I'm posting a little late today. What can I say? I usually write my posts the day before so that I can edit before I post, but the earthquake yesterday distracted me a bit. At any rate, I read some pieces over the past week that really touched my heart and I want to share them with you.
First of all, I found this blog over at (in)courage and Rebecca's profile of Bethany really moved me. Definitely go read this! Bethany is a very special little girl in Eastern Europe who needs to find an adoptive family. She has special health needs and her case is time-sensitive. Her smile captured me as soon as I saw her picture, and I've been praying for her ever since.
My reading about Bethany drew me next to Reese's Rainbow. I've been reading up on this organization and I'm finding find the work they do to assist with special needs adoption so encouraging! One thing I like about this organization as a Christian is that not only do they seek donations, but they also seek people to pray for individual children until they make it to their forever homes.
When I worked full-time, I spent much of my professional time working with and on behalf of the disabled and elderly and one thing that I noticed is that families with special needs kids work very hard to educate and care for their children. However, many expressed the wish that their children could be integrated into more church and social activities. I have found Joni Erickson Tada's story inspirational and I find her website extremely helpful as it has links to all kinds of resources as well as information on things such as helping children with special needs understand the love of Jesus.
And here are just a few observations I've made about being friends with special needs children and their families from my own circle of friends. Obviously, your friends' preferences may vary so it's something that you may want to discuss with them indivudually.
- Celebrate ALL of the children in the family. Celebrate each child's birth and major events.
- Depending on the nature of a child's needs, there may be a lot of transporation arrangements and doctor/therapist appointments to juggle. If you are able to help with transportation, babysitting or even just bringing by a meal, those are all wonderful ways to love a family.
- Children with special needs are individuals, too. If you get to know a child's individual likes and capabilities, you can reach out to that child more effectively.
- This is one that almost all of my friends mention - their children like to be included in church picnics, Easter egg hunts, birthday parties, events of all kinds. If their child's needs permit it, invite them out.
I'm sharing this with: