Friday, July 20, 2012

what we signed up for.

jason and i have been talking a little over the last week about how crazy it is that we have two children with special needs.  i've been getting sainted a lot lately, 'you're so amazing' 'i don't know how you do it' 'it takes someone special' and on and on.  but really, i promise, we aren't special.  almost everyone with children would do all that they can to take care of them and give them what is best. shilo, and abigail, are our daughters.  they are not our adopted daughters, charity cases, or kids we are taking care of.
but let's back up to clear some stuff up.  when we adopted abigail, we were ambiguously 'open to children with special needs.'  nobody asked us what that meant, but if we were honest, it meant developmental delays, struggling in school, and everything else being fine. of all that abigail has had, and does have going on, asthma, and developmental delays are the only thing i can think of that would have made my list of 'things we can handle.'
when we signed up with the national down syndrome adoption network, before shilo, jason and i didn't think we wanted to do heart defects.  so we were 'open to anything' but had actually discussed the fact that we thought that might be too much.  when we got the initial 'potential birth mom' call about shilo, we were told some sort of heart defect, would't need to be repaired until later.  we talked and decided we could likely do this.  it wasn't until we were driving to meet shilo that the hospital cardiology social worker called and told us about the two defects, the immediate surgery, and the surgery later.  and while we could have still changed our minds, there is something that happens when your child is born, even if you aren't the one who gives birth.  she was our daughter, despite the fact we hadn't met her.  there was just no way we could say no.
and then if you do a little fast forward through the last eight months, the list of her 'medical' issues grows quite exponentially.
once again, we do not in any way regret either of our children.  we think they are amazing and wonderful.  but if we are honest, the things that have been handed us with both of them were not the things we thought we were getting into.  this is not a bitter statement.  it is to help people understand, we are not saints.  we are selfish people who would have picked an easier road if given the choices.  the harder things in our lives are , 'not what we signed up for,' in one sense.
what we did sign up for, was to be abigail's and shilo's parents.  and with that came a whole list of things nobody knew about.  and i think, most parents of children with special needs will tell you, that when that is what is handed to you, you have few choices.  and the one that most parents make is to jump in, head first, and do whatever you have to for your children.  this is the choice we have made.
and sometimes, when i'm holding shilo, and thinking about all the things she has going on in her little body, she smiles at me, like this, with her almond shaped eyes crinkled, and her whole body wiggling along,
all i can see is perfection.  beautiful, amazing, wonderful, perfection.
and abigail, when she dances around, with her awesome big hair, just like this, doesn't seem like a medical

case.  she doesn't even show signs of all the crazy things going on in her little body.  she is a perfect three year old, who loves music, dancing, and superheroes: the way all three year olds should.
so no, we are not saintly.  we are not amazing.  we are parents, taking care of our daughters, and doing our best to assure they get everything they need to grow, thrive, and feel loved.  because that's what most parents try to do. 



  1. Great post! Your girls are gorgeous! I like it when you say you're not special, you're just taking care of your daughters. I feel the same way.

  2. You know I'm lovin' that hair ;)

    I'm glad to see that things are settling down there so that you can blog more. And you don't want to know how excited I was to see a comment from The Three Wise Menn in my inbox.