Saturday, August 17, 2013

Special Needs and the Emotional Impact

For the last three years I had pretty much convinced myself that adopting a child with special needs was completely different than giving birth to one. And for the most part, I think I am right. When I choose a child with special needs I know what I am facing. I'm prepared. Prepared for the worst even. When I gave birth to my two oldest, I dreamed about having a perfect little one with ten fingers and ten toes. I imagine that my world would have been shaken a bit if they would have had severe vision issues or limbs that didn't work. However, I barely bat an eye adopting legally blind children and a child with one arm that doesn't work. I was prepared.

My friends and I toss around a phrase about the special needs are children have. It goes something like "____ is overrated." You could fill in the blank. Having two arms is overrated. Having perfect vision is overrated. It's not meant to make light of their disabilities, but to recognize that those disabilities do not define them. They can accomplish whatever they set their minds to. God will use them for His glory. They are defined by the fact that they are a child of God.

Then along comes Kaelyn.  Our sweet, sweet girl.

I was not prepared.

I was not prepared for the six year old that acted two. I was not prepared for the battle of getting help. I was not prepared for the emotional impact of dealing with a child with developmental delays. There are many times when I find myself holding back tears when talking to a medical professional. This is hard stuff. I have no idea what her future holds. While who she is is defined by being a child of God, her delays will greatly impact her life. I feel a huge weight to teach her and help her reach her fullest potential.

My head knows that God will provide and that He will carry us through this. I know that His plan is greater than any I could dream of. But, my heart hasn't caught up yet. I'm grieving what should be. I'm still letting go of my dream of a little six year old girl that can keep up with others her age.

This is where I realize that it's the unknown special needs that create such an emotional impact. The unknown is scary. It's hard to let go of what you thought your child would be like.

I don't have a lot of answers right now. Someday I will be able to write an update to this post giving Him glory for all He has done in Kaelyn's life. I praise the Lord every day for bringing her into our lives. I'm just still processing the impact that her needs have made on our lives.

A wonderful, wise friend of mine wrote this to me:

Kaelyn is fearfully and wonderfully made by a loving Creator Who has specific things for her to do in the Kingdom. I know it's hard for you! I'm not making light of that, but I have been convicted and learning lately about how the Body works best when all members are utilized, including those whose broken-ness is more obvious than the rest of us. I am looking forward to hearing about Kaelyn's part in the Body!

This has been such an encouragement to me and I am working on trusting Him who loves Kaelyn more than I ever could.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Liz, after reading this blog I totally related to it. I too have a son who is 3 and globally delayed. Every day is a challenge, I try and stay strong in the word to keep me going. ...your words really touched my heart as sometimes it can feel very lonley. Bless you.