Oct 17, 2010

The Other Side of the Line

Apparently some of my posts about "Normal" have struck a chord with some and a nerve with others.  I guess that's been my goal.  To TALK about this taboo subject.  Feel free to join in with your own thoughts - on either side of this discussion.

Here's another angle.

Probably most people on the planet have a process something like this:  Pregnant.  Anxious to see if everything is OK with the baby.  Baby is born.  Count the fingers, count the toes, check him/her out thoroughly.  When Doctor gives the "thumbs up", everyone breathes a sigh of relief.  And in the vast majority of births, it goes just like that.  A perfect baby is made.  (Which on a side note, I'm pretty impressed with the Maker/Creator who can do that perfectly over and over and over again BILLIONS of times!)

These parents probably spend most of their life blissfully unaware of what it would be like to have a child with any kind of "disability."  They may have a few brushes with the concern of illness or injury.  But most kids grow up and go on to live just fine.

When that doesn't happen, a family is drug into the world of special needs, quite unintentionally.  And I think most would give anything to have avoided it.  The daughter diagnosed with cancer.  The son in a car wreck and now in a wheelchair.  The child newly diagnosed with autism.  

Or when that doctor doesn't give the "thumbs up" when the baby is born.  A family is drug into this world. I talk to families all the time who are in a state of grief/loss when their child was born with some kind of disability.  I talk to families of kids who are cleft affected and they look like they were kicked in the gut.  They feel guilty.  They ask "why me?"  Eventually most go through the stages of grief and loss and come to a place of acceptance and realize this is an amazing child, their child.  They pick themselves up, dust themselves off and get on being busy with life.  And their new reality.

There is this invisible line between "Normal" and "Not" ... and most parents are drug kicking and screaming across that line.  Many live with that fear of "what if something bad happened?"  It's the worst thing most people can imagine.  They think their world will suddenly STOP if they were across that line.

And if you're a person who is on the "normal" side of the line, rejoice in that too.  It's fine to be thankful that your kids don't do chemo or multiple surgeries in a year of have to be tube fed or ride in a wheelchair.  

But the reality of a family who purposefully adopts a child with special needs is quite different.  We STARTED OUT across that line!  And we realize that there is a wonderful, amazing life on the other side of that line.

Would I wish my kids to have special needs?  No, of course not.  But they are.  And we're not just "making the best of it" like I hear all the time.  We're loving life.  And I love talking to families on this side of the line.  We have an instant bond, an instant understanding of each other it seems.

Eventually we wonder what people are so scared of.  Because life is pretty good on this side of the line too.  In fact *I* would say it's even better, more rewarding!  We have learned how fragile and precious life is.


  1. Oh Beth, I so understand and agree. I wasn't always brave enough to jump into the deep end, but there are blessings abounding in this life (adopting special needs children at an older age) that I have never experienced before.

    I'll take the risks, I'll take the hard times, and YES, I signed up for this. All of it, and I'm so glad I did.

    The biggest thing I learned is that we are all just one instant away from crossing that line. If we live long enough, we will probably experience it.

    Like you said, we are not "making the best of a bad situation", we are absolutely, ehead over heels in love with our life. And we are 100% sure we are doing what we are meant to do. That's more than enough for me.

  2. Amen!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for putting words to what has been rumbling around in my head for awhile now. I feel like the Lord gave us such an amazing gift when He gave us Georgia (who has a heart condition, from China). We are reminded all the time not only of how precious each day is but of how absolutely amazing eternity will be too. It has changed my whole heart and outlook on life...