Raising a child with special needs
February 19, 2013

While sitting in my office, taking in the day and all that means, I heard something beautiful through the monitor from my youngest daughter’s room.


I heard the voice of love.

Allison needs a great deal of care throughout the day. In order to avoid burnout, she has been appointed an “In Home Support” worker. Ours is set up to come in twice a day. In the morning, she arrives early, changes her diapers (sometimes sheets), sets up her feeding pump, cleans her and gets her ready for school. This includes brushing her hair and teeth, which at times is a bit like combat with flailing legs or arms to dodge.

Most of all, it makes me grateful for the unconventional way that God built our family.

In the afternoon, our support workers get her off the bus, set up her pump for afternoon feedings, wash laundry and tidy the work station. They usually put on a movie for her while she eats. Sometimes, they fit a bath in and get her ready for bed.

The attendant that day was her big sister, our eldest daughter, Ray, who went off, got married and doesn’t live here anymore. She comes everyday and loves on her. I often listen in on their conversations. To the casual observer, they seem one-sided, but Ray understands her sister. Like what I hear about many sisters, they understand each other in ways that others won’t.

The happy “How was your day?” and “Oh my goodness, what are you doing with that on?” followed by giggles and squeals, fills me heart and brings me joy.

Most of all, it makes me grateful for the unconventional way that God built our family. He took years of infertility, hospital stays, broken adoptions, typical parenting heartaches and has given us beauty in His own miraculous way. He has used every twist and turn to mold, shape and show us how much He adores us.

We didn’t set out to adopt a child with special needs. We wanted a full house, a sibling for our daughter and another child to cherish. With the arrival of Allison, we received all that and more.

Besides endurance, patience and a long list of medical terms I never knew existed, I’ve gained perspective. I’m able to see what is really important. Situations that once tried my patience don’t affect me the way they once did.

We joke that Allison is a blessing in disguise. The thing is, anyone who knows her will tell you, she doesn’t disguise it very well.

(Authors Note: In the middle of writing this, I heard a voice call up the stairs: “Mom, take a break. We want to show you something.” It was Ray. She had pulled up YouTube on the television and they were watching one of our favorite shows, World of Color from Disneyland. Ray had promised her sister she could watch it when she was done with her after school feeding. Perspective told me what I was doing could wait. Perspective was right.)

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