Friday, February 20, 2009

"Why special needs?"

"Why special needs?" This was a question we were asked a lot during the process of adopting our boys, Joshua and Evan, from Uzbekistan and Ukraine. The truth is, we did not set out to adopt a child with special needs (much like a parent does not "set out" to conceive a child with special needs). Like most adoptive parents, we were hoping to adopt a healthy child (specifically a girl) as young as possible. So it only makes sense that we would come home with two little boys (one of whom was already 3.5 years old) with special needs! (If you'd like the whole story, you can find it here.)

Honestly, the fact that these two incredible little boys are a part of our family is evidence to me that God knows each of us individually and He knows exactly what we need. Our boys needed the opportunity to grow up in a loving family and to receive the medical intervention that would make it possible for them to reach their full potentials in life. More importantly, however, is the fact that our Heavenly Father knew how much WE needed THEM.

The more time I spend with my boys (and other people just like them), the more I am convinced that WE are the ones with special needs. You see, those of us who are "able bodied" or "typical" believe that there is a "normal" way of doing things. We all walk, talk and think "normally" and when we can't do things within the "normal" realm, we often give up. We limit ourselves because we have never had to learn to think outside of the box. Individuals with special needs do not place these limitations upon themselves. Often, they are forced to think outside of the box, therefore giving them limitless potential.

This is evidenced in the way that my son Joshua flies around the house at lightening speeds, using his arms. Or the way that my son Evan turns the pages of a book, paints, colors and plays with matchbox cars with his mouth. If my boys want to do something, they WILL do it. They will do it differently than you and I might, but they WILL do it. And in the process, they have taught me that there is nothing that I cannot do. They have taught me to think outside of the box. They have taught me that, I too, have limitless potential.

These amazing little boys are two of the most precious gifts that God has ever given me. They have blessed by life so completely that there are not words to adequately express my gratitude. Joshua and Evan are living sunshine and they brighten every corner of my life and bring joy to everyone who has the privilege of knowing them. And they remind me every day that there is nothing that I cannot do!


Heather said...

Val, you guys are awesome.... truly! Those children are beyond blessed to call you "Mommy" and Richard "Daddy." What an amazing journey you are all on! Thanks for being such an awesome example of what God wants us to be!

Jarred, Angela, and Nathan said...

Thank you so much for this beautiful, honest post (and blog). I came across it while searching for people with bilateral PFFD...really hard to find, but there are a few.

My husband and I are in the middle of a similar journey... I always knew I wanted to adopt, and a few years ago we made the decision to begin the process so our biological son could have a little sister. We are very close to making a decision on a little girl in Armenia (where we've been living since 2008, working as teachers at an international school). Although we originally said we wanted a healthy child, we are falling in love with a little girl with bilateral PFFD.

I won't post all the details here (if you want, you can read them and see pictures here but I just want to say thanks for the inspiration and good luck to all of you!