Recently, in the post Why Not, I wrote about some fears and considerations we had that gave us reasons not to pursue adopting Justin. All of our reasons came up short when we thought about that sweet boy, alone in his orphanage and his bleak future if no one came for him. We concluded that despite potential hardships, bringing him home would be worth it.
But, let’s not forget the other side-it won’t all be hardship! We are not looking to bring a diagnosis into our family, or a surgery, or lessons in speech and occupational therapies.
We’re bringing a little boy into our family-what a joy!
I mean, from my Catholic, Every-Person-Is-Made-In-The-Image-And-Likeness-Of-God, pro-life perspective, that is an objectively joyful event. A lot of the time we get caught up in all the difficulties, the fears, the challenges, and the inconveniences that an adoption like this might (or even, most likely will) bring. But that is not the whole story and we do an injustice if we don’t talk about the good things that we anticipate.
Just like any child, we can’t wait to tickle, cuddle, play with, talk to and read with Justin. Give him fun baths, sing him silly made up songs, feed him tasty food and teach him new things. Lots of these will be firsts for him despite his age.
As a child with special needs, there is even more that we get to look forward to. We’ll get to take extra joy and excitement in the little accomplishments that for a typical child would be easy, but for him, might come only after lots of effort. Making sounds, saying words, feeding himself, crawling, walking, running. After orphanage life, we very well may rejoice when he cries to let us know he needs something, makes eye contact, or wants to be held (or maybe, is just happy being held.)
I think we are going to learn many valuable lessons, like not taking little things for granted, embracing each day as it comes, and seeing the goodness and blessing in the small things. I think we’ll learn how to love more selflessly and be more patient (both of which we could stand to get better at.) I think we’ll become more comfortable with people who have special needs, or anyone who is different from us.
I think that, for Ben, this is going to be so positive. Of course there will be adjusting, as with the arrival of any new sibling, and maybe more than usual at first because of Justin’s medical and personal needs, but Ben and Justin will be great for one another. I’m excited for Ben to have a brother to pal around with. I’m glad that Ben will grow up with a brother who has Down Syndrome and learn to be comfortable and sensitive to those with special needs at a young age. I think he will learn love, patience, and compassion, just like the rest of us will. I think any negativity that Ben comes up against regarding Justin will build strength of character and help him find his voice to speak up for those who are different. I think he’ll learn in a special way how God’s image and likeness are innate in every person.
We hope to be a blessing for Justin, but we know for sure he’ll be a blessing for us.