Looking back I can see some of the ways God was preparing me for having a special needs kid. The last few years of trying to decide how to grow our family have been filled with twists and turns, false starts and big surprises. Now I see that was all part of the journey to where we are now.
I don’t know that I would have faced some of my fears around special kids had I not researched bonding and attachment disorders in adoptive kids. Our adoption journey was an on again, off again one. All of the books that I read to prepare my heart did just that, only for the child I wasn’t expecting would grow inside me.
I would not have been nearly as adept in the NICU had I not been there three and a half years prior with M. To say I had trauma from M’s birth is an understatement. I would fall asleep some nights and wake up to the beep, beep, beep of monitors in my head long after we brought him home. We almost lost him in a different way, but it was all part of strengthening my hospital copping muscles.
I felt a strong desire to have a cause. This one is hard to explain. The only way I can think to is to say I was very dissatisfied with the normal life of a stay-at-home mom. The cooking and crafts didn’t cut it for me. I tried. Because I have seen so many women who I admire who are in their sweet spot in life right now being at home with young kids. I knew I wasn’t supposed to work. But I constantly felt this nagging sense there was something else I was supposed to be doing. Well hello! That something else was actually someone else. It’s almost like he came barreling into our lives with his very own personal file cabinet and stack of books to read. He hadn’t even been discharged from the NICU before we had acquired a whole basket full of folders and a binder super thick with all his papers. Now I’m reading books that would have never interested me before. I can’t get enough of other people’s stories and learning the theology of disability. Dare I say I’m even becoming passionate about it?
Some might even say that my personality prepared me for little N. (Please don’t think I’m saying that is the cause for this child.) But let’s face it, I was born prepared. I’m my father’s daughter. I have a strategy and a plan and a way to stay organized and responsible in case of any scenario…except this one.
So prepared, responsible, strategic little me is going to take a nice, long break. It’s going to be hard. Having fun is a discipline for me in ways that cleaning out the closet is for others. I’m going to the beach with my boys. All three of them for a little while. Then my husband is going to come home and faithfully work leaving us in the care of my parents.
I’m both excited and terrified. Thrilled to have the time away from the doctors and therapists but fearful that we’ll find ourselves learning the ropes at MUSC Children’s Hospital in Charleston.
Everything is packed in the car or put away at home. I’m leaving the papers behind. (Except for a folder two inches thick that has every single one of N’s medical records on the off chance he does get admitted. Y’all can pray against that if you’d like!)
We’re going to take little N out of the state for the very first time.
So I’m prepared.
But are we ever really prepared?
It’s even more crammed in there than it looks. Departure time: 4:45 am.
First stop at daybreak: Buckys!
Little N finally gave in to sleep at 10:45 am.
“I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” Isaiah 45:3
My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!
Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!