“What’s fair {for the brother or sister of a child with special needs}”

“Tell your mom I need to talk to her before you leave.”

Please tell me I’m not the only mom who receives that message from her child and sinks a little. Come on. I figure either (a) someone wants me to do something (which I likely won’t want to do) or (b) my kid did something (that I likely don’t want to hear).

I shouldn’t overthink everything.

It wasn’t a or b. He told me this:

“I joined the kids at recess today to play kickball and was so in awe of your daughter. One of our autistic kids wanted to play but didn’t get it. His aide was there helping him, but it just wasn’t working. He’d kick the ball but couldn’t grasp what to do next. Ashlyn was amazing; she went right up to him, stood by home plate, and told him to hold her hand. She ran with him around the bases. The aide and I were stunned. It was just amazing, and I just wanted to tell you that.”

I remember a time (okay…many times) I overthought something else. We have a son with some special needs. For years, our family has ebbed and flowed by his needs. Is that fair to our other children? Enter adoption, a special needs adoption, and the addition of another child (this time by choice) who would have some special needs that would require a bit more from us. How would this affect our son who already had his own struggles? What about our other two? Was this fair?

When that teacher shared that one little story, I realized I had always asked the wrong question. It’s not about being fair. That question itself implies that our “average” kids were losing out on something, denied something owed them. There’s a better question: Is it right?

Is it right for our children to learn to be flexible, to learn that their needs don’t always come first? Is it right for our children to learn that God has made each one of us differently and uniquely? Is it right for our children to learn to defend the weak and come alongside the hurting? Is it right for our children to learn to die to themselves for the sake of another?

We’re a family. We’re all here, each one of us with unique needs, some a bit more challenging than others, but we’ve all got unique needs. From my vantage point as I count the heads around our dinner table and tuck each one in at night, it’s all just right.

kids sitting

 

 

Comments

  1. My eyes have tears. Very well written. I love this. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I SO needed this today. Thank you for writing it.

  3. Love this! Beautifully written. I couldn’t have expressed the words in my heart any better. Thank you for writing what so many of us want to.

  4. Mary McK says:

    I received your Blog Post on the Project143 Website, because so many families have special needs kids and are adopting other special needs kids (if just by older age, not neurological or physical disability). Our only son has Autism, and we don’t want him to be alone, and he is lonely. We try our best, but we are not his brother and sister…we are mom and dad. So we are trying to host Latvian Orphans in hopes of finding his adoptive sibling so he has companionship. He loves his Foreign Exchange Students but they eventually go home. People wonder why we would bring foreign orphans into our home like this. We are doing it for our family, and in the course of helping our family, we will help a child, and make our family even better in the long run.

  5. Beautiful words and so very true! In our current culture, our children so desperately need to learn these things that are right. What a gift their siblings are to them! We have eight children and I have long said that ALL children have special needs. When our sixth was born with Down syndrome 4 years ago, we were just blessed to know what some of his may be in advance. ;) We were incredibly honored to bring home his brother who also sports an extra chromosome from Serbia just a few months ago and life will never be the same…thank God!

  6. This made me cry, Kelly. Love this!

  7. Cheri Franklin says:

    Love this! Thank you!! We are working through this ourselves. How will adoption effect our 3 bio sons?? I love the saying, “Does God give us patience and courage…or does he give us the opportunity to be patient and courageous?”

  8. Kelly – great words – really well said – and way to go Ashlyn – thanks for “getting it”!! (and Kelly – thanks to you and your dh for “teaching it”!)

  9. Beautiful! And spot on true!

  10. so wonderfully put! LOVE it, Kelly!!! :)

  11. Wonderful way of putting that into words, Kelly. Thank you.

  12. Well said. We have four children – 2 bio, 2 adopted (1 domestic and 1 international). They each have very unique needs. We are in the process of adopting a little 5 year old boy from China with SEVERE heart defects. Our other children were instrumental in the decision to adopt him. My son, Isaac, said at one point to my husband, “Who cares about vacations and stuff, Dad. This is saving a life!” I was SO proud!

  13. Thank you so much for these beautiful words. We are in the process of adoption and we too have a biological child with special needs. You literally touched my heart and helped me in a huge way through your words. I have four biological children and we are adopting our fifth child from china with minor special needs. I often feel as if my other children are having to deal with more then they should have to because of our child with special needs, thank you for your fresh perspective, I needed it.:)

  14. Beautiful! We just adopted a 6 year old ‘special needs’ girl from China. Thank you for the wonderful reminder, perspective, it’s all about perspective! God bless you and your family! Kim

  15. AMEN!

  16. Yay for Ashlyn!
    Have several tales to tell of very similar situations on our family – LOVE how God uses our special needs kiddos to minister to our other kiddos’ hearts. He truly is over ALL :)

  17. Thanks for sharing. This very topic had been floating around my head a few days ago. So timely.

    • I’m so glad – would love to hear more about your own process with this!

      • The process so far has been in my heart and also my husband’s as we talk out what He’s laid there regarding adoption. We recently welcomed our first biological child so we’re new to this world of parenthood.
        As I near age 30, the prospect of adopting from China is becoming near future versus distant future. I often read this blog for information and godly perspectives surrounding the realities of adoption. So truly, thanks to you, and all the contributors, for providing insight.

  18. Amen! Beautiful post! We too have seen with our blended family of bio and adopted–those with extra needs and those who are just plain ole sinners–that we are a better family and a more unified team because of any struggles and challenges we face together. The most “fair” thing we have ever done is shown our children that we are all uniquely special and that we need to have compassion and understanding for others.

    Thank you for sharing. Blessings to your precious family!

  19. Awe, Kelly, that made me cry! Love Ashlyn and her precious sensitive heart! God has big plans for her!!

  20. April Z. says:

    I love this!! Thank you so much for sharing.

  21. Really great post!! Thanks for sharing.

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