And that little girl saw something that changed her life. It was a story about orphanages in Russia and it was heartbreaking. Never in her 12 years had she ever seen anything so sad. So heartbreakingly horrible. So wrong. After spending the hour sobbing and using up a box of tissues, she begged and pleaded with her mother to please, please, PLEASE can we adopt a baby from Russia?!? But her mother simply said, "That's not my thing." And the little girl was crushed, because she knew it was her thing. And she vowed, that one day, she would adopt...
27 years later that dream is coming true!
The thing about that particular show that really got to me was the children with disabilities. They put them in cribs and simply walked away. These children would rock and cry and no one would ever come. No one came to wipe their tears, change their diaper, feed them when they were hungry, rock them to sleep. No one loved them. But I did.
Our son is more "disabled" than our girls...he struggles more, has more "issues". (I really hate calling him disabled....he's just differently abled. Diff-abled? Maybe? I'll keep working on that! He rocks it, whatever you call it!) You wouldn't believe it if you saw him now, but years ago he was very, severely autistic. He had no speech, stimmed constantly, screamed, grunted, hit, bit, spit, rocked, hand flapped...it was really bad. But through a TON of work on his part and therapy and specialists and doctors, he has turned into who he is supposed to be and not for one moment would I change any of that struggle. It has made us who we are as a family. It has made our girls empathetic to a fault and made them not see what the rest of the world sees, but what is on the inside. It has made my husband an awesome father. It has made me a patient mother. The thought that in another country, or even another time in our country, he would have been locked away in an institution... it makes me sick. He would have never had the chance to grow and bloom and turn in to this awesome little man that EVERYONE loves! These precious children are considered animals in some countries. Children like MY children. Break my heart for what breaks yours...well, God...I'm broken.
I have always been one to root for the underdog. I have always had a heart for the unwanted, the unlovable, the broken, and of course any stray dog or cat in a 40 mile radius.(NOTE: I am NOT comparing children or adults with special needs to unwanted, broken underdogs...I have 4 children with special needs. Don't go there, cause you won't win!). Growing up in a rural farming community, children with special needs were kept apart from the "normal" children. We had a group of special needs children that were bused into our school and the only time that we would "interact" with them would be during lunch. They sat separately from us at a table that only they were allowed to sit at. I remember stealing glances (and getting cuffed in the head for staring) at them...I was so drawn to them. I always hated that there was only a handful of them and they were always alone. I hate that I never asked them their names. I hate that we weren't allowed to get to know them. As the years went by I would find myself drawn to children and adults with special needs. Especially those with Down Syndrome. And let me tell you, people think you are a creep if you are staring at their kid. Trust me. I think the same thing when people stare at my kids (but that is usually because one of them is having a HUGE meltdown because they didn't have the Lego he so desperately needed because then his life would be complete...but hey...not naming any names...he knows who he is!). I really wasn't trying to be hateful. I wasn't gawking or trying to make anyone uncomfortable. I wasn't staring because of their difference, I was staring because I wanted to know them.
I have a huge group of friends that I love dearly. I met them while volunteering with an organization called Best Buddies (Look it up and then start helping! NOW! Best. Organization. EVER.). Most of these mom's have children with DS. They are awesome women and I love how they have taken me in and made me one of them. I know that when our little one makes it home, I can call on any one of them, at any time, with questions. The fact that I have stumbled upon this community of women and already have this awesome built-in support system for our child with DS, has got to be a God thing.
Our family was meant to adopt a child. We plan to adopt a child with Down Syndrome. I've known it since I was a little girl and watched that horrible piece on 20/20. I don't know if our child is coming domestically or internationally. I don't know if our child is an infant or a 3 year old. What I do know is that my life has been completely blessed by having my own children with special needs. I know this life isn't all sunshine and rainbows and