I have always had some sort of heavy draw towards people with special needs. I am not certain that I can even trace back how old I was when it started. I remember playing with the boy in my first grade class that was in a wheelchair. He could whip me at basketball. And as I got older I remembered being drawn to try to befriend the other kids who got made fun of for being in remedial classes, getting extra help, and so on.
I spent seven years from junior high until I graduated volunteering in the special education classrooms during my study hall. I also had a cousin who had Down's syndrome that I adored. She was just a bright, funny, happy, and stubborn girl who loved country music and people.
Nobody was surprised when I chose special education as my major in college. However, I quickly realized that although I enjoyed working with people with special needs, I had no desire to teach.
Since that time I have done respite care for families of children with special needs, had a nephew born with cerebral palsy, and am now walking the road of a child with special needs myself.
And as Jason and I find ourselves discussing kiddo number two, whether to pursue another child with NF, adopt domestically, older child or infant again and so on and so on; I have had one thought alone.
When we found out about Abigail and how old her birth parents were I was prepared for a little girl with Down's syndrome. I was almost shocked when the ultrasound didn't show it. We knew she still might have some other issues, but were a little unprepared for how things have unfolded. Don't get me wrong, had we known about the NF before she was born we would have only gone into the situation with more knowledge about NF. Abigail would still be where she is right now.
Since that time though I have learned a lot of new things about Down's children and have been more and more drawn to adopting a child with it.
We are told in Matthew 25:40, "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." And hearing that in America, 90% of pregnancies where the child is found to have down's syndrome end in abortion, tugged on my heart making me feel like this is one of the least of these. Then I read how in other countries children born with down syndrome are put into orphanages. If they aren't adopted by the age of 5 they are then sent to mental institutions where a large percentage of them die in the first few years from neglect. And those that don't will live their lives hidden from the public. Societies, ours included, are throwing these children away. These children are the least of these.
So with each new thing I read and think about my heart feels like it's being drawn more and more to adopting one of these precious little ones. Jason and I have talked about it quite a bit. Much like I did with Abigail, I feel very much like we are "expecting." Don't get to crazy when you read that. We were expecting Abigail for three years. :) We haven't even so much as begun the home study process. We are at the very beginning where we are praying about the child God has for us.
I often wonder if I could handle two children with special needs. More doctors appointments, more therapies, so on and so on. Every time I think this though, I hear, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I know that to be true. With infertility, waiting on a baby, and hearing a diagnoses for Abigail, God's grace and mercy has grown with our need for it. And I know that if we add another child with special needs that His grace will continue to grow.
And as always our God likes to give us little presents, things that help us to know that we are hearing from Him, even if everyone around us might think we are crazy. So I will end with a little story that made my heart flutter and my eyes well up with tears.
On Thursday we had to stop by one of Abigail's doctors offices in Indianapolis on the way out of town. I ran in to pick up what we needed. As I am stepping on the elevator, a father and his daughter step in as well. His daughter has Down's syndrome. I smiled at them and said hello. The little girl (probably around 5) walked over stood next to me and grabbed my hand. She held it the rest of the ride up and as we walked through the hospital she talked to me. Her dad was slightly embarrassed, but I reassured him that it was fine. When I finally had to let go to part directions I could feel God impressing on my heart that He had planned that moment.
We would love if you would all join us in prayer as we await the amazing story that God will weave for our second child,