He is STILL THE CUTEST BABY IN THE WORLD!
We started "school" with physical therapy, occupational therapy, music therapy and speech therapy. What I love about ''therapy" is that it is mainly just play. He plays, explores and learns about life outside of a crib.
He can now stand up big and tall. SO BIG. He puffs up his chest and straighten out his arms with such pride as he stands erect. He looks at you with serious eyes waiting for his accolades. Everyone claps and praises. Then he laughs. He laughs. GUYS- he laughs!!!! No sweeter noise. Although, it does basically sounds like a Donald Duck impression. It makes me smile so big my cheeks hurt just thinking about it.
I want to celebrate and share so many milestones with you, but I also know how easy it is to compare and judge. There is no race. No magic timeline. Each time I post an update, I plead that your heart does not become heavy with fears that your little one has not done these things. I then try to push out the fear in my own heart, that you may read an update and wonder why my little one has not done more.
Early on in this process, during our Home Study, our social worker asked us what our expectations for little man were? I was caught a bit off guard. Expectations? The spectrum of delays and disabilities we might encounter was so vast and unknown at that time. I could not set expectations on this future child and the idea of him not meeting them seemed cruel to him and me. Then I realized, it's a question to allow for self-refelction-- ahhhh sneaky SW! Of course it is only natural to have some pre-conceived expectations. And some are actually healthy.
With each milestone, while I beam ear to ear for it is indeed a significant event to relish in, I expect not one more. Not that I do not think he can or will, this kid is a rockstar so he is probably going to blow us away. I want that for him too. I want him to reach them and push through to his full potential.But he does not have to earn his worthiness.
The pulsating question lingering in the background of this adoption: what deems a child worthy of love, worthy of a family, worthy to live? Because for >90% of Americans who find out they have a baby with DS in utero, the answer to this question may surprise you. For the families hearing this diagnosis in the Ukraine, the doctors tell them it's a deal breaker and in fear and, what I honestly believe are best intentions, they sign the papers and walk out of the hospital leaving their sweet, new, awaited baby behind. Chills as I reflect on what I saw and heard in the orphanages and encounters we experienced while in country to adopt him. The darkness behind the thought that these moments might have been missed if God had not given us the courage and push to say yes. Every child deserves a cheering squad to squeal with delight as they learn and accomplish new skills.
Every night we sing to him a cheesy night-night song, naming family members and friends, reminding little man, they each love him, just the way his is.
I sing to remind him. I sing to remind myself. While singing I pray for discernment to recognize the healthy from the unhealthy expectations. That when underlying lingering expectations are not met that I have the peace to press on. To help him reach each achievement he can. To celebrate these significant events for him yet know they change nothing of his worth. I end up being overwhelmed with thankfulness that he is in my arms. Precious little boy. My precious Little Man.
A plea to celebrate. To purge away the judgement and fear and Celebrate the children around you as they are. For each milestone achieved. Each moment. They are worthy as is. They deserve a hooraaaaahh!
Where can you find a place to celebrate more and love more as is? Can you watch and listen to them sing "Let it Go" for the umpteenth time and still cheer? Can you tell that student how proud you are that he tried hard on the STAAR test this week because he has no encouragement at home? Call Big Brothers Big Sisters and volunteer to mentor a Little. Go to an informational about Foster Care where every day, kids wait for a someone step up to celebrate them. Maybe pray about adopting- pray about adopting a child with special needs. Can we read about milestones and new skills our friends share on FB and blogs without the judgement on ourselves, our kids or the author? I am praying for the grace to practice loving more as is, will you join me?