*Editors Note- This is a guest post by Jessica Graham. She is a mother of three kids, all of whom have been adopted and two of whom have significant special needs. Her book Beautiful Paradox: Musings, Marvelings and Strategies of a Special Needs Parent
is available on Amazon
and is free September 15-16, 2016.
As foster and adoptive parents, many of us are also parenting children with major special needs. Many of us are constantly looking back, before we began this journey, wishing someone would’ve told us what to expect.
Being a parent to a child with medical or developmental needs is as much like being a parent to a typically developing child as it is different. Parenting is hard no matter who your kid is – and no matter who you are. Also, no matter how much you prepare, experience will be your greatest teacher. But often for those of us who became special needs parents through adoption or foster care, there is an underlying frustrating – why didn’t someone tell me how it really is!
If we had a dollar for every time someone said, “Well, he doesn’t look like he has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder,” we’d be millionaires. The truth is, our child’s disorder makes it hard to see the forest for the trees.
I remember the first time my son stepped up to the plate the first year he played baseball. He held his bat like a pro. He not only looked like a miniature major league player, he acted and performed like one. With one swing, he sent a fastball up the middle of the diamond, straight into center field. When the center fielder bobbled the ball, my son had the wits about him to chug ahead, safely into second base. The crowd of parents, including us, went wild. One father turned to me and said, “You got yourself one heck of a ball player there!”
Parenting children with special needs is a mixture of joy and exhaustion. We are in this trench. In today’s episode we, along with our co-host Nicole Goerges, interview popular blogger and speaker Ellen Stumbo on how to fight this sometimes lonely and exhausting battle.
We consider parenting children with special needs an amazing gift. Over the years we’ve had so many moments of sheer joy and excitement. Not a day goes by where we don’t give thanks for our amazing, creative, and precious children. But, there have also been many moments of exhaustion, weariness and defeat. Let’s face it, parenting children with special needs is hard! How can you fight this sometimes lonely battle? In today’s podcast, we answer this question, and discuss some practical steps every person currently in this trench, can take to find renewal and strength.