Our Joy

A girl and her scarf.
I used to be so afraid of having a child with special needs. Every pregnancy I would feel like I was holding my breath while they ran the initial tests and couldn't release it until I was told everything was fine. I admired other mamas who were traveling that road, but truly believed it was beyond what I was capable of.

Then a beautiful face on my computer screen changed my whole world. I learned about an agency called, "Second Chance Adoptions." They specialize in disrupted adoptions. A disrupted adoption is when a family who has legally adopted a child decides they are no longer able to be the child's forever family. Second Chance helps these children find new families and become legally adopted again.

At first as an adopted child myself I had a hard time wrapping my head around this concept. Adoption is forever. How does a family change their mind? What I have concluded is I think people are genuinely unprepared for some of the children they bring into their homes. They don't know what to do and find themselves looking for a way out. I have had some long days with my children which left me feeling very overwhelmed. Those days have given me compassion for people who felt they had no other option.

To be honest, I didn't think we would be chosen. Our family already had nine kids and the adoption process can be long and complicated. Many times I thought a door would be slammed in our face, but one by one they kept opening. On a summer day in 2016 we met our little girl for the first time, and the next day she came home to be part of our family.

Life definitely has not been the same. She is our sweetness and our joy. She is loved greatly by her siblings. She loves to sing, color, dance, give hugs, swing, and snuggle with blankets. It is such an incredible experience to watch her learn and grow. Being her mama is also incredibly challenging.

Parenting her has thrown me into a new world. I navigate IEP meetings, DD services, psychotropic medications, and therapies. I have felt the stares of people during public meltdowns, cried when all of my kids were able to participate in fun family activities except for her, and accepted the fact she will never be able to live on her own. At times this has left me feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and trapped.

In spite of those feelings, I would make the same choice again. I would still choose to stop scrolling when I saw her picture. I would still spend the countless hours filling out massive amounts of paperwork to complete the adoption process. I would still take the leap of faith on a child I had never met. She is a beautiful creation made by God, and her life is valuable. It is my privilege to be her mama.