You want to know what breaks my heart? Well, there really are many things that make me weep. But these days, as we are the new parents of two little girls who have Down syndrome, something seems to come up more frequently than ever. Something we have had a taste of with Hannah-Claire and Haven, but nowhere near as much as we do now.
It’s called reactions.
It’s in our faces a lot.
While out and about the other day, Anthony got talking to a stranger. They spoke about the birds and the bees, and many other things. Then the man asked Anthony about his children. Anthony proudly told him he was a Daddy to seven children–three biological and four through adoption. At some point in the conversation he said it, “Two of our girls have Down syndrome.”
Yup, that usually does it.
The man’s response?
“Oh, I am SO sorry!”
Huh? Say what?
I would love to tell you that it is an isolated case–just a man not being very tactful. But, sadly, it happens often. We get reactions.
We know they mean no harm–they just don’t know.
They don’t know what a BLESSING these precious little ones are.
I am too quick to point my finger at other countries and think about how quickly they right off children who have special needs. So often I think about my children’s birth countries and remember all I have been told about what little worth and value people with disabilities have in those places.
But you know what? I am learning fast that we are not so different after all. I’m learning that even in this, a first world country, disability is so often looked upon as “hard work”, “an effort”, “not for most people”, “tiring”, and so on. A burden.
If only the whole world knew!
If only they knew what priceless treasures from heaven these special children are.
If only they knew that every therapy, every extra mile we have to go, every additional little help they may need along the way…like their little feet braces, which are working fabulously I’ll have you know…
They are so absolutely worth it! There is nothing we would not do for our children.
If only they knew what sweet little personalities they have.
And how raising a child with Down syndrome really is no different to raising any other child, in our experience. They share the same giggles, the same joys, they try hard to reach the same milestones….they just take a little bit longer to get there.
And that is perfectly okay. Slow and steady wins the race around here. We go at their pace, not our one hundred mile an hour pace.
If only they could come and spend one day in my home and experience the love that just bubbles over from these angels–the incredible JOY that they bring.
I wish they could look into their sweet almond eyes–and see the things that we see.
Oh how my heart breaks when people say we are these “special people” for bringing them home. Yeah, like whatever. Are you kidding me? WE ARE NOT SPECIAL! They tell us, “We could never do it.” I tell them, “If I can, anyone can.” It’s the truth. I am a flawed human being who has as many bad days as good days. I mess up all the time and have to get back on track. I am nothing without my Savior.
It does NOT take a “special person” to parent a child with any kind of special need. It only takes a person who can love. If we give birth to biological children who have needs, God equips us. The same goes for adoption. He equips us. It’s as easy as that.
If only they knew.
For the fact that we have the indescribable blessing of waking up each and every morning to the delightful squeals that greet us as soon as we walk into their bedroom?
Sorry that our arms are never empty?
Sorry that we are loved by these two little girls more than words can say?
Sorry that we have the honor and privilege of watching them achieve new things?
Sorry that we count it a blessing that our nest will never be empty.
Sorry for the joy that they have brought into our home?
And then I remind myself that I used to be the same way—people just do not know.
If only they did.