Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Grief and Joy

In case you don't know, I'm a convert to adoption of children with special needs, especially those that come from areas that do not value them as human beings. My new favorite site is Reece's Rainbow, and adoption ministry that advocates for children with special needs from other countries, and specifically advocates for children with Down syndrome.

I have read on many, many blogs and web sites that parents of children with Down syndrome end up adopting more kids with Ds. "Why?" you may ask? Well, all I can do is repeat a quote from one site "I didn't know I wanted a child with Down syndrome, until I had one". Unless you've been there, it's very hard to explain the absolute, committed, uninhibited, soul-touching love you both receive and give when you have a child with Down syndrome. Your appreciation of life expands a million-fold. I find as a would-be writer that I am speechless in the face of this amazing phenomenon.

I love reading the descriptions and stories of redemption and inspiration on Reece's Rainbow, and recently fell in love with a little girl whose screen name is Albina. I have heard adoptive parents describe how they just instantly KNEW when they saw THEIR child. I never understood this. I think that all the children are darling, and loved to read their stories, and say prayers for their rescue or release every night.... but then I saw Albina, and my heart was lost. Now I get it.

Although I would take any steps to rescue this angel, in reality it must be a partnership of parents that commit to a child. So, I prayed and prayed and wished and hoped for Albina to be spared the fate of a mental institution when she turns 5 and ages out of her country's "Baby House" care. My prayers were answered, and I can do nothing but REJOICE for this little girl, who will have a family and love and a chance to LIVE.

Now, the flip side. I grieve that I will never meet her, never be able to hold her in my arms and whisper in her ear to let her know just how loved she is. How can I feel such grief amidst such joy that she will be saved? It makes no sense, but there it is. I can't change it. It's just the way I feel.

So, I go on with every day tasks, but in my heart I miss Albina.

My kids inspire me every day to get up, get moving, and learn. They bug me and tease me into doing things I may not want to do. They chatter and bicker until I just want to plug my ears and throw my hands in the air with a plaintive "why me!?". Then they make an observation or ask a question that just makes my heart sing, and I really don't care about daily frustrations and aggravations and trials. It's ok, because I have the very great privilege of having them here with me, where I can make sure they know they are loved and wanted.

That being said, I'm putting over 60 miles a day on my van this week, just to get them to their activities and camps. Even when I'm grumpy or yell at them, they'll tell me "that's ok, Mom. You're just having a bad day". You can't get much better than that. Their understanding and insight sometimes astounds me.

However, if I have to ask those boys to clean their room one more time so I can actually get in there to put clean clothes away, I may just show them how much I love them by taking away their computer time (which to them is a fate worse than death)! Just trying to keep a perspective.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

With a Grateful Heart

Another holiday weekend... the newspaper ads, the fight to get into the grocery store's shortest line, the decorations and picnic plans, the food. We plan for all of these things without a thought in our head but how quickly we can get them done, and how we can maximize our play time.

I'd like to take a moment to stop and say a heart-felt thank you to all of the men and women, past and present, that have made my selfish life possible. In the past, this allowed my ancestors the right to feed their own families, to make their own homes, to practice their own religion, to stand up and be heard. In the present, with a few modern twists, it means the same.

Since I'm on the subject of thanks, I would like to thank my husband and kids for always being there for me, and for supporting me. Everyone needs someone to care; at least 1 person in this world that you can count on to accept you. So, I "give thanks with a grateful heart" that I have the freedom and the luxury to have that. As I am enjoying the good food, fun, and frivolous decorations, I won't forget to say "thank you" in my heart.