CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - There is a magical moment that sneaks up on you as a parent of a child with special needs. A moment you never expect. As a parent of a child with Autism I can tell you that as a family we grieved in a unique way. We went through stages of grief and loss, recognizing that our plans and expectations of the life we thought our child would have were different and that was difficult for a reason.
But, over the years we moved into a stage of acceptance and peace knowing our son had a unique place in our family and in our community. The moment I never expected was when I looked back in the rear view mirror seeing him sing to himself and I realized that we were BLESSED. We had been given not an obligation to care for him but the gift of helping him reach potential and milestones science said he may never meet. After that moment I saw the gift of being a parent to a child with special needs as an experience that was no longer isolating. Instead I saw opportunities, platforms, connections and adventures that I never dreamed were possible.
Some days, it’s seeing the world through innocent eyes of a child like Jordan. It is the ability to see the simple joys of doing everyday things that go unnoticed when we are busy keeping up with society’s pace. It’s the chance to see Jordan’s smile light up a room as he jumps onto the lap of our newscaster with sheer excitement over being with someone new. It’s the chance to celebrate as you see Jordan heal and sing songs in front of the camera, something the doctors didn’t know would ever be possible. It is coming alongside Jordan and slowing down other’s agendas or expectations in order to see the growth in him everyday. There is nothing else in the world as sweet as seeing a child like Jordan complete everyday tasks.
Jordan had a story that many would simply label as “painful or tragic” and perhaps give them lenses that would lead one to think that parenting Jordan is too difficult. But my hope, my challenge my desire is that viewers like you would recognize your own strength and see the potential in Jordan and in yourself.
You too can find the courage to believe in yourself and say, “I can walk boldly, and choose to parent a special needs child, because I know that same moment for me is on the horizon… that moment of seeing our family as blessed BECAUSE we brought Jordan into our home forever.”
I challenge viewers to not watch a segment like Jordan’s and see a future of IEP meetings for school, therapy appointments or the moments of fear that come with navigating a less familiar journey of parenting a child who has differences. Instead watch Jordan’s story and see the potential for healing, a life of celebrating accomplishments and joys found in everyday moments parenting a child like Jordan.
One family did just that. They saw Jordan. They saw the life in his eyes and the gift of watching him grow and thrive. They knew that this boy deserved to be nurtured and they simply said YES. They have a future as a family with Jordan and moments ahead of knowing what true blessing really looks like.
-Ashley McKinley, North Carolina Forever Family Coordinator
Adoption/Foster Care Support Coordinator
North Carolina Forever Families Coordinator
Seven Homes Inc