Recently, our oldest son did something that inspired our newest fundraiser. Before I tell you what that one little act was, I would like to tell you a little more about the children that have been referred to as "our other children" on more occasions than I would like to admit.
The news of our upcoming trip to finally meet our newest son and daughter has made me quite sentimental. That, and the fact that 4 years ago yesterday, we handed our son, Isaac, over for his 2nd open heart surgery. Many times, when adopting children with special needs, you will often hear comments about "what about your other children?". Believe it or not, we have not only heard that with our adoptions, but we heard that with our sweet little boy, Isaac. What about your other children? You need to think about them. As if we should have stopped fighting for Isaac's life to make their lives easier. As if somehow his life was less valuable. Those kind of questions are the questions that hurt the absolute most. Those questions imply that only some of my children have value. I love all of my children with all of my heart, and I would fight for all of them with everything I have. As a mom of a child with complex special needs, you already often worry about your other children. You wonder if you are doing things right. You wonder if they will somehow be scarred for life. You know with all of your heart you are doing the right thing, and you know that you would do the same for them, but you worry that somehow they won't understand, or somehow they will feel less important. Living in the moment of being with my sweet boy in the hospital, I often worried about Abi and Koah. I went from being with them every second of every day to living in the hospital with their baby brother. You would expect there to be some kind of jealousy or resentment. You would expect them to complain or not understand why their new baby brother suddenly needed much more attention. But, their attitudes amazed me. Not once did they complain that I was with their brother. Not once did they say things weren't fair. Not once did they show any sort of jealousy or resentment.They embraced their new life with their brother. They loved him with all of their hearts.
Just 3 days after Koah's own heart surgery, what he wanted to do the most was walk down to his brother's Cardiac ICU room and check on him.
We did our best to never hide the rawness of Isaac's delicate life. We never kept him from them no matter how sick he was. We allowed them to see him in his worst, because that is right where they wanted to be. They loved him and fought for him right along side us. They were able to see past all of the tubes and wires and see their brother for who he was. They never complained about spending so much time in the hospital, because wherever their brother was, that was home. They grieved deeply when their brother left our arms for heaven. They have experienced things that most adults have never experienced. Did it change them? Yes. Did it ruin them? Absolutely not. Instead of depriving them, I believe with all of my heart that those moments in their lives have defined them.
So, back to the original question.....what about our "other" children? Are their lives the same? No. They will never be the same. They are not the same children they would have been had they not faced these things early in their lives. They are not the same children they would have been had their brother not been born with complex special needs. They are not the same children they would have been had their baby brother not fought for his very life on this earth. They are not the same children they would have been had their brother not left our arms for heaven. They are not the same children they would have been had we never adopted children with special needs.
(Orphanage Visits: China and Ukraine)
So, what about them? They are not the same, but I believe with all of my heart that these experiences have shaped them into children who love so much deeper because of the struggles they have witnessed. They love deeply. They fight for justice. They have a depth of compassion that I have never seen before. They see people for who they are instead of seeing the special need. They are strong. They are brave. They are selfless. They are amazing. They inspire me. They are making this world a better place. And, I am so blessed to be their Mom!
Stay tuned for part 2: A Brother's Love Giveaway