in him; believes that he is able and capable (which he absolutely is). Too many figure that Sam is better off at home.
I fought back the tears.
How can that even be in a country like this?
Why will no one give this sweet man a chance to just be who God has created him to be–whether it be bagging groceries, or stocking shelves, or greeting people at the front door, or whatever else.
In the past, when Sam has held temporary positions, he has absolutely loved it. It gave him a sense of independence, of freedom, of being someone! Everybody needs to feel like they’re someone.
But these days things are different. No one will give Sam an opportunity.
That just about rips my hearts in two.
I posted a comment in response to someone last night, and it is really how I feel….
We are so very quick to point our fingers at other nations. We point and say, “They don’t take care of their people who have special needs.” Or, “The people with disabilities have no worth or value in that country.” And yes, it may be true.
But today I was reminded of a very painful truth once again.
We’re really no dang different to the rest of them!
We have more “Sams” than we are even willing to admit. They’re nameless, they sit at home, hidden from society, never given a chance to learn and grow and become someone.
I ache for my girls. I really do. I get heartsore when I think about what potentially lies in their future.
What if Hailee or Harper ended up just like Sam?
What if no one cared enough to give my girls a chance to be something in their lives?
What if people looked at their beautiful faces and all they saw was disability instead of a real, loving, caring, sweet human being with amazing potential?
Oh, God in heaven!
So much has to change. So, so much.
I believe that it starts with us–here and now. It starts with the kids we’re raising. We tell our children that they need to be world transformers, not world conformers.
And it starts right here in our home. It is one of the things that I love about being a homeschooling family. Learning to love. Learning to embrace. Learning to put up with the hard days and the tougher moments…together.
Learning to let his little sister try new things…and hold her tight every step of the way.
Reaching out to care at every given opportunity.
The cry of my heart is that my children will get it. That when they leave our nest they will go out into the world and not just tolerate those who have needs…but actually seek them out and love them unconditionally.
Help the “Sams” of the world stand tall–with dignity!
A sweet blog reader left me a note this week and it is too precious not to share. This is what I long for in my children…
I’m an Occupational Therapist at a hospital. I was recently helping an elderly woman and her son was in the room (i’d guess him to be around 60). I asked if he’d be able to stop by his mother’s home to help at all as her health was declining. He said,”Oh yes, my brother and I both live nearby and we already stop by a couple times a day to help our sister who has DS. She got sick a couple years ago and now can’t do much for herself so we help her with everything.” Then he smiled and said with complete sincerity, “And we don’t mind a bit. Our sister has been an amazing blessing in our life and we’d do anything for her!”
Oh my goodness. World changers right there.
No words can express how proud I am of my children. I pray that they will become just like the man in that story, “We love our sisters and will do anything for them!”
So often we get asked about how adopting children with special needs has affected our bio kids (Anthony shared his heart on it here). You know, the longer Hailee, Harper and Haven are in our family, the more I thank the Lord that they are here. Not only because they are no longer orphans and now have a family who adores them (even though that is so amazing), but also because of the way I see the lives of our other children evolving day by day. I am SO thankful that these kids of ours have such an amazing opportunity to embrace
disability with all their hearts and love them with a passion….and then go out and do the same for others.
Our biological children see PEOPLE, not disability!
I know that when they leave our home, they will be better men and woman–thanks to the blessing of having children who can’t do what they do, are slower than they are, have health issues, and cannot express themselves in words.
What a sweet blessing for our biological children!
When people tell me how blessed our children with needs are to have us, I am quick to correct them with, “No, WE are the ones who are exceedingly blessed!”
Every single one of us.
And so I’ll go to bed tonight with sweet Sam in my prayers. I’ll trust the Father with everything I have that someday soon Sam will be able to stand tall, stand proud, and know in his heart that he is someone to many. I’ll pray that Sam will be seen as a man created in the image of a God who does all things with excellence.
Change begins with us. Right here. Right now.