I recently read a blog post from an adoptive mother. She was talking about one of her daughters who has post-traumatic stress disorder and is completely non-verbal. They don’t know if she will ever talk and she is something like 8 years old now. I remember this blogger explaining the situation and she said [something like] this:
We don’t know if she will ever find her voice, but if she doesn’t, that’s okay. We love her just as she is.
And somehow that struck me.
It’s not that I wouldn’t love my children just as they are. Of course I would. It’s that, whatever children God brings to our family, and through whatever means, they don’t have to be a certain way. I shouldn’t set expectations. If I were to have or adopt a child who was delayed (If? Oh wait, I am…), I would of course try to help them reach their full potential. But maybe one’s full potential isn’t what I always would think or want it to be. It would certainly include fostering abilities, such as speech and language, physical movement, hygiene, writing, and other life skills. But what if therapies don’t work? What if my child never corrected a speech impediment or couldn’t learn to walk on his own?
The thought of that used to strike me with fear. What would that mean for the rest of his life? Or our lives? There would have to be more that could be done-more intervention and therapy. Something.
But people aren’t projects.
Out of love and in accordance with their human dignity, you do your best to help them reach their full potential. Yes. Of course.
But, they aren’t projects.
Their worth and dignity isn’t dependent on accomplishing certain goals or milestones or having certain abilities.
It’s okay if they don’t.
They are still loved. They are still treated as the image and likeness of God, with dignity.
And as for the future. Well, God has a plan. And it’s a plan that fits into a fallen world and still remains abundant and hopeful, just like he promised (Jer 29:11).
In some way it takes the pressure off. Justin will have special needs and I don’t have to “fix” him. I just have to love him, and serve him, and let him shine as a child of God in whatever way that may be. And he will shine, especially in a dark world where people like him are actually targeted by name in a push for infanticide. Yes, you read that right, not just abortion, but infanticide. Here is more information.
Life isn’t really about reaching goals or accomplishing tasks. It’s about glorifying God with our holiness. We do that not by achieving, but by loving. It is to the measure that we truly love that we are imitators of Christ. And I’ll bet that is something will come more naturally to Justin than it does to most of us.