I am a pediatric Occupational Therapist. I know about special needs. I see the heart ache on parents' faces when their child is not able to keep with his or her peers. I see the struggles a child faces, the pain they endure when their bodies don't work the way God intended. I see marriages broken and siblings affected. But, we trusted that this was the path we were supposed to go down.
The next step was going through our agency's check list of acceptable special needs. I must say that this was one of the most humbling tasks we completed through the adoption process. How can you decide what diagnosis you can handle and what you can't? How can you decide what child is worthy of a family and what isn't? Basically, we filled out what we could but, decided to allow the Lord to guide us to our child.
Well, just 9 days short of a year ago today we were emailed a file from our agency. The file contained the most beautiful face with a diagnosis we had never heard of (and don't remember checking off on that dreaded checklist).
Unilateral Microtia and Atresia
In short, as I have mentioned on here before, Olivia has a smaller right ear and no ear canal on that side. This results in conductive hearing loss. Yes, I was scared, yes, there were questions that we sent to specialists. But, what I didn't realize is that her special need would be a non-issue for us. I didn't realize that her resilient little body knew nothing different and that she would compensate completely for her loss. Yes, we have more doctors appointments and yes she is in speech therapy but, her diagnosis is not her need.
What truly breaks my heart is that we have had to teach our daughter to cry when she has a boo boo and to come to mommy or daddy when she is hungry. Just this week she was terribly sick. So sick she ended up dehydrated and in the emergency room. Poor girl was running around the cul de sac with friends when she happened to open her mouth wide enough that I saw sores. I brought her inside to find she had almost a 104 degree fever. But, no one has ever cared! No one was there to comfort her, rock her and tend to her when she didn't feel well. So this week, I taught my almost 2 year old what it means to have a mommy to hold you when you are sick.
First meal in 6 days and the one that got her sprung from the ER.
Neglect and a broken heart. That is our daughter's special need. That is the special need of all orphans. Every child deserves a family. Every child deserves a mommy to hold her when she is sick, to kiss her boo boos and hug her when she is sad. No child should have to be taught these basic survival skills. I am completely humbled and blessed that God called me to be her mommy and the one who has the honor of caring for all of her very special needs.
"God Sets the Lonely in Families" -Psalm 68:6