I have needed regular reminders since we brought David and Daniel home to keep trusting that – because our adoption was God’s miracle – He will provide all that we need. God has been helping me to keep holding on to hope and to keep believing that His plans for our family are always good.
(If you have not read part one, you can find that here.)
When we were living in China, homeschooling the boys was extremely challenging, so we tried sending David to 2nd grade Chinese school (which worked relatively well) and Daniel to a Chinese kindergarten. Daniel had just turned nine, and he needed a slightly bigger chair than the four and five year olds in his class.
We were hopeful that the environment might work, as kindergarten seemed to be the best fit for him developmentally. But after his third day at school, his teacher expressed frustration with his frequent trips to the bathroom, his nonsense noises, his random laughing, and his other disruptions to the rest of the class.
“I’m not sure that kindergarten is going to work for him,” I told Charly. And my heart felt incredibly heavy. In my discouragement, I projected into the future that maybe he would never be able to make it in a classroom.
Never be able to follow along with what other children are doing.
Always in his own little world.
Not able to make progress.
What would this mean for him? For our family?
It was at our Thanksgiving meal in 2014 that I was convinced God didn’t want me to project into the future; to take one day at a time. One of our friends shared how he remembered the miracle after miracle that we saw God do in Daniel during his first months with us.
Just one year ago, he was in diapers and couldn’t talk. He had just learned how to feed himself and to walk again. He had a major movement disorder that God miraculously healed him of.
I need to keep remembering how far God has brought him.
How easy it can be for me to forget all the great things that God has done in the past. And to focus instead on the present problems.
God is not done yet.
During that season I journaled the following:
“God created him just the way he is. He has been and will continue to watch over him all the days of his life. I realized that my discouragement and my being quick to jump to the conclusion that school was not going to work for him was like I was looking into his future and writing in a big black marker over the unwritten pages of his life: hopeless and burden. That is so not God’s perspective. His plans for Daniel are full of hope and promise. I want to have eyes of faith to see what God sees and to trust Him in the dark.”
After 20 years of living in China, our family moved to Colorado Springs in 2015 and enrolled David and Daniel in 4th and 2nd grades. What a significant difference it has made to have ESL and special education resources for them.
For the past year and a half, Daniel’s paraprofessional assistance at school has enabled him to be in the regular classroom almost 80% of the day! His teacher last year was incredibly positive and firmly committed to integrate him into her class as much as possible, which played a huge role in the way his classmates have accepted and embraced him.
It has been amazing to see how much both our boys have grown and developed since we’ve been back in the States.
All of the medical and educational resources available to us here have been both a blessing and a challenge. Along with an abundance of help for our boys has also been a growing hope that we might see huge breakthroughs and “fix” all the problems.
Last fall, I took Daniel for a neuropsych exam at Colorado Children’s Hospital with the hopes of discovering more of how his brain works, so that we could help him reach his full potential academically. The results though seemed to be more focused on long-term projections of his future progress. I felt crushed by this unexpected and disappointing news, which brought to the surface all of my accumulated unrealized hopes for Daniel. My desire to see big changes in his life.
Because these changes weren’t happening, my fears for the future emerged once again:
What if his strange behaviors are still here in 10 years? in 20 years?
What if he doesn’t make any more progress?
What if he can only reach a 4th-6th grade level academically?
What if he is never be able to live independently?
As my fears were uncovered, God spoke graciously to me about them. “I am still sovereign over Daniel’s life. Why do you worry about the future?”
He reminded me that even if Daniel doesn’t show improvement in the different areas of concern we have for him, he is not less of a person.
The way that he is right now, God declares to be good.
While I can still rejoice in whatever progress he makes along the way, I can let go of my hopes for significant breakthroughs that will “fix him” or change him into a different person.
I can rejoice in who he is, not just in the progress he is making.
As parents of special needs children, we can trust Him when the path looks dark and the mountain ahead seems impossibly high. He will provide the wisdom and strength we need for each and every step.
We can believe that our strong and loving God never writes the words hopeless and burden on the unwritten pages of life.
They are always hope and blessing.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
It is God’s miracle and He will provide.