I had poured through a "billion" special needs kids faces, all of them drawing an “ooohh” or an “awwww”….but then I saw his face….and I gasped. (It seems that whenever I gasp I know God is up to something big.) Really.
I remember staring at him and studying the expression on his sweet little face, trying to see into his eyes….and realizing that they were pleading with me, all the way from across the ocean….whispering…...“Could you overlook my handicaps and just love me?” I started to sob. He no longer was just one of a million faces, he was begging me. I know he was. He needed me. And I needed him just as much!
That was June 2006. I was 47 years old. My husband was 51. We had six children (3 adopted – one of whom is also special needs). This little guy had Arthrogryposis. We didn’t know anyone who had Arthrogryposis. We had never even heard of it! Yet, when we looked at his picture all we knew was that his only true special need was he needed a mommy and daddy and lots of brothers and sisters.
We overnighted the paperwork and so began the journey to bring our Isaiah Samuel home. We had no clue, but due to some serious complications, it would take 14 looooong months (Aug. 07) to finally have Isaiah safely in our arms. (Isaiah's story is told here.)
Now having Isaiah home, we understand, first hand, a lot more about Arthrogryposis. And to us, Isaiah is a true-life hero. He maneuvers about, compensating for his handicap but never once complaining.
Remarkably, since bringing Isaiah home I have become close friends with another mom who also adopted a son (the same age as Isaiah) with Arthrogryposis. This mom and I were commenting the other day, “Isn’t it funny? We personally know so many families who birthed healthy kids, yet these “healthy” kids are the whiniest, most complaining kids, seldom happy, often miserable and even downright ornery? But here are our sons, struggling with their hands and legs to just hold simple items or tediously trying to walk and they are constantly smiling, giggling, never complaining? What is up with that?”
Could it be that the struggles are making better people out of our little ones? Could it be that Arthrogryposis is making all of our family more tender? More compassionate to the needs of those around us? More aware of the struggles that others have? I’d like to think so. Our kids, even those younger than Isaiah, are constantly watching out for their precious brother. His siblings all love him to pieces. He is the kid with the ready smile. He is a total snugglebug too!! We could not bear to think of life without our Isaiah. He is a precious treasure, his worth far greater than all the gems in the world! We wouldn't trade him for any birth son or son we could have without Arthrogryposis!!!
Since Isaiah came home we have brought two toddlers (Elijah and Elizabeth) home from Uganda (December 08). One was known to have a very serious special need, although there is no sign of it since coming home.
We are currently waiting for our Travel Assignment for another little one with Special Needs. We have named her Jubilee Promise. She has cleft lip/cleft palate, deformed ears, Estropia and a few other very complicated things. But, again, the only real need we see is that she needs a forever family. She has waited far too long for us and we cannot wait to have her in our arms.
In a couple of weeks I will turn 51 (ugh) and my hubby is 54. Our peers are empty-nesters yet we are loving having a home filled with (at the moment) a 2, 3, 5, 10, 14, and 16 year old and soon Jubilee who is almost 8. Our cup overflows with joy! Our hearts thank Almighty God for giving us the privilege of having a boatload of kids who not only needed us – but we desperately needed them!
Do you think you're too old? (Join our "Should Be Empty-Nesters But Would Rather Bring Home Kids Who Need Forever Families Club") Does Special Needs sound scary? (Ask those who have been there/done that!)
My husband, Dw, and I are convinced that life just couldn't get any sweeter with our sweet little bunch - we think it's so sweet we're going to keep doing it until someone says, "You're too old, go home!"