A Look Back

It was September 21, I wished he could come over to our house on that special day; but the transfer date was not scheduled for a few more weeks - October 6th to be exact.    I knew the significance of the day; and wished so much he could be with us; but it was not possible. So I wished him Happy Birthday in my heart; and wondered if God would let us be able to wish him Happy Birthday in person on the next September 21st.

I wondered what the day was like the year before.  The day he was born.  I wondered how big he was, what time he entered the world, where he entered the world.  Some questions in life are asked but never answered.  These questions will forever stay in that category.

I wondered where I was the day he entered the world.  What was I doing on that day.  Miles and miles away from him - in geography and in heart; but I was living and doing and breathing - somewhere the moment he was born.  I did not even know that my son had come into this world that day; but God did.  I did not know that I would be his Mom and he would be mine -  on the day he was born; but God did.  I wonder if on that day God planted a seed within my heart that prompted me to start thinking that our family was not complete.  Could it be on that day  my heart (already wishing someday in the future to adopt) felt like something or someone was missing from our family?  God can do that, you know.

I do not know where I was or what I was doing the day he was born - I only know that I was.   I do remember the day we realized that God was leading us to start the adoption process.  To fill out the paperwork and start down the path that would bring other children to be in our home and in our family.  I remember filling out the questions and answering the best we knew how.  Rob and I.  Sitting at the dining room table, the children  in bed and the house quiet.  We had the stack of paperwork done - all but one paper.  The paper contained a list; and the list was daunting to say the least.  Any ailment, abuse or disability known to childhood was on this list.  The instructions were simple:  "Place next to issues you would be willing to work with". While the instructions were simple the decisions were not.  We had saved the paper to be the last one we would fill out.  We talked and discussed each issue and then made our mark or refrained from marking and moved on to the next item on the list.    It went something like this:

Sibling group - "Sure we could take more than one..."  (Check)

Hearing Impaired - "No don't mark that box.  We would not know how to parent a child with a hearing loss.  We don't even know sign language..." 

Food Allergies - "Sure, we could do that.  My sister had food allergies..."  (Check)  

Developmentally Delayed:  "No, don't mark that box.  We don't have the special training to handle that..."

Autism:  "Absolutely not... we are not cut out for that...."

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome:  "Under no circumstances would we take that!"


Question after question we came to and we answered it - with the best intentions. Most of the boxes were left unchecked.    We knew what type of parents adopt children like that.  Super parents.  Parents who never get mad, never get frustrated and have the ability to handle kids with those issues.  We also knew us - and we were not those types of people.  We 'knew' the parents we were and we were sure we knew that type of kids that we could adopt and parent - and so we did our best to fill out the form.

I can not even begin to tell you how many times I have thought back to that moment in time.  It is etched in my mind's eye.  That memory will forever be locked into my mind; because it is the memory that I have that has made me realize that while we were sure what we could handle God knew what he would equip us to do.  We were right (and not wrong in our assessment) that we could not handle those issues at that moment; but God is able to do more than we could ever ask or think!

I remember the day we picked him up and brought him home.  (We had to take a detour to the doctor's office because he was too sick to come straight home.)  I remember the sleepless nights as he cried ALL NIGHT LONG.  I remember the rest of the family camping out downstairs so they could get some sleep while I tried to quiet him through the night.  I remember the seizure type episodes he would have while he was eating and the tests upon tests he would have.  I remember the many surgeries he has had - 14 so far.  I remember the tears (his and mine) as I changed countless diapers and tried my best to soothe his pain from all the skin being gone on his bottom because of allergies and neglect.  I remember teaching him how to eat; and listening to his screams as he was so afraid that we were not going to feed him.  (Seems he thought our home would be like his other house had been.)  I remember when we received the autism diagnosis and I wanted to believe with all my heart that the doctor was wrong.  I remember when I finally realized the doctor was right.

It has been 10 years ago this October since we started down this path.  It has been a hard path!  I think I am safe to say that there have been no 'easy' days since we started down the path.  I am certain that God was watching the day we filled out our form.  He was listening as we discussed each issue and I know He was smiling as He listened.  I can almost imagine that this is how it went that day from God's point of view:

(Hearing Impaired - "No don't mark that box.  We would not know how to parent a child with a hearing loss.  We don't even know sign language...")  God:  Children with hearing loss are the same as hearing children; and sign language is easily learned if grace is given.  You do not see yet; but you will see that there is a whole world out there of children who do not hear correctly but who I love and want them to know I love them!  You will see.


(Developmentally Delayed:  "No, don't mark that box.  We don't have the special training to handle that...")  God:  How little you know yet of my grace.  I will enable you for the task of having a child who is developmentally delayed.  You will also learn that children who are delayed see life through a view point that is so pure, so innocent and have a perception that you have forgotten.  These children allow adults to be reminded of the important things in life.  You will see.

(Autism:  "Absolutely not... we are not cut out for that....")  God:  So many families are facing this diagnosis with no hope.  I will show you that even in autism there is hope; because my grace is there.  You will see that autism is not a mistake - even in autism I can be glorified.  You will see.

(Fetal Alcohol Syndrome:  "Under no circumstances would we take that!")  God:  Ahh, the dreaded.  The diagnosis that causes so many to say there is no hope.  So many Christians, my children, think that this is the one place where grace can not reach.  My grace is there even in FAS.  You will see how faith grows here.  Parents learn of Me when they are confronted with FAS.  You will see.

On the day we brought Zak home my faith in God started to grow.  I started to understand God in ways I never thought possible.  I have seen so much - but most of all Zak has taught me that Grace is always there.  God's grace reaches farther than I ever understood.  His enablement is more than I will ever need; and I am learning to trust and to walk in faith because of this little boy.  I do not know what God has planned for him; but I know He has a plan for his life.  His life has touched mine deeply and because of Zak I have my faith has grown.  Having a child with special needs has made me have to confront selfishness, and pride in my own life; and I am reminded by Gary Thomas:

"Any situation that calls me to confront my selfishness has enormous spiritual value..."*

I cannot imagine our lives without Zak in our family.  What a blessing he has been!

Happy Birthday, Zak!  I love you with all my heart!

I trust you are able to look back in your life and see God's working out the details even when you did not know He was. What a comfort to know that our lives are in His hands.   Thanks so much for stopping by.  I am so glad you did!



Rachael @ Empowering Mommy said...

Thank you for sharing your memories and what the Lord taught you. What a blessing it was to me. It gave me much to ponder and think on. I love you, Martie.

Rachel said...

Dear Mom,
You made me cry! But in a good way! <3 you, Zak! Happy Birthday! :)

Anonymous said...

Your blog is a blessing to me! I read a quote once that said, "you can't change the world, but you can change the world for one person.". Zaks world changed because of you and your husbands step of faith. Thanks for that example.
Tracy Bagin